I Succeeded Because I Tried

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”

Elbert Hubbard

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Last weekend, I debuted my new business venture Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self at the New Visions Celebration of Life Expo in York PA.  This popular holistic health expo attracts everyone from reflexologists to Reiki masters as well as vendors selling products including crystals, jewelry, essential oils, & books.  It was the perfect place to share the philosophy of Pure You & the services I offer.

I’ve often described the idea of birthing a new idea to birthing a baby.  A mother doesn’t give birth expecting a child to come out fully formed as a veterinarian or fashion designer; she knows it’s a baby who will develop as it grows.  Ideas are exactly the same.  They, too, evolve over time.  I kept that in my mind as I set up my booth, arranging the banner, business cards, & flyers promoting my upcoming workshop “Light in the Darkness:  How Dreams Illuminate Your Soul”.

I’m not going to mislead you.  Putting myself out there in a new way was scary.  There were feelings of vulnerability, a fear of acceptance, & moments of self-doubt.  All I could do was reject the negativity & stand in the knowledge that no matter how Pure You was received, at least I had the guts to try.  I had the courage to make my dream a reality.  I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t put my heart & soul into this venture, I’d have a lifetime of wondering “What if…” in addition to the understandable feeling of failure that results when I don’t even try.  That’s not my style.  I’ll always be a dreamer & I’ll always do my best to make my own dreams come true- being the hero in my own life story.

My best advice to any dreamer longing to make the dream a reality…Don’t let fear paralyze you.  So what if something you try doesn’t turn out the way you want?  By trying, you are opening the door of possibilities that remains forever closed to those who “settle” for what is.  Stand in your own power.  Be the co-creator of your life.  Success comes with trying.

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Putting Fear in Its Place

There was a gem of an idea stored deep within me in a box I had labeled “Wishful Thinking”.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m starting a new business venture & now it’s close to becoming a reality.  I’ve had to remind myself that no matter what happens, the only failure is in keeping the dream confined in that musty old box & not giving it a chance to see the light of day.

The stages I’ve experienced as my business transforms from dream to glittering reality- inspiration, motivation, & trepidation- are similar to those experienced by anyone preparing to birth something new, whether it be a baby or a Broadway musical.

The moment of inspiration is ecstatic!  The mind, heart, & soul unite to generate ideas as we revel in the possibilities of what might be.  Dreams expand to fill the universe because, at this stage, absolutely anything is possible.  This is the “fun part”.

Then, we are motivated to make the dream come true.  We roll up our sleeves, accepting the responsibility of being the co-creator of our existence rather than a passive victim of circumstance (i.e. fate).  Called to action, we take steps to manifest the dream in our life.  There’s no denying the amount of blood, sweat, & tears that go into birthing something healthy.  However, dreams, like babies, can be born prematurely.  It’s only by listening to the messages our intuition is sending us that we know how best to proceed.

What are the signals?  They are those unexpected signs such as the right opportunity revealing itself, the right people coming along to support your vision, the money appearing just when you need it, etc…  Synchronicity.  Pay attention.  Take notice.  The signs to proceed are there or they’re not.

This is usually the point where fear stalks the psyche.  We question everything.  Am I forcing this?  Is the timing right?  What if it’s rejected?  What if it’s a success?!

That’s the funny one… “fear of success”.  Why are we afraid to let our light shine & be all that we are capable of being?  Ultimately, I believe, it goes back to a fear of rejection.  Look at famous people who seem to have it all.  They still have insecurities about being seen as frauds or of the fame, money, & material possessions disappearing one day.  We’re only on a pedestal long enough to be knocked off, right?  What if that’s not right?

What if the Universe (Source, Great Spirit, God, Goddess) wants us to be happy?  What if all we had to do was “show up”?  Suppose the only expectation is that we live lives of integrity & AUTHENTICITY.  How liberating!!!  No fear, just the understanding that we have to be present & be our best selves.

When fear strikes me, as it does all of us at one time or other, I remind myself that no woman ever gave birth to a fashion designer or marine biologist.  She gave birth to a baby who evolved over time.  No plant bears fruit before its roots are established & it has time to mature.  No book springs from the author’s imagination ready to be published.  See where I’m going with this?

Don’t force yourself to run before you can walk.

Take baby steps if giant strides seem too much to bear.

Do anything but stand still.

And most importantly, give your dreams the chance to manifest in your life.

 

Wonder Woman & Superman

When I was younger, I wanted to be Wonder Woman.  Lynda Carter starred in the hit TV show that got my imagination soaring right along with her in the invisible plane!  I made a golden lasso out of my jump rope, bullet-repelling bracelets out of cardboard & tinfoil, & an invisible plane out of… well, nothing,… it was invisible 🙂  I fought the forces of evil– feeling strong, brave, & powerful.

Wonder Woman played by Lynda Carter. Thanks to wonder-woman.wikia.com for the photo.

It takes the qualities of Wonder Woman & Superman to break old patterns & have the courage to create a new reality based on love, light, & all things positive.  When I blogged about being “Cracked Wide Open”, I realized it’s going to take the superhero in me to continue the growth from that experience, standing up for what I believe is right.

Isn’t it an amusing image… you & I walking around like so many mild-mannered Clark Kents & Dianna Princes, until we must summon our super-power & stand up for the environment, those whose voice isn’t being heard, truth, love, peace, equality, religious freedom, etc…?  We throw off our glasses… women twirling magically, revealing their red & gold bustier & knee-high boots while men are running into phone booths, coming out in flowing capes, ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound!  There aren’t very many phone booths anymore so you guys have to get creative.

No one would suspect that mild-mannered Dianna Prince is really Wonder Woman. Thanks to superseventies.tumblr.com for the photo.

We can be active agents of change in our lives if we empower ourselves.  Stop letting negative people, fear, or doubt limit you!  It’s time for the shift in energy that many of us are feeling to become permanent.  Forget the inner critic & inner victim you’ve heard so much about.  I’m telling you that there is a superhero inside of you just waiting to come out!!

Inspiration Everywhere

Though I had no time to create any new artwork of my own this past week, I took down the old & display the new inspirational objects that I’ve been collecting lately.  Like a little kid displaying their school work proudly on the refrigerator, I display items that inspire me in one way or another.

Postcards, magnets, & photos are displayed where I can see them every day. I soak up the inspiration.

Just about anything can stimulate my imagination.  The two large bulletin boards I have hanging in my studio hold items whose patterns, colors, & textures fill me with new ideas.  Look closely & see what kinds of items you can pick out.  Do you see the tiny piece of tracing paper in the shape of a leaf?  It has the words “I love you” written on it.  My niece left countless notes of “I love you” all over my house at the end of her last visit.  They gave me happy tears for days as I found her hidden messages (even in my clothes hamper!).  I highly recommend leaving love notes around the house for someone you care about.  What a wonderful feeling they bring!

Everything from handmade paper ribbon to a decorative paper plate can stimulate my imagination.

This board displays a variety of items including inspiring notes from friends who encourage my creativity.

If you’ve been keeping up with my post, by now you know that there is nothing more inspirational for me than nature.  However, I also find surprisingly stimulating objects just about anywhere I go.  Next time you shop at a store near you, approach it with a child’s eyes.  Look around with wonder at what is displayed.  Something is bound to give you that sparkly, shimmery “This makes me want to create something new” feeling.

Do you have a place to display items that motivate or inspire you?

So Much Art, So Little Time

I’ve had my share of periods notoriously known as “Artist’s Block”, very similar to what writers experience when the desire is there but the ideas are not.  It happens to all creative people sooner or later.  I’m not exactly sure what cleared my block but I do know that meditating, walking in nature, going on field trips to fun places, & surrounding myself with positive people contributed to the shift inside of me.

I now have the opposite problem, a wonderful, energy-charged problem– too many ideas & too little time.  Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining.  Far from it!  I’m humble & grateful for this flow of inspiration that has sprinkled my studio with canvases, blocks of wood, & art journals in various stages of completion.  What’s an artist to do?!  You might say, “Finish them, Silly!”   And I will.  But right now, I feel like a child with too many toys on Christmas morning.  What do I play with first?

See my dilemma?

I'm loving this art journal spread!

Love the background but have no idea what it will be.

 

 

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!

Sketch a Day Update

I don’t know about you but I never had much success with New Year’s Resolutions.  Promises to exercise, cut back on chocolate, or be more patient were always broken within days.  I’ll be honest, I don’t respond well to “You have to…”  or “You must…”.  The Sketch a Day goal I set for myself is quickly becoming that.  It turned something pleasurable into an assignment.   I’m an artist because I have a need to express myself creatively from a place of passion & joy.  If the work sells, that’s fabulous; however, I’m no longer a commercial artist & don’t want to create art unless it is meaningful.  Admittedly, creative people must practice their craft to maintain their skills but they (we) also create from a place of desire, even desperation at times.  We dance because the music moves us.  We write poetry because it urges our hearts to put pen to paper.  We paint because the subject cries out to be expressed on canvas.

As I savor this unexpected day off due to torrential rain & flooding, I will make a big pot of coffee & spend time in my studio, playing with the art supplies I buy but don’t use often enough.  My boyfriend’s advice this morning was, “Have an art day.  Experiment; destroy a canvas if you want.”  How cool is that!  I hope that when your plans change unexpectedly, you see the potential gift in the disruption of your routine.  What would you do with the gift of time?

Please send the people of Pennsylvania positive thoughts & healing energy as many of us recover from this disaster.

A Sketch A Day

Have you heard the advice “Just come to the page” for writers who suffer from writer’s block or who claim they are too busy to sit down and write?  They are told to take just a few minutes per day to show up at the page and write something…anything.

Now that my schedule is getting far more hectic, I’m putting a twist on that advise and saying to myself, “Just come to the sketchbook”.  Each day, draw something…anything.  Now, I know it’s the wrong time of year for traditional resolutions but I’m making a September resolution to draw one sketch a day all month long.  I have to continue with my art no matter how busy I get.  As all creative people know in their hearts, if we don’t draw, sculpt, dance, write, or play our instruments, we can’t be as happy as we are when we are creating.

I’ve got a small sketchbook, pencil, and sharpener that I will keep with me at all times.  Let’s see how it goes 🙂  How do you fit art into your schedule when you get busy?

 

How Do I Create a Collage? Part 1

I’m glad I was asked this question.  It makes me stop and think about what I do & why.  I guess I really break collage down into two equally important components:  my heart and my head.  My heart allows me to create with passion and make pieces that resonate with others who view and buy my work.  My brain recalls years of training in proportion, composition, and color theory.  It must begin with the heart, which answers the questions — What do I love?  What am I passionate about?  What do I need to express in my art?  (The answers to those questions will come up in later blogs.)  You’ll want to answer those questions for yourself.  For example, I saw a powerful image of a wolf howling at the moon.  It really spoke to me so I sketched it several times, letting myself play with the composition.  After I create a sketch that satisfies me,  I consider how I want to express it… on canvas? bristol board?  watercolor paper?  Lately, most of my collage work is on canvas because it allows me to use a variety of materials, responds well to cutting and poking with wires and exacto knives, and handles the weight of some unusual materials such as slate and pebbles.  Still operating from the heart (which means “leave the brain out of it”), I dig through my boxes and drawers full of materials to see what captures my eye.  “Okay Wolf, talk to me.  What do you want to look like?”  I stay playful at this point, not analyzing my choices yet, simply picking what I like at the moment.   What captures my imagination and speaks to my heart?   Do certain patterns or textures stand apart from the rest?  I pick from fabric, beads, small stones, handmade papers, photographs, ticket stubs, menus, sheet music… whatever!  A pile of seemingly unrelated items begins to grow.  Once I feel like I’ve exhausted my available materials, I take a deep breath and put everything else away so I can focus on the materials I’ve chosen.

I spread out all the items, looking for things that go well together, narrowing down my selection a bit to include things that go well together and communicate the feeling I want to communicate.  Now, my wolf may not be “wolf-colored”, this isn’t about realism.  It’s about having fun and trying new things.  In fact, this wolf wants to be purple with a coppery orange moon hanging in an olive green sky.   I sometimes wonder if I’m creating the art or simply acting as a conduit for art that wants to flow through me, out onto the canvas.

Okay, I have a sketch, a pile of materials, and the foundation for this piece (a small canvas).  Now what?  Stay tuned….

 

Art Date with Myself

Has anyone read Julia Cameron’s Artists’ Way?   It’s a wonderful guide for anyone who needs the pot of their creative juices stirred.  She offers activities and suggestions for liberating the artist inside each of us.  One of her suggestions is to make a date with yourself.  She calls it an Artist Date.  You treat yourself to a new adventure, an experience outside of your comfort zone.  An experience meant to inspire or at least get you thinking.  I highly recommend it for any blocked artist, writer, or performer.

I went on an Artist’s Date yesterday.  Now, like any good artist, I broke the rules.  I brought my boyfriend.  He is in a creative line of work so we went somewhere that would inspire both of us… the Mt. Gretna Tour of Homes.  Google it for details.  What a great place to see Victorian and Arts & Crafts architecture!   I was inspired by the covered porches full of welcoming wicker furniture, the rustic setting among the pine trees, and the cozy decor in each unique cottage.  Sometimes, to be productive, I have to stop producing and simply replenish my imagination.  This summer, I’ve created less finished art but took in more ideas.  What do you do to refill your well?