I’ve appreciated many, many people throughout my life. From the strong characters I’ve known personally to the women of history I’ve admired for their work abolishing slavery, establishing the right to vote, and spreading peace, I’ve been personally blessed to have more people than I can count to light my path.
There’s one thing these women have had in common that has made them unquestionably brave: Conviction.
Georgia O’Keeffe is yet another luminescent example of such a woman. I was reminded of this as I strolled the “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in May.
Ms. O’Keeffe was thoughtful and intentional in everything she did, from the clothes she wore to the places she lived. Though much of her success was a result of surrounding herself with the right people, it was her conviction in her own personal life that sustained her success; her vitality; her mindfulness.
She had the conviction to live where she wanted. She picked up and moved to Sante Fe to dig into her work and embrace the abstract.
She had the conviction to do one of the toughest jobs -- make a living from her art, working as an art teacher early on and selling posters to pay the bills.
She had the conviction to choose simplicity in an era of decoration. She had what she needed -- and those things were of high quality -- but she was deliberate and intentional with that which she curated, choosing simple palettes of black and white and forgoing makeup.
She had the conviction to set herself apart with her art -- her bold use of color; her deeply in-touch nature with her surroundings; the depth with which she captured inanimate objects, giving them life.
Conviction is not without choice. And choice is not without courage. Georgia O’Keeffe’s life was a series of courageous choices led by her intense conviction.
Our yearnings can be satisfied with conviction. But we must make choices. We must be courageous. We must determine how we want to live -- what that looks like -- and then take the actions to make it happen. We must surround ourselves with the right people. We must, ultimately, know and trust ourselves.