1 Nov

ItalianPurrfection – Dreama Perry – https://dreamatolleperry.com/

Before the Creative Process

Redefining Hard

‘This is hard.’

I’ve applied the above words to many things in my life.
To painting.
To writing a letter or blog post.
To figuring out internet/computer stuff.
To planning a trip.
To having a difficult conversation.
To holding my ground.

I’m currently in the process of rethinking things.
Defining what hard is and how I’m going to use/not use it.

And here’s the reason why…

The definition of hard came up via a conversation with my daughter Desiree, who’s part of the Dream Team.
We’ve both been following a social media account about a little girl named Eva.
Eva is eight years old and suffered a traumatic brain injury from a fall just a few weeks ago.
Her family has chronicled the experience.
Their posts have been honest, painful, and fierce—words that cause you to weep. I’ve cried a few times just reading them and sent up my own prayers and thoughts for her healing.
Their story IS the definition of hard.
I look at their story, and it serves as a real wake-up call to think about what is hard and what is not.

For the real truth is this. Most often, the day to day stuff we call hard is made up of things we are actively choosing. We didn’t necessarily want it to be a challenge, but we did choose what the work would be for the most part.
We chose to figure out how to paint a subject that was new to us.
We chose to be in business, to work on our computer, and maybe even to have the whole family over for Thanksgiving.
You name it, and more than likely, it’s something we chose to do.

I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of using the ‘hard’ word, it’s more truthful (and feels better) to frame life positively.
‘I get to figure out this computer stuff.’

’I have the opportunity to try a new subject and palette of colors.’

‘And having the whole fam over for the holidays?

Wow! What a fantastic gift of life.’

All items that have nothing to do with ‘hard.’

If you, like me, have caught yourself using the ‘H’ word on things, I invite you to take a closer look and see how it feels to reframe it using words like ‘I get to’ and ‘How wonderful’ and ‘It’s effortless.’

Because as often happens in life, it’s all a matter of relativity.
Things can seem difficult until we remember the times in our lives when we were faced with something that was genuinely HARD.
And when we compare the two, we can feel our shoulders relax as to how non-hard this regular stuff actually is.
We can feel our heart-opening, and we realize we really do have this.
It is easy.
We are surrounded by opportunity.
Our work is our choice.

So I’m actively working at changing up the words I use to surround my choices, and you’re welcome to join me.
It’s not hard.
And that’s a promise.



Italian Purrfection - Dreama Tolle Perry - https://dreamatolleperry.com/

Italian Purrfection—from my online painting course, Timeless Tuscany

Dreama Tolle Perry Log
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  1. Yes, so true. We really need to say things to ourselves in a more positive way and make it a habit! Thank you for these wise words.

  2. Dreama, I loved this blog….it rang so true. I needed to hear your perspective on what is ‘truly’ hard and what is NOT. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel and can’t express. Hugs!

  3. It is hard to watch loved ones suffer….
    I know life can be unexpected so I will strive to bring peace, love and joy to those I love, daily, and remind them how much they mean to me.

  4. carol betker

    This is so true about ‘hard’ being relative for the most part. I feel blessed everyday and notice when I whine or complain, that’s when I’m ungrateful. So your sharing just emphasizes where my head needs to be. My prayers are for the little girl and her family also.

  5. Marilyn Ciszkowski

    I’ve been saying it’s hard to take care of my mom, make decisions for her and take her to the doctor because she is not the same person anymore, and it is hard, very hard. But, I still have her and we do share some special moments together.

  6. Lisa

    Though the trials of raising a large family seem endless, I am blessed with amazing love, laughter and so much joy!

  7. Am remembering my replies to my children when I tried not to use the word, “No.” I took their hand and gently said, “Let’s try it this way.” Perhaps I need to apply the same to myself and take the hand of frustrated Kathy and say to myself, “Let’s do this differently, let’s do it wit joy and make this be a form of worship and song.”

  8. Cherrie Hill

    I often think how hard it is to accept that I am getting older. I’m 63 and feel there will not be enough time for me to learn all the things that I yearn to know about painting.
    I am consciously trying to rephrase that thought to, I am grateful that I have painting in my life, and that it came to me when it was meant to.
    Some never find their joy and I am grateful that I have found mine.

  9. It was hard when we were without power for 30 hours last week.
    I would reframe that to say
    I am so lucky to have electricity normally and will really appreciate it more when it comes back.

  10. It is really hard to have my 98 year old mother living 3 hours away ………………I would change this to I am so lucky to still have my mother and cherish the time we do have together.

  11. Constance Durbin

    I have been saying how hard it is to make progress in my painting because I have no place to paint at home and can only do lessons once a week but really this gives me a chance to remove a lot of clutter from one of my upstairs rooms that used to be the computer room for my now adult children and remake it into just the place I want to work in my home. Voila a place for me to paint.

  12. Debby faulkner

    Taking care of a parent is hard till you reMember that you are blessed to still have them


    When in the midst of it all and not knowing which way to turn is what is not easy. So we each have the alternate choice of reaching out to secure the knowledge that will help us find our way. But, in reaching out, we must all again take into consideration where that advice is coming from. Another alternate choice! So, just find a quiet tree to lean against and speak to the God of our choice. The answers will come into our heart in that quiet place. We will know what to do and how to weigh all of the items bombarding our busy lives. In that quiet place we will find the answers that we seek. Hello, Great Tree at midnight! Another day will be dawning soon. Please make my path clear and my decisions correct. Thank You!

  14. Barb

    I have learned that hard for me is relative. I thought people and situations were hard, having to learn things differently because your mind doesn’t work like everyone elses. The I conquered cancer twice and suddenly all that other stuff really didn’t matter. It only made me stronger for when I really needed it.

  15. Instead of saying life is hard…approach it with grace and gratitude. The life of an artist is a beautifully colored journey.

  16. JANIE

    Reimagining ‘hard’
    What a blessing to make the time every day to sketch, and actually see daily progress in my art!

  17. Betsy

    I used to say finding time to paint was hard. Now I say I’m so appreciative of having the opportunity and resources to paint!

  18. When I’m frightened, I pray for protection and guidance.

    When I have a physically difficult task, I work at a comfortable pace and in comfortable time increments until it’s done.

    When I’m in pain, I try to be patient with myself and adapt.

    When I’m around family, I try to stay in the moment because in any given moment, I have people in my life who are supportive and rooting for me.

    When I’m sad, I try to notice the small wonders of nature which continually occur around me.

  19. Carolyn

    I often think things are hard, then I realize I’m smarter than that broken appliance, door lock or car problem. After all there’s always YouTube!

  20. Becky Winters

    Fighting depression is hard! Being thankful and having gratitude puts a positive light to the beginning of my day!

  21. Claudia

    Instead of thinking thanksgiving is hard for me -I will remind myself that I am certainly blessed and it’s only another day and probably a beautiful one at that.

  22. KaRen Grant

    Love your words of inspiration to others
    I am so blessed to have you in my life
    Thank you❤️

  23. Debra

    The difficult thing in my life right now is coming to terms with my DIL having a mental illness all the while dealing with a double mastectomy due to positive BRCA1 gene testing and breast cancer in her family. She has distanced herself so much even before the BRCA1 diagnosis. It is so hard knowing how to deal with a close family member who is going through this, yet distancing themselves from all who love her. We are not even “allowed” to ask her how she is or give her a hug.

  24. Linda Borch

    I am so grateful to have the opportunity to get together with my mom and brother and sister again, so I can have yet another opportunity to show them just how much I love them!

  25. Tommie Larsen


    Spot on with this post! I too have been following Evas’ story. Thank you for you positive beautiful message.


  26. Deb


  27. Katherine Duda

    I’m anxious about my trip. I’m having an opportunity to go on my trip.

  28. gail williams

    I am so blessed and grateful with so much that money can not buy. I am trying to focus more on that and less on what I say is HARD. When I must submit to others in authority I can do that, however I find it HARD to like it. It is Very HARD to control my tongue.
    I am a work in progress.
    Journaling in watercolor helps me to appreciate the world creation up close and personal.

  29. Don’t look at the whole (problem, challenge, etc) just take the next step with Thanksgiving. The Joy will follow

  30. Candy Deister

    Hard? Pray for wisdom. Hard? Give yourself permission to have some fun.
    Hard? Stand tall and focus on breathing.
    Soak in some color.
    And it came to pass, it didn’t come to stay.

    And if it does stay, set the table with an extra plate and get to know it.

  31. Joyce Capello

    I am planning on taking your course. I have not done any drawing or painting in years so I am taking your advise and starting with watercolors and trying to paint everyday and I am really enjoying it. I will probably do a course after the holidays since they are always so busy for me. Thank you for your heartfelt words, I love reading what you write.

  32. Elizabeth

    Dreama’s class is a chance for me to try something new and challenge myself. Thank you

  33. Wanda

    Being sick, moving out of my home and having to give away all my art and supplies due to mold toxicity was hard but now I am trying to be positive and move forward to good health.

  34. Hi, Dreama!

    Always wonderful to receive your emails & feel your uplifting vibe!!ox

    It’s uncanny in timing & subject/s including your current email about ‘It is easy’, because I’ve been catching myself doing same things & now am more mindful to replace & practice saying: “Hold it! This is easy. It’s easy etc!” Mine has been allowing a new vocation (I really have a heartfelt, soulful new career & home base, & any day-to-day stuff I practice to let something be easy now. Love your style, website, carefree, uplifting Spirit I can sense in your written-word emails or video clips from your painting course ads you so generously include. So thankful you kept following your own heart & bliss!!!! Heartfelt regards always, Renate oxox

  35. Linda Stratton

    Recovering from total hip surgery! Some days can be harder than others but each day life gets better and I feel fortunate to have had such a life changing surgery. I know that the ‘hard’ work will end with a positive outcome, I should be completely well and I just need to be patient! My biggest grip is I had to miss my painting days because of pain but I will be back on track very shortly! Lucky there is such a surgery and such a team of talented people to perform the surgery! My life will move forward in a good way.

  36. Barbara Stewart

    “This workout is hard!” -> “I am so fortunate to be able to walk & exercise & care for my heathy body. I am thankful for every step and the support of those around me.”

  37. I think telling my family that I need more time for myself to paint and create is hard, I realize that it isn’t hard because I know they love me and understand. So from now on, I will approach it in a positive manner!

  38. nan henke

    We CHOSE to move in with and provide extended independence for my 97 year old father-in-law. It is a privilege to get to know him better and to be more involved in the ups and downs of his life. Our life is fuller than it was time-wise, but heart-wise too. This season of life could last a short time or many years and I do NOT have to plan every detail of our lives, just let God direct the moment. I CHOOSE to use my time and energy to make this new lifestyle easier on my husband. I CHOOSE to learn about healthy aging so that I will do it well myself, when my turn comes.

  39. Lynn

    I love what you have written about the word hard. I know like other words, we use some too frequently and yes for everyday issues. I am going through a separation after 50 years of marriage. It is unchartered territory and it is a challenge. I usually don’t say it’s hard, I prefer difficult and sad. But it is Hard!

  40. Caoline

    I have the privilege of caring for the people in my life.

  41. Donna

    I am finding it hard to find the time start my art course , seems something always comes up .

    It’s wonderful I can paint , I will put aside time to do this wonderful gift !

  42. Thank you Dreama. Your Paris painting class brought me such joy. 💕

  43. My step- mom. Janet, had a stroke about 3 months ago. She has worked hard to recover whatever she can and has come a very long way but is not ready to go home yet. My Dad has visited her every day and spent as much time at rehab as he can. It is hard for them both. It creates a total change in their lives. BUT, what a blessing she has survived and recovered as much as she had, and yes, it has been an opportunity to grow together as a family.

  44. I have been doing videos on my YouTube channel for 4 years and I seem to be saying the H word when talking about reframing the direction of my channel.

  45. Lorna

    In the early 1970’s I read an article by Steven Covey about shifting paradigms. He told a story about a lovely Sunday morning and riding on a city bus. A father and his two children got on the bus. The father dropped onto a seat and the children ran up and down the isle, being a bit rambunctious. Passengers were bothered by the actions and they began reacting. One woman leaned across the isle and asked the father if she could be of assistance with his children. He looked at her, looked around, and saw the children dashing here and there. The father told the woman that the children had been cooped up in the hospital, as they watched their mother pass away. Passengers who were within hearing immediately shifted their paradigm, opened their hearts and accepted the energy of the children’s antics. After that, I began seeing how much I needed to shift how I looked at life. I began shifting my thinking, my words, and my reactions to the everyday niggles. Co-workers began to call me Pollyanna – I took no offense. My family began noticing how optimistic I was, even on the ugly days. Jump ahead 27 years later. I went to the doctor to see about having a hemorrhoid removed. After the exam she told me that I needed a colonoscopy as the “hemorrhoid” could be one of many things, including cancer. Well, I didn’t really hear the word cancer, as I was sure it was just a hemorrhoid – which runs in my family. Two days after the colonoscopy, I was told my chances of survival were 30% that I would make it through surgery. As I drove home to break the news, I started to turn the corner and said out loud “Why NOT me, God?” I am a posititive person. If I die I have had a wonderful life, and if I live, I will continue to have a wonderful life. Well, I had a massive cancerous tumor removed, and a permanent colostomy installed. Obviously lived through the surgery, the first year, the second year, and here I am 19 years later – alive and thriving and still letting God know that I will and can handle whatever challenges I am provided on my life’s path. I have faced truly hard challenges – even last week in the face of the Kincade fire in northern California, I managed without gas, electricity, and technology, dealt with food spoilage, and an entire town closed (no access to auto fuel, or people food). I just believed if the Ingall family of Little House on the Prairie could manage – so could I! I am a true believer that humans can adapt to whatever is thrown at us, if we keep an open mind, an open heart, and remember to let God or the Universe take charge of the hard. Dreama, I applaud you for highlighting our need to let go of the everyday “hard” and embrace the challenges we can surpass with work and humor.

  46. Debbie Yanta

    I’ve been saying it is hard to get used to a RETIRED husband… and honestly…I’m still working on it. But the positive part is that I’m happy to see him able to work on some projects that he has had on the back burner for YEARS!! It’s a new SEASON for me and that is positive in and of itself!!!

  47. LIsa

    Being laid off from my full time job on Oct. 31st means getting the time to paint more and to savor the holidays with family. How delightful it will be to slow down to enjoy the little things!

  48. Pam cOrrigan

    Thank you for reminding me to remember how grateful I am to God and so many friends and family members for the way they have helped me pulled through difficult situations with health and money. After today’s reading, I can honestly say….. I get to make a quilt from a baby’s clothes that went to meet the angels last year. Her mother graced me with this task which I’m about to begin. Thank you Dreama for your words of wisdom.

  49. cindy

    I find it hard to stop wanting to be doing something all the time… and just sit and relax. One wouldn’t think that is hard, but in this accomplishment driven world we live in, it is… I’m learning to tell myself that I’m so lucky that I get to rest and relax and just BE.

  50. I have the ways and means to get off of coffee. I so glad I know of some easy ways to delete it.

  51. Lauren

    The ethic of “work before pleasure” had been pounded into my head almost since birth. I’m trying to allow myself pleasure (painting) before work (chores) but it’s a constant struggle and painting usually loses out. Even when I do say “screw it” and go to the studio first I have difficulty getting in the groove because the chores are hollering outside the door. Sometimes I hate being “responsible”.

  52. Patte

    I am so thankful that I have a boss who appreciates my efforts and is willing to invest in my advancement. It has been such an unexpected gift!

  53. It is hard being in pain, but at least I’m not in a wheel chair.
    It is hard watching your kitten being sick, but you know that with time he will get better. It is hard to see a loved one pass, but know that they are in a better place. It is hard to hear the plaintive cry of a kitten in a carrier, while you take him to the vet, but know that it is for his own good. Painting is a challenge, but very worthy of the effort.

  54. Kris

    I’ve been worried about how hard it will be to drive in the dark this week to an evaluation for a Saint John Ambulance dog therapy program evaluation. I will try to think of that drive and evening as an opportunity to make a difference through volunteering.

  55. Lynn Hall

    Gratitude is the root of joy. Its not joy is the root of gratitude. Great season to enjoy fruits of gratitude!!

    P.S. You are easy to love.

  56. What a wonderful opportunity I have to present the children’s books I have illustrated to young children and show them how they can draw and paint their own creations!

  57. Ruth Walsh

    Thank you for sharing your color tips…not so hard for me to try! Being sick with the flu or a virus ( like now) feels Hard, but hey, I still get to breathe, I get to lay in bed and not feel guilty, leave dishes for later etc etc!!!

  58. Lynne l

    In response to reframing “Its hard”…. It’s been exactly a year since I moved my aging mother into my home to take care of…. knowing I would have no help from my sibling. I’ve never been emotionally connected to Mom and we’ve butted heads most of our lives, but I’ve sought counseling in my twenties and worked very hard on changing how I communicate with her over these past two decades. I knew this was the right thing to do, and it’s definitely been a rollercoaster. Each day I ask for grace and compassion. Even though it’s been hard to give up my lifestyle and freedom, I know healing is taking place and she will see out the rest of her days in comfort and care. 🙂 Painting is one of the gifts that has filled me up when I’m feeling the need to be at home rather than with friends. If I keep my eyes on the Giver of all good things, it’s easy to feel blessed beyond words!

  59. Ingrid HUebner

    The “good girl” I was raised to be has always had difficulty being authentically honest, yet kind, at the same time. That proves problematic in that I can say things to someone, but they don’t reflect how I REALLY feel. Not being honest leaves me feeling angry at myself for not choosing to be authentic (and thereby, honoring the person God created me to be.) I am going to view these situations now as having the chance to express my honest reply in a manner that comes from kind observations, so that I honor both the person I am speaking to, as well as myself.

  60. From “I’m so disorganized that it’s hard to know where to start” to “Yes! I have the strength and ability to tackle one stack of papers this morning! What a genuine relief that will be be!”

  61. Linda Levine

    Hard? Noooo. A new adventure!

  62. I wish I had more studio space, but aren’t I lucky to have a space that is all mine.

  63. I am grateful that every time I pick up a paint brush it is a learning experience. New color mix, new way to use a brush, new way to layer.

  64. Peggy lanahan

    I have been trying to write in the entry box but could not. “I have an opportunity to Renee my watercolor techniques with a local terrific teacher. I am a pastelist and oil artist.

  65. We have been all been given challenges, we can choose to focus on the difficulty of things, or we can choose to embrace our challenges as roads leading to growth and amazing new things. Just be the person whispering in your own ear, “You’ve got this!”

  66. DaNah Moore

    I have found it “hard” to purge my belongings! I need to do this before I “have to”!
    How wonderful it is that I have been blessed with the means and opportunities throughout life to acquire and enjoy many things. Now it’s time to share with others. If I make a schedule and break the task down into small sections, I can do this!! Accomplishing this will free my mind to be more creative!

  67. Norma Thompson

    It’s hard and embarrassing not to know how to work the computer properly…..reframing …I have the time n I’m a smart lady so I can learn the things I need to know.

  68. PS: And…I love my husband and want to spend quality time with him and enjoy what we have…54 years of wonderful marriage and family

  69. what I am finding hard is that because of some serious medical issues my husband is experiencing, we have moved to an apartment (a beautiful apartment!) My studio space is much less and I can’t accomodate my favorite 4 adult students I was teaching in our home. So, it really isn’t so hard to realize that I have to use the wonderful space I have here to do my own painting and enjoy adequate room for me. I have been asked by the management of the complex (150 apartments) to teach here…a new group and new source of income and opportunity to bring joy into the lives of those who want to learn to paint. I love to teach! I love to paint! So…from hard to a new opportunity.

  70. Great advice. Because I went through many hard times in my youth I started staying away from ANYTHING that seemed hard. Missed out on a lot. Thanks for showing me a different way to look at things,

  71. I’m so thankful that I am well, and can keep learning to do my website and social media in order to sell my art, and learn from others. Thank you for putting it all into perspective!

  72. Mo

    The past year has been heart breaking.
    I lost my mother, my father, my god mother, my brother, my best friend, and just last month my 49 year old sister.
    Two months ago I moved 900 miles to be closer to the little family I have left in Tennessee. My intention being to start fresh and fulfill my life long dream of becoming an artist. I have been extremely healthy all my life and have now been hit with a debilitating autoimmune disease. This past week after lots of research I have taken control of my health and have started a very strict AIP diet to get to the root cause of my body’s issues and I can already feel a change. I have been telling myself and anyone that asks how I am…
    “This has been the absolute hardest time in my life!”
    I have come to realize that if I am to heal myself and move forward I must not let these events define me and reframe this season of my life in a new way.
    Today I say…
    I am grateful that I have the insight to heal my body, blessed by the love and lessons of all that have gone before me, and open to all the opportunities that await me!

  73. Monique Mustard

    i don’t know that I use the “hard” but the sentiment is there. It just manifests as a lack in belief. My negative catch phrase is “I can’t”. It can exhausting keeping that at bay.

  74. Etta yeary

    Dreama, thanks…… it’s a much better way of looking at things we choose ……it’s a joyful way to look at it!!! Etta

  75. Kathleen

    Hard happens in the mind but affects your soul when you don’t learn, grow and try~

  76. Carol

    This quote is a beautiful companion by Eleanor Roosevelt ~ “Do one scary thing a day”

  77. Affirmation: I am now ready & willing to recognize & accept help, guidance & support from unexpected sources. I accomplish this with grace & ease…

  78. Rebecca vorkapich

    Love your wise words, Dreama! I entered the giveaway but didn’t find where to enter my thoughts on rethinking what I consider to be hard. Briefly, I always considered plain air painting hard. Too much packing up, setting up, people watching me, etc. then I took your postcards from Paris course which gave me confidence to paint more loosely in watercolors. Plein air isn’t hard, it’s different and actually a better way to see your subject. After a couple times out I entered a local plein air contest and painted a cute cottage on our historic Snake Alley. I was so excited when the judging was over and I saw they placed a certificate on my painting! Then I realized the certificate was for first place and I was blown away. Plein air isn’t hard and neither is talking myself out of my fears. It’s a challenge, at times, for sure, but I have been trying to teach myself ‘when in doubt, say yes.’

  79. Judy

    Doing something for me.

  80. Pat

    I am glad that I can’t drive in this town with so many crazy people out there!

  81. Dear Dreama,

    I am such a big fan of your art and if you! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t able to leave any comments in the entry form. It’s very possible that is operator error,lol, but it might be the mobile version of the site?

    Have a blessed Saturday:)


  82. I wrote those words “This is HARD” in my journal recently. I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico from California just one month ago, mostly because I love this part of New Mexico and loved to paint here on my many previous visits, but also, it was time for a change in my life. I thought once I actually lived here, I would do nothing but paint old adobes and windswept desert colors. Instead, I began the same old routine of procrastinating and finding distractions of all kinds, instead of painting. I’ve realized a change of scenery, while exciting, doesn’t change what you’ve grown accustomed to doing each day; in my case, to avoid painting! In California I felt “there was nothing to paint that inspired me”. Now, I’m surrounded by amazingly gorgeous, professional art, and I do feel a bit “less than” and overwhelmed by where to begin my own journey here. So my promise to myself, today, is to set up my paints and easel and a canvas at the ready to make it as simple as possible to approach them, committing to a short time each day, even half an hour, to paint something, anything. Because once you begin, the spark grows into a flame (I know this!) and inspiration (the muse, the spirit, the universe…) draws me back to the canvas, again and again.


    That was so encouraging for me. I keep looking at housework as hard, but the truth is it is not hard at all, it’s my attitude about it; I just don’t like it and don’t want to do it! The truth is it’s easy, and I’m going to be grateful that I’m healthy & able to do it!

  84. Maribeth Jagger

    It’s hard to decide what to paint on my big, white canvas.
    Reframed: It’s so exciting to look around me for inspiration and choose the next subject for my painting, and visualize the joy to watching it come alive on my canvas!


    You have really made me think about the way I frame things. I lost my mother this year, and I’ve been unwell. I keep thinking how hard it’s going to be to get through the holidays. I’m going to reframe my thoughts and words. How fortunate I am to have and be able to enjoy this big family of mine!

  86. Ann prins

    My hectic life is hard to cope with because I over schedule so my hectic life is blessed with busy times and people that I care about and I will rest more frequently and better schedule my life.

  87. It is hard to see my dad go through chemo for stage four lymphoma, but I am glad that I have this time to spend with him, as my mother has already passed on!

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