When the way to our dreams is fraught with potholes of self doubt and uncertainty, what are we really to do?
One of the first reactions would be to believe all the stories that our mind is telling us. Things such as “this is too hard, I’m not up for this, I’m not getting paid enough, this is too intense, I have to find another way to live, I can’t do this.”
These were the exact thoughts rolling through my mind as I was completing a jewellery project recently. You would think that after 30 years of practicing my craft, these thoughts would have been extinguished by the breath of accomplishments that I have had. No. Such is not the case. The doubts and questioning of my craft and ability are still constant companions.
I realize that my skill, or duration practicing anything, will have no affect on this doubt. That the doubt is here to say.
And I have a desire to live more lightly with these constant companions.
I’ve heard talk lately that our brains are an ancient creation that are just not up for the numbers of challenges that our modern lives have to deal with. I’m not sure if that is true of not, however, what I do know or rather had witnessed by my morning journalling practice is that I listed at least a dozen things that are on my mind. Concerns for our planet, our wildlife, humanity in general. So the very tool that allows me to interact with you, is also the same tool that floods my consciousness with all the world news that has me feel overwhelmed and unsure how to live amongst my desire and yearnings for change.
Daneille LaPorte was talking about fighting for your Joy on a podcast that I listened to this morning. What would fighting for your joy look like?
What if we acknowledge all of it, our doubt, our desire, our uncertainty and still chose to return to joy? Chose to find a way to create beauty in the world. Chose to find a way to share our love in whatever form we are able to.
That’s where magic happens.
Yesterday I shared love with a friend who is facing a cancer diagnosis. Then I provided support for a woman who has a passion that is still trying to find it’s unique expression. Then I shared in the joy of one of my paintings being received with a client. Then I received payment for the next batch of journals that are destined for an empowering retreat in Bali. The duality of all that is available.
Back to my initial question, what are we to do when all this duality is present?
Change your mind.
Simply change your mind. Literally change what you are thinking about. Rather than the “I can’t do this” switch it to “I am doing this.” I am creating more love in the world than I am extracting. I’m tipping the balance to filling the love cup versus seeing it all dwindling.
Now I don’t know the impact of the jewellery project that I completed, and sent on it’s way, simply because it is still in transit. However, the 90 people who have reacted on Facebook tells me that I have had an impact and it’s a positive impact. If nothing else there is an appreciation for hand crafted beautiful things. The other impact is inspiration. I’m inspiring people in the world by sharing my inspirations. I have always wanted to have a positive impact in people’s lives whether that was through my coaching/wisdom, or through bringing beauty to the world with my work.
The outcome of this article is that even though you have doubt, keep going. If you are feeling pulled and inspired to created something in your life, then find a way to give it some attention. The impact that you are going to have is likely more significant than you can recognize while the doubtful thoughts are rolling around. Change your mind about what is possible for you.
Change your mind about who you are.
Practice radical acceptance for your worries and your dreams because the duality of both will not go away. So fighting what is, does not make it go away. Embrace all that you are, knowing that you are a unique gift to all of us and we need your self-expression. So please do not allow your doubt and uncertainty to run your life. They are strong forces, and there is love and inspiration also available to you.
Change your mind.
Since 2008, I've been collecting images with the intention of creating paintings from them. Have you ever collected things for some day and wondered when that someday will every come? Or perhaps it isn't even a some day thought, but rather a "Wow, I collect a lot of things. What was I going to do with this?"
I'm notorious for having more ideas than I can act on. What this has created for me, is a backlog of creative ideas. Unfortunately some of those ideas, when I pick them up months later, no longer hold the juice or appeal that they once did. This is an idea that has gone stale and I'm best to just move on, and let it go, rather than trying to give it mouth to mouth.
Feb 2019, was one of those moments where I was checking on which creative ideas were still breathing and worth saving. I have a binder that I've put my collected images in and decided to see if there was anything I wanted to pursue.
The Lit Lotus flower caught my eye immediately. I remember thinking "I wonder if I could paint that?" It seemed pretty difficult and I had nothing to lose. I was either going to be able to paint it or I wasn't.
Now this post isn't so much about the selection of the image or the challenges I perceived I would have. What is really important here is that I followed my curiosity. I allowed my creativity to speak to me. What if my muse also want to meet me in this creative place? What if the creation of art is not all about me? What if by showing up, I allow a force greater than myself to speak through me?
That seemed like a cool idea and it sort of let me off the hook. All I had to do was listen, show up, and follow the guidance that I am given. Rather than thinking that I have to decide and figure out every aspect of the piece on my own.
Now I don't know about you, but my monkey mind likes to have a hay day with me and tell me how untalented I am, how I've failed, and who am I to think I could be a painter, artist, author or whatever creative genius shows up to guide me.
Facing my art with my monkey mind alone felt so heavy and unrewarding. Like paddling against the current.
However, if my responsibility was to show up and my muse will be there with me, to guide me, then I have an ally to do this with. I won't be left alone with the monkeys. Cool.
This Lit Lotus has brought so many gifts as I've brought the piece together. One of the most striking things is the light and the reflections. The perspective of this image is showing us the underside of the lotus flower. The underbelly if you will. The mechanics under the star of the show (the centre of the flower). What we see is the support system that is often hidden. Which reminded me again of my muse who is there to support me. The hidden structure that is holding me up to the light.
Now as the light penetrates from above it casts a shadow of the far pedals on the inside of the near petals. We are at once transparent and opaque. The light can pass through and cast a notion of solidity on the areas that are receiving no light.
What are the areas in you that appear solid, but have yet to receive the light? Which areas are transparent?
We can also consider the colour. Gorgeous pink. Yet the nuances of the pink gives us the descriptions we need to understand shape, order, rhythm and connection. Amazing. We can only understand the whole flower by considering the constituent parts. Where the shadows falls on the interior of the bloom, two layers of pink line up to reveal a deeper colour. I know this sounds simply like the physics of the illumination, but I find this to be a great metaphor for life. Where the light does not penetrate we see/feel a deeper shade. A depth that is not possible in the full light.
Just as the lotus flower comes from the mud, and opens up its bloom once upon the top of the water, so too is this painting opening up to the enlightenment of our development. As we clear the mud, tell ourselves the truth, and reach above the confusion we too can bloom into receiving the light and enrichment that only exists on the surface of the water.
How does this image remind you of the mud that you have found yourself in? How is it calling you to reach up to the surface and allow yourself to bloom?
For me, telling myself the truth was centred around leaving a position that I was tolerating and allowing myself to bloom into my creativity. I've become more authentic. This is a tricky way to phrase it because it implies an inauthentic way of being. Which may be partly true. In not allowing myself to tell the truth about a situation that was causing me distress I was being inauthentic. Telling the truth and allowing things to shift and change just as they are needed, can be a bit frightening. However, I know that all this was necessary for me to turn towards the light and explore my creativity.
I've cried several times as I relayed my shift to more painting with friends and family. I've cried because I've spend 10 years as a coach encouraging and supporting other people to realize the life that they want to live, which has been great to see their progress. What I was neglecting is my own desire. I simply could not make space for all the things I was involved in and have this creativity blossom.
I now cry because I'm proud of myself. Proud that I am talented, capable, and successful. Proud that I had the courage to be honest and allow this creativity to come through me.
If you were to be completely honest, what would you be saying? What would you realize.
May this lotus flower remind you that it is only through growing out of the mud that we are able to breach the surface and bloom into our full beauty.