Using Art to Move Your Life

{Not all sharing is a good thing. An alley wall full of chewed up gum.}

I’m currently taking Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection Life Class. That along with twice a day walks, listening to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s free Destiny meditation and cutting out refined and processed carbs has completely changed me inside and out. It’s slowly lessening the gap between who I am on the inside and the me I show the world.

One of the things that has specifically shifted is my intention of being authentic, expressing my true self and using artistic expression and creativity to push me forward. That sometimes means dragging a paintbrush across a canvas, decorating a room, or writing down a poem. Sometimes I share it here. Other times I hide it away in a book.

When do you share and when do you keep things to yourself?

In Brown’s class, she discusses what it means to be vulnerable. Sharing what we feel is vulnerable is one way we release shame. {Kind of like this poem I wrote here.} The difference with sharing too much and sharing enough depends on your ability to be okay regardless of the feedback.

The same thing may happen if you’re deciding whether to share something deeply personal with the world. Maybe it’s a dream, a secret, a trauma, an amazing accomplishment, a fear…Whatever it is feels terrifying to share. But secrets can eat you up from the inside. The only way to freedom is through reaching out. The key is to be very discriminative about who you choose to share what to.

I’ve made this mistake too many times in entrusting my precious thoughts, feelings and dreams to people who couldn’t hear it so they a) criticized it b) tore it apart c) told others about it. In the end, expressing my dreams felt dangerous and left me feeling wounded. What I learned in the process it that if I could use art and creativity to work my way through what felt hard and personally dealt with it, then I had the inner strength to share the work with those I loved, trusted and felt safe around. And that in return, felt wonderfully healing.

These days, social media makes sharing all too easy. When we’re pissed at a friend, a relative or a boss, it’s so easy to vent but so hard to take back what’s been sent.

Here’s my suggestion.

The next time you’re going through a rough situation. Put a pause on blogging, updating and tweeting to the world. Instead open up a journal, write down your thoughts or take a pen, crayons, pencils, paint and draw it in on a canvas. Then when you’re ready and not depending on what others have to say about it, share it with those who are near and dear to your heart.

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How to Get Through Life’s Growing Pains

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

Who we are is always in the process of becoming. Although we might not know it, there is room to grow even in the fullest of blossoms. That’s because sometimes growth means a death, a letting go of who we were in order to become who we were meant to be.

It’s not in easy process, but it’s a worthwhile one.

The difficulty lies in the awareness that we are not yet there. Just like the mountain that impedes our path on a hiking trip or the lack of experience that finds us interrupting our career, our ability to keep going is as necessary as breathing. If we were to stop, to turn back, to give up, that would also be a death, a silent lights out of our dreams.

There are ways we make the process harder. As Iyanla Vanzant said on Oprah’s Life Class:

“Comparison is an act of violence against yourself.”

I’ve done it enough times to know the self-inflicting pain that comes when you compare yourself to others. And it’s never to people who are worse off than you. It’s always to those reaping the benefits of their hard work. We rarely see the struggles people go through to become successful. We see their book deals, high paying dream jobs and easy lifestyle as gifts given to just a handful of people. But they were here too. It just wasn’t exciting enough to land on TV.

So I say to you now and to myself, this is our growing pains. This is not the end of our story. This is a small pebble on a beautiful, but lengthy path. There will come a time when we will celebrate too. But now’s not the time for rejoicing, it’s all about hard work. Moments like these beckon us to believe even when no evidence exists for positive change. It’s a call for faith.

Living in Hawaii hasn’t been easy. Writing jobs are sparse here and writers are aplenty. There have been many times that I’ve thought of giving up. But I remember what it took for me to start from nothing (no writing jobs, no contacts) five years ago and how far I’ve come. When you’re settled and you think you’ve got it covered, life will always hurl you a curve ball. It’s a sign you’re on the right path and on your way to self-growth and change. It can be an opportunity or it can be the beginning of the end of your career.

I’ve taken up watercolor painting recently. First of all, let me start by saying that I pretty much suck at it. But the process of learning it by this lady has re-taught me the importance of trying something even if you’re not good at it. It’s a reminder that we’re all students in this big class called life. Making mistakes, realizing your not good at it, dipping your paintbrush into something unfamiliar, these are all key life lessons. It’s not the end of the world when we fail, when we make a mistake, or when what we do doesn’t make us immediately successful. It’s believing what we’re doing matters and sticking through it even when it feels like it’s not working. True failure is the end anyway. If you’re still working towards your dreams, you haven’t failed yet.

So if you’re comparing yourself to someone more successful, stop right now. Come back to yourself. Be grateful for whatever stage your in. Know that what your doing is worthy and meaningful. And remember that the greatest gift you can offer the world is to genuinely be and give of yourself.

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