Why Finding the “Why” Is Crucial

I wish I’d known why choosing the best “why” for a goal made such a difference. I could have saved years of chasing an improbable intention.

Not knowing, I quit my job. Why did I do that? In a fit of frenzy, I knew it was time to paint again, and I wanted to paint full time. 

So why was I having such a hard time painting? It’s not as if the paintings I was doing were bad. They were good, but they don’t have a heart.

This was not how I had always painted. Twenty years earlier, when I decided, “I am an artist”, I loved the challenge of expressing what I was feeling. I was excited to see what would emerge from a fertile mind. And through an open heart, I touched many people’s hearts.

I was having fun. Work felt like play. 

I didn’t have to worry about making money from my art. I was in a flow of creating better and better pieces and getting acknowledgment I was a very talented artist.

Money flowed into my already abundant life. Everything I dreamed for my life as an artist came to fruition. I won first place prizes in prestigious art competitions. I took part in group shows all over the country, and the coup de grâce (drum roll, please), I had a one-woman art show in a gallery in New York.

This time was different. I needed to make money from my art but it seemed as if everything I tried was conspiring to fail. Why couldn’t I replicate the success I had before? What was I doing wrong?

This was my quandary several years ago. Perplexed how to solve this dilemma, I finally stumbled upon the answer. The problem I was having had everything to do with “why” I was doing what I wanted to do.

Before, when I became a successful artist, I was painting because that’s what I loved to do. Now I was painting to make money. I thought I had to create something a majority of people would want. 

My “why” was to make a living off the sales of my paintings.

It wasn’t until many years later, after experiencing meager sales of my paintings, when I was finally free to do whatever I wanted, I let go of worry and finally asked myself, “Why do I really want to paint?”

My answer hinged on a memory of how much I loved the challenge when I first painted. I wanted to experience growth. “Why do I want to grow?”, I asked myself, “I want to feel immersed in new insights”, I answered. 

I continued this line of questioning until I got to the seventh question. By then I had tapped into my spiritual needs. I discovered that the pull to paint was because, sometimes, while I painted, I felt Source Energy leading me. I felt expanded. Limitless. More than I could have imagined I could be.

I also remembered how good it felt to share what I had learned with other people, how grateful I was to be doing something that could help people to believe in themselves.

This “why” inspired me to paint more boldly, to follow my intuition more and resulted in some of the best work I have done.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching. William W. Purkey 

According to Sebastian Klein, co-founder of Blinklist, a Berlin-based startup that feeds curious minds key insights from non-fiction books, “Find your mission, or ‘why’ and allow the ‘what’ and ‘how’ to flow from there.”

In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink references an experiment in which psychologists asked university students about their aims in life. Some named extrinsic profit targets, like wealth, while others specified more intrinsic goals, such as personal development or helping others. Years later, the students with profit goals were no closer to contentment, but those with intrinsic goals were happier.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Steve Jobs

I’ve found that to be true. Since following a goal of something more meaningful, I’ve been happier and more productive.

In a 2003 study from the University of Rochester, researchers asked 147 recent college grads to report their aspirations in life and their happiness or unhappiness. The intrinsic aspirations included close relationships, community involvement, personal growth.

Extrinsic aspirations included money, fame, and having an appealing image.

The results: The folks who realized their intrinsic goals had high levels of happiness, but the people who attained their extrinsic goals didn’t have an improvement in their subjective well-being. The authors theorize that they might feel momentarily satisfied after reaching such a goal, but it doesn’t last.

As Nils Salzgeber says in “Are You Pursuing the WRONG Goals? (Intrinsic VS. Extrinsic Goals)” on the blog, NJlifehacks, “Intrinsic goals will actually lead to MORE money, fame, power, validation, and approval than extrinsic goals. It’s true. People who pursue intrinsic goals–people who just do stuff because they enjoy it and because it fulfills them–become more extrinsically successful than the people who are actually trying to become extrinsically successful”.

Some of the most “successful” people in the world were motivated intrinsically, Think Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They all did what they did because they loved doing it. 

If the only reward for an intrinsic goal turns out to be happiness, I would opt for that. That’s because if succeeding and being rich doesn’t bring happiness for any length of time, why go after that?  

“Happiness is where we find it, but very rarely where we seek it.” J. Petit Senn

Faith: Why Sometimes What You Want Doesn’t Come the Way You Want It

I know, it’s frustrating. We want something and then take the action to do whatever we think it will take to receive it. We pray or we follow the “experts” guidelines to manifest our dreams, and many times we receive what we’ve focused on, but many times we don’t. Losing faith and bewildered, we haphazardly try every other way we come across or think will work to receive what we are wanting.

Or we give up wanting anymore.

Why does this happen? Why are we able to receive something we deeply desire sometimes and not at other times? I’m sharing the following story of a time I desperately wanted to get pregnant, finally did, and then had to face my worst fear. I chose this story because I want to show how when you get what you wanted, but it comes in way that that leaves you with more pain than you could have imagined, that in the end, if you develop faith, the experience brings you the most magnificent, wonderful gift you could have ever fathomed.

I tried to get pregnant for two agonizing years. My husband and I were tested for any reason that we couldn’t, but there wasn’t any reason. Finally, three years after marriage, I gave birth to a baby girl.

Fearful of losing my hard-won treasure, my new baby, I became exceedingly over-protective.

What mother agonizes over all the ways that she might kill her baby every time she has to drive with her child in her car? Even though she’s had a hard time conceiving? Or panics when her daughter is a little older and slides down a kiddie slide? Or worse, when her daughter does finally get her first boo-boo, she worries that the scar has maimed her daughter for life.

I was that mother. I knew I was being irrational. No other mother I knew worried like I did about their first child. It wasn’t until a friend of mine offered to pick my daughter up one day from nursery school that I finally confronted the reality of what I’d been doing .

When my friend came to my house with my daughter, Carrie, she told me that the teacher had asked her “Can’t this child do anything for herself?

It was as if a bright light had switched on. A flash of reality bursting forth! The truth was out. I’d been hurting my daughter more than I had admitted to myself.

What I’m doing to protect Carrie is worse than all the accidents she’ll have if I give her the freedom to learn from her own mistakes.

I convinced myself that if I were to have more children, I wouldn’t have the time to keep tormenting myself with these disturbing thoughts. However, it wasn’t any easier to have another child than when I was trying to get pregnant with Carrie. Desperate, I begged my husband to agree to adopt a second child. He was adamant. The answer was “No.”.

Finally, two years later I gave birth to a second daughter. My husband and I brought Samantha home to her big sister, and Carrie was delighted with this new bundle of joy sitting on her lap. I finally had all that I so desperately wanted now.

One month later, I drove the baby to her doctor’s office for a one month checkup. As the doctor had his stethoscope upon Samantha’s heart, I wondered about his concentrated intensity as he fixated on the sounds coming through his stethoscope for what seemed a long time. But I relaxed when his mood lightened after discarding the instrument to check Sandy’s throat and eyes.

Two hours after I had gotten home, I picked up the phone.

“Doretta, I heard a murmur in Samantha’s heart this morning in my office,” the doctor told me. “I’ve made an appointment for her with a ventricular pediatric specialist. It may be nothing but I think it’s prudent to get it checked out.”

Nervously sitting in the waiting room of the specialist’s office while he tested Samantha’s heart, I tried to think about anything but what I was afraid of. Finally the nurse came to tell my husband and I that the heart specialist would give us the results in his office. Unfeeling and cold, seemingly reciting a prognosis he’d delivered thousands of times, he told us that Samantha had a ventricular septal defect. I could hear words I didn’t want to hear as I, half-awake, in a stupor, told us “if she gets pneumonia or needs dental surgery she needs to have antibiotics”, “we normally don’t do surgery for this defect until she is at least seven years old”, and at that time, the ‘60’s, he told us, “most children with this defect don’t live past the age of eighteen”.

My husband and I walked out of the doctor’s office, stunned, heavy-laden, with no idea how to cope with the news. We made an appointment with a another heart specialist to confirm this doctor’s diagnosis. The specialist we saw was a friend of ours, and because he was so regretful to have to confirm that Samantha’s life was at risk, he expressed his concern in a very disheartening way. “I’m so sorry,” he kept repeating. This was, in a peculiar way, a lot harder to hear than the bare facts laid out by Samantha’s doctor

When we got home, I talked to God.

One thing I have to confess is that the only other times I had spoken to God were times when the turbulence of an airplane shook me to the core, and I feared for my life. But now I had another, better reason to speak to God. My new baby might die.

The incongruous nature of my request forced an even more inappropriate way for me to approach God. “What is this?” I asked. “Some kind of joke?”

I asked you for another child so I would stop worrying all the time that something would happen to Carrie. So now you give me another child, but this child has a real, tangible, even worse reason to worry?”

My husband and I went to the mountains to get away and heal from such a devastating blow. We wanted to be able to get our feet on the ground again. Samantha’s fate was out of our hands. How would each of us cope living with the knowledge that this hole in Samantha’s heart might mean she won’t be with us long?

In the mountains my husband and I took long walks, our feet crunching fallen leaves that autumn. The only sounds were the rustle the wind made as it passed through the trees. Here in nature, with the stillness, we were able to let go of the fear and open our hearts to love.

When we arrived home, I made up mind that even though I didn’t have control of the Samantha’s condition, I did have control over how I would handle it. I could turn over Samantha’s fate to God. I could and did imagine a gigantic bubble of light around Samantha and sent the bubble into the Universe to keep her safe.

Several years ago I learned a way to perceive an experience I didn’t ask for and didn’t know the reason it had come into my life. The advice I received was to embrace any experience that you didn’t expect, don’t really want, wish it hadn’t happened, by realizing it’s come into your life for a reason you can’t know now. The best way to perceive it is to assure yourself that even though you don’t know why this happening, there has to be something better coming or else it wouldn’t be in your life. This approach has helped me enormously to get through some very hard experiences.

And then recently I understood the reason why I had to experience having to face my worst fear when Samantha was born. The reason is that when we ask for something we’re having trouble manifesting, and something we didn’t want comes to us instead, is that we have unknown, deep-rooted blocks and fears preventing us from attaining that which we want. It’s as if God, hearing we want what we’re incapable of receiving, lovingly brings the lessons we have to learn in order to have what’s been evading us. Once we break through the obstacles by being honest with ourselves, being patient and opening ourselves to love, we are in a position to receive what we wanted.

We’ve learned that the barrier preventing us from having what we want isn’t outside of us.  It’s our fear misrepresenting whatever truth we could learn from to create our dreams.

That’s exactly what I learned from the lessons I received after praying for another child. I thought I wanted another child to stop worrying so much, but the opposite was true. I had been so focused on my needing to safeguard and protect my first child, I had to learn how to have faith in a Higher Power to do that job.

When I took Samantha to Houston, to the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston to have her 7 year old evaluation with Dr. Michael DeBakey, he told me it was a miracle. The hole between the two valves of Samanths’s heart had healed sufficiently to warrant forgoing the operation.

The miracle was not just that Samantha’s heart had healed, but that the experience had held another gift for me. I had been forced to make peace with Samantha’s future. I had accepted that she may die, and synchronously, I developed faith and a deep gratitude for the gift of being with her and loving her. Her heart problem had opened up my heart to allowing God to take care of her. I had learned to Trust.

If you liked this story, please Like it on this website:  https://medium.com/@dorettabendalin/faith-why-sometimes-what-you-want-doesnt-come-the-way-you-want-it-7a59e76567e4

How Curiosity Sparks New Ideas

Curiosity has me pondering changes I might take on my blog.  I’ll explain.

Yesterday I received an email from someone touting a new way to interact with other people who share the same interest on my website.  I was curious so I read to the end of the lengthy article.  Rather than the blogger lecturing to their audience, I would be building relationships with other like-minded followers, people who are also curious and want to be in deeper discussions, answering each other’s questions, and learning from each other.

I guess that’s what you could describe as a tribe.  This would be a group of people interested in the same subject, dedicated into delving into their experiences, sharing what helped them to overcome blocks and obstacles, and growing as a result.

This concept piqued my interest because I’m feeling more and more that I’m closing myself off  by separating myself from other people.  Blogging requires me to find subjects other people would be interested in, and I don’t really have a clue without some repartee.

Besides that, I love learning.  Writing by myself doesn’t give me the opportunity to have exchanges and to learn from others.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney

This sounds more exciting, more stimulating, and more interesting to me than sitting yet again in front of the computer, trying to come up with the idea that will make a difference.  But  without feedback, I write material that interests me at the moment I’m writing.  But I envision a much more meaningful interchange with the help of a group of people who have similar interest.  I see us in a lively exchange of ideas, making new awarenesses, and receiving  inspiration to try new things.

We’d all be inspiring each other to move forward.

I’m curious about how this could work.  Certainly I need to have feedback from those of you who might be interested in such a group.

Would you be interested exploring how your creativity shapes you and your life?  You might want to share what you’re aware of with a like-minded group of people, people who wouldn’t look at you curiously, wondering what the heck you’re trying to say?  Have you ever considered meeting with more people who “get” you?

Please comment on this post if you’re also curious about being in a group such as this one.  Share any ideas which have.  And please let me know if you’d be interested in helping to form this kind of tribe.

The button to post a comment is to the left of the post.

Thank you so much.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Doretta

If you’re interested in reading more about this subject, go to:

http://try.mightynetworks.com/start-a-blog-in-2018/?utm_source=Mighty+Network+Hosts&utm_campaign=f1292b500a-5StepsEmailtoInactiveHosts_080917&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a0d6be056c-f1292b500a-29020521

What is necessary to achieve

Flowers-on-my-porchWhat is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

Willam Henry Davis

 

I’ve been so busy working on so many tasks.  I’ve been fixing problems with my WordPress site, having to keep up with the course I’m taking, the Intentional Blog Course, and I’ve begun learning how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements on my computer.  And those are just a few of all the projects I’m working on.

What I love doing is this–writing.  This and painting fill my heart with joy, and I wish I did not have to undertake the work it takes to achieve some degree of success.  Trying to bolster my confidence, I came across this quote:

Any great achievement is preceded by many difficulties and many lessons; great achievements are not possible without them.

Brian Tracy

I’d also add what I’ve realized since I began this journey into marketing my writing and art. To my surprise, after I successfully conquer another challenge, I am more to myself than I thought of myself before.  With that much more confidence, I notice traits like perseverance, tenacity, and determination dominating my thoughts.

I can do this!, has become my mantra.

Overcoming difficulties, I feel prouder of myself, which makes it even easier to take the next step.  What also helps me stay the course is dreaming about the outcome.  Working toward something grandiose is easier than getting through a job for the paycheck.  A fulfilled life is more satisfying and enduring than having a lot of money with no passion.

Art is a form of supremely delicate awareness… meaning at-oneness, the state of being at one with the object.

D. H. Lawrence

When I sit down for another day of building another necessary skill to reach another goal, I remember that I chose to do this for the pleasure I will have in the completion of it.  That makes it easier to accept.  I find myself no longer allowing myself to whine and groan over what I’m needing to do.  I remain aware of the fact that this skill I’m working on is going to make my work easier in the long run.  Just like my painting and writing, when I become one with what I’m doing, the flow begins and I feel happy again.

As skills are just as important to writing and painting as talent and creativity, skills are necessary for moving forward in life.

 

 

How Appreciation Can Change Your World

madison and sam - 1

Since I’ve always been inquisitive, and because I’ve always wanted to know why I act as I do, I’ve come to realize that creativity (which I once associated only with the arts) and Life (which was another world, ruled by circumstances beyond our control) are One.  Whatever motivates a person in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that you can apply to any situation in life.

Hold on, please.  If this doesn’t make sense yet, it will in a little while. I am going to share an experience I had today to illustrate this concept.

Today, getting ready to write this blog post, first I read my horoscope.  I receive a daily intuitive horoscope from Daily Intuitive Horoscopes written by Ghazaleah Lowe. I’ve found her horoscopes to be insightful and pointedly true most of the time.  If I don’t have the clarity to understand what she’s said yet, I’ve been willing to admit that I might not  be ready to see that in myself at that particular time.  Here’s today’s horoscope for Gemini’s ( that’s me).

I wouldn’t overthink it if I were you, dear Gemini, in fact, the truth is that your thoughts are way off and they are nowhere near close to whatever you seem to think is happening. Best you take your attention off of these thoughts and focus on your own life. A situation in your life requires more love than you are giving it right now and so it’s best that you focus on bringing more love to this situation than giving your attention to the thoughts in your mind.

The situation I found myself in when I read this was trying to figure out what to write about in this blog post.  I was having a hard time deciding.  So when I read this, it rang a bell.  I’ve realized that in order to create anything that excites and thrills me, I do have to feel love.

And then the next thing that happened amazed me.

As I was setting up my laptop computer at my desk, I noticed a quote I had scribbled on a post-it note.

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”

Tony Robbins

I can do that, I thought.

The moment I felt appreciation, thinking about both of these serendipitous events–the horoscope and the quote–those moments opened a flood of love within me.  I was feeling enormous gratitude to Life for bringing me the ways to experience ease and effortlessness in writing a new blog post.  And appreciation that I didn’t have to battle with my mind commenting and judging what I’m writing.

I picked the painting I’ve posted up above, one I made fifteen years ago, to illustrate how appreciation can and does change your world.

I painted my son with his first daughter at that time because he was the father to his daughter my father never was to me.  Sometimes in life the appreciation we never felt before surfaces in a different, but as meaningful way as the way we hoped it would have.

Appreciation is the closest to love in our world.

So what does my story have in common with the concept that whatever motivates us in creating art is the the same kind of motivation that we can apply to any situation in life?

It’s often easier to let go when we are creating because we aren’t as fearful to lose control.  In life, to let go means we have to face our vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a word that implies being susceptible to being wounded or hurt by criticism or attack.

But when I opened or let go to feel appreciation for my son treating my granddaughter with the love I had wished from my father, it did change my world instantly.  Just as letting go to appreciate the serendipitous events in my life today opened me to clarity, knowing exactly what I wanted to write on this blog post.

 

How to Be a Child Again

Version 2

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

Picasso

Do you sometimes question whether you’re good enough, qualified, or worthy enough?

Are you sometimes at a loss of what to say, and do you struggle trying to have ideas come to you?

When we creatives grow up, we “think” that, in order to excel at whatever we love to do, we must designate ourselves as an artist. After all, when we are older everyone asks us what we do. However, labeling a name to what we do is fraught with problems.

The title, Artist, to us, connotes that we are now fully qualified to be equal or better than other artists in our field. We now have expectations of what being an artist implies to us. If we “fail” in our estimation to meet an expectation we have, we label ourselves a failure.

We “think” that in order to live up to our expectations, we have to be perfect.  Perfection is impossible, and actually keeps us from experimenting and growing as artists.  So how could we deal with the dilemmas we face as Artists?

We could go back to being a child again.  A child is not just open to learning, a child is consumed with curiosity.  A child can’t wait to experiment to see what each action they take will produce.  A child lives in the moment, and what they love to do each moment is play.

What would happen if, instead of judging ourselves by past successes, we move into this moment and allow our inner child to play?  What would happen is that we would be opening ourselves up to receiving ideas and inspiration from Source, from God, from our higher selves.  When we let go to receive, as opposed to some agenda our thinking mind has conjured up, we are surprised, thrilled and delighted with what comes to us.  We are now the artist we have always been.

In the middle of writing this blog, my daughter, Tracy, texted me a picture of some of her students playing.  I asked her if she would teach me how to be a kid again, and if she had some wise words to share with me.  This is her answer,

“Just be yourself.  No one else can do it any better than you.”

3 Ways to Let Go

floating flowers - 1Woman with Orchids

In order to create a visionary interpretation of an object, an artist or writer or dancer or other creative must dig deeper.  Our eyes only see what we think of as reality, so in order to really be creative, we need to go past our five senses to get in touch with our sixth sense, our intuitive power.  How do we do that?

1.  Get in touch with our feelings about the subject.  Our feelings come from a nonobjective place.  They describe how we feel about the object.  When we are open to “seeing” in this way, we bring vividly to mind what is significant about the object to us.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance.”

Aristotle

2.  Open our hearts to Love.  Love is one of the highest vibrations of the human spirit.  Love is consuming and allows us to let go of fear, meaning we receive total focus without any of the “should’s” or “cant’s” interfering.  We are free to easily and effortlessly receive ideas and inspiration.

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

Vincent Van Gogh

3.  Let Go for the Flow.  So, what is Flow?  It’s what you’re feeling when you are fully alive.  It’s when you’re involved with what you do and in harmony with the environment around you.  Flow happens when you are carried by a force outside of you.  Self-consciousness Disappears, and we become One with God.  You are only in the flow when the experience is the only reward, is the only outcome you’re focused on while you’re loving what you’re doing.

All artists know that those paintings that are created freely and effortlessly are the best – let it flow !

Dianne Middleton

For more information on how I used flow for a painting see:

https://dorettab.com/2016/12/01/flow/3 Ways to Let Go