Monday, January 18, 2016

Adventurous Courage

Daring. Not a word I think of often enough. This year though I am choosing to be daring. Defined as adventurous courage, daring is how I need to live my life and my offerings this yea. I feel as though I'm at a turning point. I can either break free of my self imposed restraints, fully embrace and move into the life I want, or I can retreat and potentially not be able to break free again. 

I choose the former. Adventurous courage. It sounds so magically empowering. Originally I had chosen to focus on consistency, then last week when I was in circle with the other women in the Intentional Creativity™ Leadership Council and felt consistency didn't fully encompass my goals for the year. That's not to say I won't be focusing on consistency, but I needed a more dynamic goal that didn't only include writing a blog a week or posting work in process photos. 

Daring is being bold enough to put my vulnerability on the page every week. Daring is being willing to be authentic. Daring is a take no prisoners, fuck the haters, do what you want attitude that I have been sorely missing the past several years. Consistency will follow, but daring needs to come first. 

I have been in a major funk since hearing about David Bowie's death last week. I keep thinking about how when faced with his own mortality he didn't give up and become complacent, or retreat into himself as most people would. He dared to create his own epitaph, one final album for himself, for his fans before leaving this mortal could. Even as he was dying he was doing what he loved. That is the measure of a true artist and the ideal I will hold myself to this year as I strive to be daring in my work and life. There are no valid excuses anymore. If David Bowie can live his passion and his work while dying, me saying I don't have time or whatever reason I give myself holds no weight. 

I often hear when I am working with people the myriad of excuses from "I don't have time", to "I didn't have the right supplies", to "I didn't feel like it today" and a number of others and have come to the conclusion that if they are constantly making excuses about why they couldn't work on their dream, then it is not the dream for them. Maybe they think it's what they should be doing, or they are caught up in the glamour of the outcome that might follow (I'll be a famous author! My painting will be in MOMA!, etc.), but those are not the right reasons. 

The work itself is hard, it's not glamorous and there will be days you feel like quitting, but if what you are working on is truly your passion, the thing you were put on earth to create, you will work on it no matter what. Everyday. No excuses. 

If you can't find 10 minutes a day to work on your dream, then it sounds like you aren't all that passionate about your work and need to find something you are passionate enough about to work on everyday. Think of it this way - if you found out you were dying, what is the work you want to create? What epitaph will you leave? I hope you join me this year in being adventurous in your courage. What steps will you take to be more daring?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Road to Authenticity

One of the creative geniuses of our time returned to the stars yesterday. I had a post all lined out for #MotivationMonday, but when I woke up today and heard the news of David Bowie’s passing, I was floored. He felt ageless and timeless like he would never leave, instead merely changing and growing and staying here with us for eternity. I’m not one to be upset by celebrity deaths, I mean I’ve never met them, they weren’t my friends or even acquaintances, but Bowie is something different all together. He was authentic to his core and as a result beloved by many. So revered in fact he crosses ages and generations in a way few have ever achieved, and all by being 100% himself.

Authenticity is a rare creature, only poking its head out when it deems it safe enough to emerge from the cocoon of your soul. Unfortunately, something usually comes along to send authenticity scurrying back down to the depths to hide again. Authenticity is easily frightened. There is a safety in conforming, in not being vulnerable. The hard edge and protective layers we shroud ourselves in for protection, actually wind up doing more harm than good. There comes a time when we feel trapped, helpless and shame from conforming and not being our true selves. We get stuck in this loop not knowing how to escape – because again, vulnerability is unthinkable. Pulling yourself in so many different directions you don’t know what is up, down, left or right any longer. You’re saying one thing, but thinking another and in constant fear you will be found to be a fraud, which leads to the circle of shame. The funny thing is, trying to fit in and being “societally acceptable” does not lead to anything but the shame circle. People won’t like you better or trust you more, and even if they did, are those the type of people you want in your life anyway?

Being authentic means being in complete alignment with yourself. Your head, heart, body and soul. Once you move past the fear of “will they like me” you will be able to let your vulnerability out and people will love you for you.

So how can we become more authentic in our everyday lives?

  • Love yourself first. Being kind to yourself and acknowledging who you truly are is the first step towards being authentic. If you hate something about yourself, (or tell yourself you do even if you don’t deep down) how will you be able to recognize when other people are being kind or loving? Be proud of who you are, portray that image to the world, and the world will follow suit.

  • Be courageous. Being yourself is a scary prospect, but acknowledging the fear and still moving past it is courageous. Empower yourself to set your own rules and live the way you want to. Want to dye your hair purple? Do it! As long as you aren't actively trying to harm someone else or yourself in the process go for it!

  • Trust yourself. Paying attention to your gut feelings and instincts telling you when you are being inauthentic. You’ll know when you are putting a mask on and when you are being genuine. Becoming mindful to when we are being inauthentic takes practice. It is so easy to slip on the societal masks of “proper” behavior sometimes we don’t even realize we are wearing one. Being mindful to what situations we put our masks on for, will help us in future situations to be authentically ourselves. 

  • Connect with your values. Learning to recognize when your actions do not line up with your values helps you build the life you desire. You aren’t just talking the talk, you are walking the walk and aligning your entire being. 

In honor of David Bowie and the authentic life he lead, I dare each of you to live more courageously, more authentically every day. Farewell my Goblin King, for you rest among the stars now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Procrastination and Resisting David Bowie's Package

I struggle with procrastination daily. It is hands down my #1 downfall. I procrastinated on writing this post, it's been percolating for weeks and now that it's written I procrastinated posting this post - it was supposed to be posting for a new series I'm going to start called Motivation Monday, yet here it is Tuesday and I'm just now posting.

I don’t ever necessarily mean to procrastinate (although to be honest there are times I do it on purpose!), it’s something that seems to just happen naturally. I’m going to get on the internet and look something up, then 2 hours later I’ve been sucked into a black hole of Pinterest and research on organization that I will never ever put into place. Or I’ll start watching Netflix and 6 episodes of a new show later I emerge from the fog and realize I’ve wasted my entire day.

Recently I was watching Labyrinth for the 50 millionth time and as I became mesmerized by David Bowie and his package, again!, the thought popped into my head that his package is not unlike what procrastination has to offer. Now I’m not talking about his generous, albeit spectacular, codpiece. The package I’m referring to is his offer to Sarah, his effort to seduce her.

Yes, yes I do.
 Sure it sounds great in theory to succumb to his package (awesome, amazeballs, life-altering), all I will feel is regret and disappointment. See David Bowie (well, Jareth that is) is a liar. He promises you the world, but will he ever make good on those promises? Survey says – most likely not. He tries to seduce us by saying things like “Fear me, love me, let me rule you, and I will be your slave,”, but deep down we know what he actually means is we will wind up forgetting who we are, what is important to us, and eventually become HIS slave. Never able to remember the all-important line to make him back the fuck off.

Instead we submit to his awe inspiring, glitter fueled, synthesized proclamations of love and obsession until one day we wake up and find ourselves with a back full of worldly possessions we could care less about and have lost sight of what we find important. As our world falls down around us, we try and break free – try to shatter the illusions we have created, or have let other create for us, hoping we don’t become battle weary as we fight our way through untold dangers and unnumbered hardships. Every day we fight and strive until finally we see the light and reach the center thinking we are home free – only to be faced with his package once again.

This time however, we are prepared. Today we fought his package and were not seduced – even though we really and truly wanted him to rule us. We remembered he has no power over us, but what will tomorrow bring? More than likely we will feel the urge to run away from our responsibilities and gifts and give him the baby. We must fight that urge and be able to say the right words to resist him and all he offers. We can overcome his package – procrastination has no power over us - we had the power all along.

Now that we know we have the power, what can help keep us on track?
  • Break your task down into smaller pieces, a.k.a. efficient planning. The larger goal often becomes overwhelming, but by breaking it down into small manageable chunks you are more likely to focus and get started. Do not get pulled into the non-effective planning where you give a large goal, but no actual action steps. David Bowie’s Package, loves vague goals. He is warded off by actionable steps. 
    • Vague: I want to lose weight
    • Efficient: I want to lose 10 lbs. in the next 8 weeks. I will determine my total calories expended per day based on the TDEE method, resolve to cut my calories by 20% per day and will use a tracking app to make sure I am eating within my calorie goal. 
  • Find your tribe. Connect with a group of like-minded individuals, either online or in person, and set a time to meet and discuss your goals, progress, etc. Accountability is a powerful tool. 
  • Don’t get distracted by shiny objects. The internet is a great way to waste a bunch of time, so is TV, or anything else that takes your focus away from what you set out to do. Don’t fall into the internet’s oubliette and become trapped! Use productivity tools if you must that will block the internet – or better yet, unplug your modem! 
  • When in doubt, dance it out. Movement gets the juices flowing so crank up the Magic Dance and get your “want to” going! 
  •  Race against the clock. Set a timer for 10 minutes (or 13 hours) and see what happens. Anyone can spare 10 minutes to work on a piece of their goal, and that 10 minutes may turn into 13 hours once you get going! 
Procrastination can also take many forms. I was asked once how I always have so many projects going at the same time. When I started to think about it, it wasn’t because I was focused or that organized, it was because I am a procrastinator. I do usually have several projects going at once, but once I get started it is hard for me to finish. Having several going at the same time makes it look like I am busy, which I am, but I’m not being effective with my time. Procrastination through work. To me, it’s one of the worst kinds of procrastination because it lulls you into a false sense of accomplishment.

What it boils down to though is fear. We are so afraid to take the first step because we fear failure, or
even success that it freezes us. Recognizing the fear is the first step, moving past it is hard, and doesn’t seem to get any easier, but it is possible.

Remember, things are not always what they seem and David Bowie’s package will show up at every turn to try and derail us, don’t give up and remember as tempting as he may be in his splendor, he has no power over you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Art of Failure

Failure is a tricky thing to move past. We fail everyday in small ways we most likely don't even think twice about, but when you fail at something you have put your heart and soul and time into how do you move past it? It's very easy to give up and quit trying, the hard part is moving on and trying again. 

Recently I tried to book a 2 day painting workshop. I kept the price low since it would have been my first time teaching this course, had my copy polished and ready and shared with everyone I knew (plus asked them to share), yet no one, not one person signed up. I spent about a week wallowing, thinking this whole year has been wasted. No one will ever want what I'm offering, this has been a waste of 9 months of my time and a ton of money. Defeatist talk. Old talk. The things I used to say to myself and I honestly thought I had moved past. The thing is those thoughts are always in our heads, waiting to pounce. Like a well trained cat stalking it's prey, waiting in the shadows until you are at your lowest. It aims to bring you even lower, lower than you even thought possible.

The trick is to acknowledge those feelings, yet not dwell. If you don't acknowledge and instead try and ignore is when they get angry, and loud. They start shouting at you until finally you snap and can't take it anymore.



 If you acknowledge their presence you can say yes I see you, but I'm not giving in to you, they will slowly start to fade away. 

Every experience is an opportunity to grow and change. Hopefully December will bring the space and people I need to me to finish out my course work in Intentional Creativity™, but if not, I'll try again in January, and again in February, and for however long it takes. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Keeping the Magic

After coming home from a working vacation, and back to real life I started to question how to keep the magic of the time away while going back to my day job and family life. While I was away I was working on my soul work. My artistic work that lights me up inside. I had more energy than I had had since the last working vacation this year, but as soon as I came home and had to go back to my responsibilities and my day job which does not light me up, my energy dwindled. I was no longer jumping out of bed to start my day, and my excitement has waned. Unfortunately I can not give up my day job at this point, but how to keep the magic of my soul work alive and kicking so I have the energy to work on it after work?

I've decided I have to be gentle with myself. Even though I was greeting the day energetically last week and working on my true work, I was still tired by 9:00 and ready for bed. I can't expect myself to maintain constant energy without breaks and some days off. Even if I come home and turn on the t.v. for a night, and don't do any extra work, that is ok. My art, my calling, it's a lifelong path, not something I should feel I have to rush through. 

Today I'm writing this on my lunch break. Sneaking in time where I would normally be playing on my phone or some other mindless activity. Tonight hopefully I will feel energetic enough to paint, or sculpt. Even if it's only for 5 minutes. It's 5 minutes more than yesterday. One more small step down the road to where I want to be. 

I've also decided while I'm going to look at the overall big picture when I need to, I'm not going to stress myself out thinking I should be further along the path (again, long term journey!). I've been an artist for close to 6 years now, and I'm still barely off the starting line, and I'm just fine with that. Slow and steady, slow and steady

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Coffin Shaped Prison Around Your Heart

The day you left was the day I trapped my heart in a coffin shaped wall
No longer able to breathe when I thought of you
I felt like I was dying 
Every day
Every hour
Every minute
Every single second 
Trying to stave off the pain
My coffin grew higher
Until it surrounded me completely
Finally one day light started to seep through
My heart begged to be released from the torment
No more, I can take no more
Light burst forth and took over 
The coffin turning to dust and ash in my memory
Loving you was like dying
Forgetting you I was finally able to breathe again

I started this painting about a month ago when I was feeling particularly nostalgic for a certain person. I had most likely heard something on the radio that reminded me of him. The coffin snuck in and I realized a small part of me was still mourning. Maybe we always mourn those we used to love. As hope and life start to sneak back into our lives, the coffins we place ourselves in start to disappear. As I have been on the journey through Intentional Creativity™ this year, a lot of past hurts and old wounds have surfaced. Moving past them once and for all I am a Phoenix Rising through the ash. Forever changed, but no longer haunted. 


Monday, November 9, 2015

Brightening the Path

This year I have been on a 9 month vision quest with Shiloh Sophia to become a certified Color of Woman™ teacher and Intentional Creativity™ coach. This week was our graduation week in Healdsburg California. 

As I sat in council with my fellow Red Thread Nation™ members I felt a sense of excitement for not only my future, but the future of all women globally. There are so many women working in this movement who will make a difference. We are the change the world needs. We are the weaver of dreams and peace bringers. Women are reaching out and searching for sisterhood. Those of us who were put on the path to become facilitators of dreams and awakening women to the power of creating their own lives, their own paths and truths, have heard the cries. 

I have stepped fully onto this path with an open heart and can't wait to share my knowledge and tools with as many women as possible. As we sat in circle this weekend and heartstormed our futures, the path seems a little brighter. Each woman lighting her candle along the way and brightening the path for the next.