Do It Anyway

Here’s my little secret for conquering the Inner Critic… Do It Anyway!

When fear threatens to stop you in your tracks, DO IT ANYWAY.

When fear threatens to stop you in your tracks, DO IT ANYWAY.

Each of us contains two small voices– the loud panicky Inner Critic who feeds our fears and insecurities through negative self talk as well as a much quieter, gentler, loving Intuitive voice who is our muse, our biggest supporter, our source of creativity who only speaks through positive self talk.  The Inner Critic is the critical father who never encouraged you, the dismissive teacher who didn’t nurture your talent, the coach who said you couldn’t play sports, and the significant other whose negativity proved he/she wasn’t that significant after all.  The Intuitive voice is your authentic self, your true nature revealed when you pull the debris of the past off of you and let your inner light shine.  Your Intuition is you.

I know this.  I’ve known this for many years as you probably do, too.  Yet, occasionally, that Inner Critic speaks up at times that surprise me.

A little while ago, I ordered a roll of Strathmore Mixed Media paper… 8 yards of it!  It’s beautiful… durable, pure white, and full of possibilities.  I couldn’t wait to unroll it across a long table and play with my watercolors.  What happened next came out of nowhere.  I heard the Inner Critic say, “Are you crazy?  You better not use this paper; it was expensive and you’ll only mess it up.”

Are you kidding me?!  I’ve been an artist my whole life and had a very successful solo exhibit last summer, thank you very much.  Where’s this coming from?  In the past, that negativity might have stifled my creativity.  I might have rolled up that lovely paper and pulled out a sketchpad, working on a smaller space and coming from a smaller place within myself.

I didn’t do that.  I chose to say, “Enough!”  I have jumped out of a plane at over 10,000 feet.  I have moved to an unfamiliar place full of strangers.  I have had the guts to walk away from relationships and jobs that do not support my highest self.  I’m going to let negativity stop me from playing with art supplies?! I don’t think so!

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her ground-breaking book Women Who Run with the Wolves, states, ” Negative complexes that arise along the way are banished or transformed- your dreams will guide you the last part of the way- by putting your foot down, once and for all, and by saying, ‘I love my creative life more than I love cooperating with my own oppression.'”

So when fear, doubt, and anxiety try to talk you out of being your adventurous, wild, creative, loving, lovable self, take a deep breath and go from being a Survivor to a Thriver by “Doing It Anyway.”

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Intuition: Trusting the Voice Within

“Overnight success stories” rarely are.  For what appears to be overnight to an onlooker, took years of patience, frustration, hope, doubt, sweat, and tears for the person actually living it.

For me, major changes that I’ve purposefully made in my life are a lot like “overnight success stories”, they took years to bring about.  And while it looks like I did it all myself (no, I’m not Wonder Woman), I am actually co-creating with something much larger than myself that speaks to me through my Intuition.

On July 10th of this year, I published a blog post titled “What is Your Tipping Point?” https://awakenpureyou.com/  It explores my journey from knowing that life needed to change to bravely taking that first step.  Take time to read that before reading this post for a clearer picture of where I am coming from and why I’m taking time to share this personal story.

To successfully experience life’s  constant changes, I must heed the still, small voice within so I can wisely decide what must be done for my greatest and highest good.  In other words, I must trust my Self.

Around 2010, my Intuition was sending me quiet, gentle, loving signals hinting that change was in the air.  It was as subtle as the first scent of autumn wafting into my nostrils on a cool September breeze.  I ignored it.  While I was beginning to feel “growing pains”, an uneasiness with how things were, I justified my situation by saying that other people had it far worse.  “At least I wasn’t working in a coal mine like my grandfather and his father before him.”  I could handle this.  It wasn’t that bad…yet.

Impatient, my Intuition got louder and more aggressive. The “cool September breeze carrying change”, that I mentioned earlier, became a hurricane of drama, stress, and ill health.  I knew most definitely that there would be even more significant consequences if I didn’t listen… NOW!

Why did I take so long to act on my Intuition?  I didn’t trust my Self.   That’s a powerful, humbling thing to admit..I DIDN’T TRUST MY SELF.  And that’s the worst thing we can do when making decisions about our future.

I know early on when a situation isn’t right for me– a job, a relationship, etc…  What I haven’t always known is that I have everything I need within me to make a positive change– strength, courage, wisdom, and my Intuition (guardian angel, gut instinct).

I hesitated to act on the information because I confused my Inner Critic with my Intuition.  I paid more attention to the negative voice that played on my fears.  The voice that weakens, stagnates, and ultimately paralyzes.  The voice that poisons the system with self-doubt and anxiety.  At first, it seemed to be protecting me from doing something impetuous.  But that’s at all what it was doing; it was keeping me from living an authentic life, from being my best self.  I was afraid of being jobless, homeless, and penniless.  I was afraid I would never find the level of security and comfort that I had in my present situation.  A friend asked, “Are you REALLY secure and comfortable?”  That sounds a bit sarcastic but it touched right on the heart of the matter.  No!!!  I was not secure and comfortable.  I was afraid… afraid to trust my Intuition.

Once I was clearly able to feel the difference in my body between Intuition and the Inner Critic, I was able to discern the messages and heed the one meant for my highest good.

How do you know what to do when you aren’t sure whether it’s your Intuition or fear?  In my work with women and girls, I explore a variety of ways to sense the differences using body wisdom based on a lifetime of my own experience.  Every message from both Intuition and the Inner Critic can be felt in different parts of the body.

One technique that has worked for me is to sit quietly and relax.  First, think back on a time when you listened to your intuition.  Imagine the situation in as much detail as possible.  Where were you?  Who else was there?  What was happening?  Play it in your mind and feel it in your body.  Sense what it feels like to listen to your Intuition and have a positive outcome.

Open your eyes, stretch, record the sensations in a journal if that is something you like to do.  Then, repeat.  Only this time, recall a time when fear got in the way.  You sensed your Intuition but ignored it.  Where were you?  Who else was there?  What was happening?  Play it in your mind and watch this scene play out, too.  Feel it in your body.  What does it feel like in your body when you ignore your own inner wisdom?  What emotions and thoughts accompany this feeling?

This is just one exercise that can awaken your Intuition and heighten your awareness so you can act on it more quickly in the future.  But please be gentle with yourself as you do this.  As I remind myself regularly, this is a spiritual practice with the emphasis on the word “practice”.  No one is perfect and faced with a new situation, it’s easy to be afraid.  But with strategies in place, we can get to this intuitive knowing more quickly each time and avoid unnecessary pain.

Imagine how different life would be if we trusted our Intuition more fully!  Imagine how wonderful it would be for girls to learn this at an earlier age than we did!

What’s next?  Once you sense the message your Intuition is sending you, how can you manifest a positive outcome?  This is where Imagination joins in, saying “I’m here to help!”  More on that next time….

 

Winged Spirit- Soar to New Heights

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit emerged from the canvas to remind us that we should release our burdens and soar to new heights.

Winged Spirit speaks to me, gently saying “Release what no longer serves so you can soar to new heights.”  Her wings are strong yet nurturing. “Fear not,” she continues, “when you have the courage to take a leap, Spirit will carry you safely on the wind. You will not fall.”  What wonderful advice as we head into 2015, a new year & an opportunity for a new beginning!

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

By letting go of my preconceived idea of what this canvas could be, Winged Spirit continued to reveal herself.

Winged Spirit emerged from layers of acrylic paint playfully applied with a variety of tools- brushes, a spray bottle, sponges, a fork, stencils, stamps, and my fingertips.  I was able to connect with this piece far more deeply than I had with some of my earlier work because I allowed myself to enjoy the process and let whatever was going to happen happen.  Surrender… a new concept for me.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

After freely applying several layers of paint without any thought to the outcome, I saw Winged Spirit peeking through the drips, splashes, and strokes.

 

Early in the fall, I strolled into my local fabric store and happened upon a display of art-related books.  As soon as I read the title “Brave Intuitive Painting”, I knew I had to have Flora Bowley’s book for that’s exactly what I would love to call my painting process.  But I can’t.  Not yet.  I stayed up late into the night soaking up her advice, techniques, and colorful examples, enthusiastically telling my boyfriend, “If I could write a book, this is exactly what I’d want to say!!”  She encourages artists to release preconceived ideas of a finished product and immerse ourselves in the process of discovery… and self-discovery.  The book led me to her website which led me to her e-course called Bloom True.  I highly recommend it for anyone to wants to break free of expectations and allowing the experience of creating art to be a more intuitive process.

The point of taking Flora Bowley’s workshop is not to copy her style.  Rather, the point is to honor the authentic creator in my Self, silence the critical mind for a while, and just BE.

Visit my shop on Etsy to view the art I currently have for sale.  www.etsy.com/shop/PureSusan

Distant Healing Circle

When dear friends shared the stunning news of their son’s serious health challenge, I reacted the way you probably would by saying “I’m so sorry.  Is there anything I can do?”

Instead of the expected “No, but thank you.”, his mother said, “Yes, actually there is.  Let’s form a healing circle for him.”

A healing circle is a gathering of people who combine their individual power to send intense healing energy to the person in need.  While we set the intention for our desired outcome, we surrender to the knowledge that healing takes many forms & the outcome is not ours to control.  In the ceremony, I often say a prayer that includes a sentence such as- “May this healing energy be used for the person’s highest good.”  Under no circumstances do we imply that this replaces medical care of any kind.  Energy healing complements medical treatment but does not replace it.

When designing a distant healing ceremony, I ask several questions including–

  1. Does the person give us consent to perform the ceremony?
  2. Is the person willing to attune to our efforts on the specified date & time?
  3. What do I need to know about the person to facilitate the healing session?

I ask these questions because, first & foremost, the individual has to want the healing.  Second, the person has to be an active participant , doing everything in his/her power to affect change.  Third, details about the person give us a single-minded focus for the work we are about to perform.

All aspects of the healing circle are created with a combination of intuitive insights & good old-fashioned hard work & planning.  On the surface, I design & facilitate rituals & ceremonies.  On a deeper level, I co-create them with those involved, making each experience beautiful, meaningful, & extremely personal.  Customized rituals & ceremonies alter the participants in profound ways– inspiring, connecting, & reaffirming the inherent worth of each of us.

Ceremonies & rituals honoring our special moments should be as unique as we are.

Heightened Sensitivity

By our nature, artists are highly sensitive people.  We feel deeply & it shows in our art, writing, dance, & music.  So, it comes as no surprise when my creative friends & family members express that they are going through a highly emotional time or a time when everything bad seems to be happening at once.  I’m experiencing that, too.  It feels as though I’m the only one noticing body language, picking up on subtle clues, & sensing things in what people say & do that others aren’t picking up on.  If you’ve seen the movie Stepford Wives, you know what I mean.

So what’s a creative spirit to do?  I’ve turned to my dreams for answers as their imagery is full of symbolism that speaks to my soul & often provide insight into what I can’t understand in my awake time.  For example, last night, I dreamed there were a few small black lizards in my backyard.  Every time I looked out the window, there were more, larger jet-black lizards.  I wasn’t frightened at all; they were here to tell me something.  I went outside & walked among them fearlessly.  When I awoke, I referred to Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  In it, he writes that lizards are symbols of intuition & heightened sensitivity (interesting!!).  Listen to that intuition & honor those feelings in your Self.  He also writes that some lizards have tails that detach when they are attacked.  “Sometimes, it is necessary to separate ourselves, or part of ourselves, from others to be able to do the things we must desire to do.”

What does all this mean for those of us struggling to make sense of insane situations or overwhelming amounts of negativity?  Pause.  Meditate.  Dream.  Listen to your inner voice for guidance.  And, if necessary, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally remove yourself from the situation to see it more clearly.  If nothing else, an appropriate level of detachment could be the healthiest thing you can do right now.  As for snowballing amounts of negativity, counteract that by doing something positive for yourself & someone else.  The only thing that will dispel the darkness is light.  Be a light to others but most of all, be a light to your Self.

Dream Boldly

Sometimes, a little voice full of self-doubt can whisper things like, “You can’t make money doing that” or “There are already a zillion artists (writers, chefs, whatever…) in the world, you don’t need to be one.”  That’s the annoying voice that prevents us from following our bliss.  I like the voice that says “There’s no competition for your life’s true purpose” much better.  That’s the encouraging intuitive voice that knows we are at our best when we are doing what we love.

What would the world be like if Matisse hesitated because there were already a lot of French artists?  What if Meryl Streep went into accounting because she thought there were too many actors vying for work?  What if Oprah stayed in Chicago living a life that was too small for her?  Only you can fulfill your own destiny by taking that first step & seeing what will happen.  It doesn’t have to be a major career change, although that might come naturally 🙂  Maybe it’s about exploring a new hobby, volunteering somewhere different, or taking yourself on a day trip somewhere unfamiliar.  Try what your heart is calling you to try!  My heart continues to tell me to create, lead workshops on spiritual discovery, garden organically, blog, write, & spend time in nature.  Who knows where these passions will lead!

Have you ever driven by some churches that have those clever & amusing quotes on signs along the road?  One sign I read said to “Invest your time; don’t waste it.”  What great advice for us creative types who always find excuses for not pursuing what we love.  Dream boldly then take a step.  You’ll be glad you did!