How Self-Awareness Makes What We Do Fun

This painting, entitled The Winding River, reminds me of the path I’m on now.  As I took all the steps I had to in order to arrive at my goal, I came to more self-awareness and more sure of what I really want.  All the sudden epiphanies I’m having now are providing new ideas with more choices to make.  So, I’m finding more and more that the way to my destination hasn’t and will never be a straight one.

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.”

― Oprah Winfrey

The definition of self-awareness is: knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character.  I learned a lot about myself when I wrote a memoir.  As I wrote and went deeper into the reasons I had acted the way I did during some past experiences, I discovered strengths and weaknesses, vulnerabilities and passions, and in some cases, idiosyncrasies.

From these awarenesses I discovered that sometimes I rely on other people’s judgments of how best to achieve my goal, when it’s obvious that the person’s approach won’t benefit what I want to express.  Sometimes I see that what I’ve accomplished contradicts what I’ve just learned about myself.  Always though, clarity makes it obvious what I’m really striving for.

“Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.”

― Anthony de Mello

I’ve always known there’s more to learn.  I remember when I received my B.A. degree in English and Art, thinking, This degree just shows me how little I know.  However, when not actually learning in a classroom setting, or some online course, or reading a book, living your life doing the same things each day, we tend to keep things we know about ourselves hidden.  We may not have considered them because our lives have become structured.  There may be things we are ashamed about; or things that we really don’t think important or things simply best forgotten.  It’s easier and safer to go with the status quo.

When I committed to writing a memoir, I knew I’d have to be more honest with myself than I ever had.  But I was ready.  My life was a mess.  I wasn’t happy in my job.  I wasn’t making enough money to pay all my bills, and then my body broke down so that I had to quit my job.  Bodies are like that.  They close down when we wallow in stress and inaction.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

― C.G. Jung

Now that I’m aware of how much influence our unconscious choices have in key areas of our lives, how much they influence, sabotage and sometimes derail our desires, I always check in to make sure that the decisions I make are coming from my heart.  If it feels right, despite everyone else’s opinions, it’s the right choice for me.

So far, for me, this has proven true.  Yes, it’s harder.  Yes, sometimes you have to deal with other people’s dissatisfaction and discomfort, but in the end, it’s you who has to be happy doing what you love.

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

Helen Keller

The gift of self-awareness is that it steers us in the direction of certainty and faith.  Our journey becomes more enjoyable, even when confronted with difficulties.  We’re no longer all over the place, questioning ourselves and our decisions.  We’re full of conviction, making the journey easier and more fun.

For more about self-awareness, go to https://wp.me/p9td7w-uA.

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 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.”

Offering

Version 2

I’ve come to a place in my writing where I’m approaching “changing hats”, taking my writer hat off and putting my artist one on.   Even though I was in the middle of writing the book I’ve written, focusing on ideas for my story, images of possible ideas for paintings never stopped floating through my mind.  It’s as if my being has become accustomed to them being a part of me.

However, as I step into being the artist, now that I’m so full of wonderful possible images I can begin to paint, I find myself still needing help.  I thought that, since I had become accustomed to trusting and allowing my guidance system to lead me with my writing, the transition would be easy.  But the images that have occupied my imagination are diametrically opposed to the type of painting from the past.  The images are not sharply delineated, more like a feeling.  I’m so used to having a photograph to copy, I don’t know how to begin to paint something suggestive.

The painting posted above was done several years ago when I was up against a similar problem, that of how to get started with an idea.  Beginning a project is always the hardest part for me.  That is, until I let go.  I wanted to paint a vision, something not tangible enough to know where to get started.  Like my writing, I must’ve trusted and allowed my guidance system to lead me.  In this painting the idea I had was to offer something in exchange for my freedom from something that was keeping me in bondage to past generations.

Don’t laugh.  What is on that plate, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is a chicken breast.  How apropos!, I think now.  If I had brought rubies or diamonds for an offering, I would have worried that I’d be foolishly out of line for what I wanted to accomplish. The offering of a chicken breast is full of nourishment and sustenance, what one needs to get through a problem by letting go.  Though I’m feeling hesitation and uncertainty now, there’s one thing I can count on that makes all the difference.  If in the past I was able to pull off something without knowing how, I can do that again.  I’m not alone in this.  I can find answers.

 

 

 

Truth

floating flowers - 1

I’ve been a dreamer all my life.  I remember sitting out on our screened-in porch at the back of my house when I was child playing with paper dolls.  (Yes, I’m that old).  I loved to envision how my life would look when I was older as my dolls played out each dreamy episode.  I would take out my sketchbook and pencil and draw something, a tree, the bust of a woman in our living room, or a flower and let my imagination run to what it would feel like to be that.  In my classes at school, bored, I’d look out a window, and if there wasn’t one close by, focus on any inanimate object and stare at it long enough to see what emerged that I could recognize, what it became under my intense scrutiny.

The painting above reminds me of those moments.  This woman, languishing on a carpet, dreamily feeling surrounded by orchids, is conjuring up all that she is feeling lovingly surrounded by.

As a result of always wanting to take myself away from the mundane or something uncomfortable with my imagination, I learned to always look for something dreamy, something beautiful, anything else that would make me feel good.

I’m writing a memoir, and that entails being more honest than I’ve allowed myself to be in the past, and I’m noticing how I’m describing times in my life where I felt shame, remorse, betrayal, and I speak about it, glossing over it, to only focus on what good came from it.  Bottom Line, I’m having to admit more truth to myself than I ever have.

Yesterday one such experience came up while I was writing.  I’d written some days ago, describing a time when I was going through a major challenge and I’d glossed over that incident as if everything that was happening was under control.  I’d written about the event as if it didn’t affect me, and I saw through my deception.

Okay.  Now that I know this is not true, what is?  I stared at the paragraph without a clue what the truth is.  I’d been coloring over my feelings so long, I wasn’t sure what my feelings really were.  As I sat there, focusing on the written words I put there before, suddenly, inspiration struck.  I quickly wrote that truth, and, then, more truths came to help me.

What I took away from this encounter is that our imaginations work for truth as well as for escape.  By not resisting, not letting myself get anxious, not putting myself down for not being able to be truthful, not allowing fear to stop me from simply sitting there, waiting, just like I used to do as a child, for something to emerge that I would recognize as the truth, it did.

 

Tell Me What Love Is

burning-bush-1

The Burning Bush, the painting above, is a watercolor painting I did some time ago.  I chose it to share today along with the first two paragraphs from the book I’m writing, Tell Me What Love Is, because this painting is the closest to what I felt when I finally admitted to myself that the unhappiness I was feeling was really a yearning to recover the sense of self  I lost while married to a man I became unable to stand up to because of fear.

My memoir is about how I finally take the steps to recover what I lost, the strength and courage to “face the dragon”, and along the way, to use all the challenges and tests which come my way after that to look within.  It’s a story of how I finally am able to know that the only enemy, the only obstacle to my happiness is coming from myself.

For anyone wanting to delve into your minds, to see more about how we sabotage and hurt ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs and judgements, this book will shed the light on all that obstructs us from what we all want, love, joy, happiness, peace and gratitude.

So, here’s a quote from the first chapter of my book:

I’m feeling like a freight train out of control, like I’m heading down this steep hill loaded with all that excess baggage I’ve been carrying for at least five years, and then at blue streak speed, being forced to a halting stop. A painful stop. Bawling uncontrollably, sitting on top of the suitcases I just packed to leave him, the rage that left me headstrong and so sure of myself suddenly reverses directions, and now I’m feeling insecure, humiliated, and full of shame. I’ve become defeated.

What is wrong with me?, I wonder. Why can’t I stand up to someone who undermines my every desire? Where is the courage I always took for granted? How have I become this—a weak casualty of a domineering husband?

 

  

New Beginnings

DSC00109

I chose this painting to go along with sharing a new beginning that’s occurring in my writing right now.  First, the painting.  I painted Bosque del Apache right after a divorce and a move to a new apartment.  Whenever I go through major changes in my life, I find myself wanting to experience new beginnings.  This painting is a result of having bought two new gessoes, one gold, the other red oxide. The cranes are coming to nestle for the night at this location they come to every year during their migration.  I’d painted with metallic paints before, but just as decorative touches.  In this painting, the gold gesso is the predominant color.  It’s a departure from how I’ve always painted, and the first of several I experimented the new gessoes with, therefore it is a new beginning.

Now to the writing.  As I’ve written on my blog, I’m in the midst of writing a memoir.  I was almost finished when several serendipitous happenings caught my attention.  First a friend of mine texted a website for authors to me, sharing that she’d read not to write in a passive voice.  I then went on Amazon to look for a new book to read, and, somehow, I was directed on my computer to a full screen view of a new Oprah selection.  The book is a memoir and is titled “Love Warrior.”  I figured if that book had appeared in such a strange and powerful way to me, I better read it.  I loved the writing in this book so much, I felt jealous.

Then I pulled up my book on my computer to check for places where I’d used a passive voice.  I found some examples, but what blew me away is that for the first time, I saw that I’d been writing my book in the past tense, while the book I felt jealous of is written in the present.  Aha! I say to myself.

Now I’m starting my book over, tackling a new beginning.  I’m finding myself writing more authentically, becoming more honest, and getting new ideas of what to include to say what I want more powerfully.  The present tense is forcing me to “tell it like it is”.  I’m having fun, and the work feels more like play.  I’ve found my voice.

I’ll share some of the book later.  In the meantime I’d really appreciate any comments and I would love to answer any questions you might have.  It would really help me to know what interests you most.

Until later, thank you for visiting my blog,

Love, Doretta