Who Am I? Change is Easier With an Honest Answer.

 

Let’s suppose you want to change your life. You might want to change your job, your routine, or some bothersome habits, but you don’t know where to start. So you ask yourself, “Who am I?” “Who would I prefer to be?” “What do I really want to do?”

Change is frightening and the temptation to resist it is powerful. However, the rewards of change – the opportunity to learn new things, to rethink tired processes, and to improve the way we see ourselves – is worth the effort.

Change is a process. It takes effort on your part. And the fear of losing what you have depended on for your identity or the fear of failing can feel very intense.

Things do not change; we change.

Henry David Thoreau

We can only change our circumstances from the inside out. As Wayne Dyer says,

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

I was watching the movie, “Starry Night”, on Amazon recently. Although the movie is a fantasy of Vincent Van Gogh coming back to vindicate the wrongs done him in his life, toward the end of the movie, there are several true excerpts from letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo.

One of them shines a brilliant light on Van Gogh’s beliefs about himself and his art.  He says,

What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then—even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.”

When Van Gogh was alive, his work wasn’t appreciated. But that doesn’t mean his work didn’t have tremendous value.

To live mindfully, according to Thích Nhất Hạnh in his book, The Art of Power, ”the most important thing is to have confidence in your work, to make sure that your work embodies your best in terms of understanding and compassion.”

Van Gogh’s art contains insight, understanding, and compassion, all the attributes of a masterpiece. Van Gogh tells Theo in the letter he sent to him that he wants to make sure that his work embodies all the beauty that he is not personally thought to be.

So, what does this story have anything to do with why your sense of self is important?

Despite the suffering of his soul, unable to attain success through his work, Van Gogh was able to let go while painting to find a deep well of satisfaction and a sense of merit. He couldn’t have painted the beauty in his work without having let go of his sense of self. When he painted he was able to let go and “get in the flow” of painting. 

Then why was only one of his paintings sold during his lifetime?

John Kehoe, pioneer in the field of Mind Power, says your subconscious mind is a second, hidden mind that exists within you. It’s a reflection of what you believe you deserve. The subconscious acts upon the predominating thoughts that reside within your conscious mind.

You know more about your conscious mind. It’s the mind that exists to take care of and protect us. It’s our thinking mind. But the thoughts flitting through our mind can be, and often are, full of fear.

Fear generates judgments, blame and, ultimately, beliefs based on fears we’ve harbored for many years. Experts say these fears are mostly generated from birth to age seven. Perhaps these beliefs served us well when we were younger, but they have now become the negativity that is preventing us from all we want in our lives.

The subconscious attracts circumstances and situations that match the images in your mind. When we pay attention to the concepts conjured by our past negative thoughts the way Van Gogh did with his evaluation of his worthiness, the subconscious delivers what it believes to be the truth, but not what we really want.

By believing himself to be the “lowest of the low”, Van Gogh was telling his subconscious that he wasn’t worthy. Since the subconscious delivers us a match to our predominating thoughts, attracting success would have been hard for him, if not impossible.

When we’re closing ourselves off from the Universe’s abundance and unlimitedness, we can only receive that which we believe we deserve.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.

Willie Nelson

This brings us back to the beginning of this blog. When we know that we’re the reason we’re not receiving what we want, that it isn’t fate or anything else outside of us, we can begin the process of discovering the thoughts, fears, and beliefs that prevent us from receiving what we want.

You may be able to do this for yourself. Many have. But if you’re like me, you’ll need motivation. Here are some inspirational quotes you might need to get over even your hardest obstacles.

  • “Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.” — Unknown
  • “Don’t make a change too complicated, just begin.” — Unknown
  • “Small changes eventually add up to huge results.” — Unknown
  • “Action is the key to all success.” — Pablo Picasso
  • “Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one.” — Unknown
  • “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

I’m in the process of changing who I am for the umpteenth time. It doesn’t get easier-there seem to be new blocks every time I strive to have more for my life – but it does get more rewarding each time I change. That’s because I’ve found that digging deeper and admitting the truth goes a long way to manifest all that I want to be and have.

For more on “Who Am I?”, go to this link, https://dorettab.com/answering-big-questions-life/

 

Why we often create the same theme multiple times?

I came across the painting above going through 300 slides that were recently converted to digital.  It’s one of many paintings I did in the past depicting lovers in a jungle scene.  Since I’ve been noticing that same themes  crop up in my artwork a lot, I asked myself:

Why have I felt compelled to examine this particular subject over and over again?

This quote may elucidate this conundrum:

If there were only one truth, you couldn’t paint a hundred canvases on the same theme.

Pablo Picasso

Many writers and painters have often used the same theme to create their art. John le Carre wrote spy fiction.  J.M.W. Turner, considered the founder of English watercolour painting, was famous for his landscape paintings with their unconventional emphasis on light, colour and atmospheric effects.

And then, there’s this that further clarifies why I felt drawn to paint this subject.

I do not think writers ought ever to sit down and think they must write about some cause, or theme, or something. If they write about their own experiences, something true is going to emerge.

Doris Lessing

I know it’s getting into muddy waters discussing “alternate” truths.  It’s been a hot topic since Kellyanne Conway spoke those words in defense of our president.  But without questioning what a truth is, how can we know how our truths affect us?

The one thing I know for sure is that knowing a truth doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same truth for someone else.  We all carry a set of beliefs that we hold as the truth. This doesn’t make my belief any more true than what’s true for others. 

Our truths may be like other people’s truths, but often they are not.  Contrasting beliefs can often causes division and sometimes conflict, especially when some people want to force their beliefs on other people.

My own beliefs have changed over time.  Big changes have caused new, different circumstances in my life, and with those new circumstances I felt impelled to reevaluate what is the truth for me in the present.

The Impressionists faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France, but through the impressionist’s independent exhibitions and their well-heeled admirers, they were brought to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.  This was a result of the changing belief and acceptance of impressionism as art.

So it stands to reason that there’s no one truth.

Even though I was painting the same theme many times, the paintings included different subject matter.  Some were the jungle scene with a single person, some included a couple, some depicted dancers. 

The answers to my question began with remembering the time I first saw a jungle scene in a painting.  It was a painting by Rousseau of a woman next to a lion in a jungle.  The painting impacted my 12 year old self because I’d been struggling with the truth that women didn’t count for much in the fifties.  My interpretation of having the lady next to lion, both peaceful,  meant that a woman could be as strong as a lion–a colossal awareness for my disappointed and angry self at that time. 

As I look at my different jungle themed paintings now, I realize that I have approached each successive painting with a new viewpoint of the subject—updating the truth.  No longer needing the lion to remind me of my strength, I am safe in a jungle alone.  Lovers and dancers are depicted enjoying the beauty and expansiveness of the setting.  I am aware now that it was that jungle scene which set me free to be my highest, true self and now I’m free to be there in any guise I choose.  

The truth does emerge when we paint our experiences.