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Myth of The Starving Artist

Empty plate on wooden table with tableware as concept for hunger and feeding, also a copy space for your text or design.

photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

The Universe Talks.

As I sit to finish this article today, the Note From The Universe I received this morning is sitting in the forefront of my mind…

Doesn’t it happen like that, Jasmin? I mean, isn’t your entire life proof?

One day you’re scrimping, the next you’re in the money.

One day you’re lonely, the next you have friends.

Lost, then found. Ill, then well. Low, then high.

Yet with hindsight, it becomes ever so clear that the only thing that ever really changed was your thinking. Even though you were free to think as you pleased the entire time.

History need not repeat itself,

   The Universe

To Live Like a Starving Artist

I recall a friend and acting class fellow saying once, “I feel like I need to live like a starving artist, so I can really know struggle. I think it will make me a better actor.” This friend came from a pretty well to do family, had worked most of his early 20’s in finance, and had done well for himself there.

Unfortunately, I see so many of my fellow creatives struggling with finances. For the majority, our chosen career path is not often financially lucrative. We make do working other jobs in the industry, or working in bars by night.

The reason I felt compelled to write about this topic this month is because of my own recent roller coaster with this area of my life. I transitioned to this “artist gypsy” life after 10 years in corporate work where I made a decent – not mind blowing – salary and I made some wise real estate investments very young. But the salary tap dried up when I shifted into pursuing the dream full-time, and the savings nest-egg I gained from the real estate estate investments would evaporate in months if I were to live off of those. Add to that a year of working very little while I was sick. The bank account don’t look anything like it used to.

So here I am, at 33 years old, experiencing what it feels like – for the first time ever – to not pay my credit card off in full each month, to have the card maxed out and declined, to live pay check to pay check and to feel that fear of not knowing where the rent is going to come from. I feel like I’m failing at “adult”.

So what now? Ultimately, I have two choices.

To live in abundance. Or, to live in scarcity, focusing on what’s not working, what I don’t have, what I can’t afford.

Now, living in abundance doesn’t mean I get to live beyond my means, be irresponsible about my spending or plug my ears and loudly singing “lalalalala” while I sweep my bills under the rug. Living in abundance means I get to deeply connect with what I do have. All of it. I have a mind-blowingly amazing relationship, I live in a lovely apartment in Manhattan where I get to take hot showers and cook for myself (even if it’s rice and potatoes!), I have the most incredible friends in the world and between them and the family that surrounds me, I will never be without a bed, or food, or support if I needed it. I am able bodied and I can return to my corporate job, even part-time to get myself back on track financially. I have an abundance of opportunities and abundance of love and support. Being with this, how could I ever feel afraid?

At the end of the day – every day – I choose to live this artist’s life, I choose to marry for love and not money, I choose to follow my heart. And now I choose to live in abundance, no matter what my bank account looks like.

Mindset may not pay the bills, but you’ll never be happy living with a scarcity mindset.

An astronomer I met once put it into a simple diagram for me. He was talking about doing work you love vs doing work you don’t love, but the principle applies to anything…

photo 1

  1. High bank account balance + Happy = Is obviously the ideal
  2. Low bank account balance + Happy = On the surface may not be ideal but if you’re happy, grateful and abundant, then it is ideal.
  3. High bank account balance + Unhappy = What’s the point?
  4. Low bank account balance + Unhappy = Stop! I want to get off!

I think my friend from acting class already could experience the struggle he was seeking…. In fact, I know he already was. Because he’s an artist, and we all have that deep innate desire within us. To create, to be better. That’s what compels us to be artists.

And then we are human beings, powerful enough to choose to feel abundant and joyful in the face of anything. Exhibit A: Bhutan is often considered one of the happiest nations in the world, and also one of the poorest.


Yours, in abundance,

Jasmin Bristow







Jas xo

Jasmin Bristow

About Jasmin Bristow

Jasmin is a mindfulness and wellness coach, dancer and healing artist. Hailing from Australia, Jasmin was a ballet dancer in Europe before enjoying a short but successful career in software development. For over 10 years, Jasmin has studied personal development, meditation, relationship therapies, fitness and nutrition. The calling became undeniable and she now spends as much time as possible facilitating workshops, mentoring and giving back. Jasmin is a self-confessed Tree-Hugger and foodie, gluten-free (not by choice). Giver her cups of tea for hugs.