When we let ourselves follow the conventional trend and believe we are randomly subjected to outer circumstances, we tend to focus on, talk about and live from these circumstances.
We have a story to tell and it is usually a story where events are out of our reach for the most part and where we feel dis-empowered, subject to either good or bad luck, where all we can do is to enjoy, endure, cope or revolt.
In the story Life is happening to us.
We all have a story to tell.
That story is the narrative we make from the perspective we choose (or were trained) to have.
If we look at a group of people having a communal experience (in times of disasters or extraordinary events) we can observe a vast disparity of reactions, and ways to deal with circumstances that come directly from the diversity of perspectives and stories each person holds true.
We can say that we live by the story we tell ourselves.
More often than not, we also share that story and reinforce its power, its “realness” by using it over and over to explain why we are where we are in our life at any given moment.
Further more, generally speaking, most conversations are mostly about what we do not enjoy. What ails us. What is of concern.
Most of the stories we tell express our causes for discontent.
The story is our “because”.
I did not do what I loved because…
I lost my temper because…
I am unhappy because…
Unfortunately every time we do that we set ourselves up for more of what we are talking about.
We keep ourselves in the vibration of what HAS happened and lay the blueprint for the same.
We live our life turned TOWARD THE PAST, instead of leaning toward what we want, what we enjoy, what we aspire to, what we want ahead…
The focus point is not where it should be for our benefit.
The story we live by is stronger than our desires.
It is stronger than our confidence.
Stronger than our self-love.
And as it unfolds, the past we talk about becomes the mold for our future.
From a metaphysical stand point, the key understanding is this: what we keep on talking about believing that we only narrate what’s past, is actually the first degree of existence of what will be coming…
In a nut shell when we tell our story we shape our future.
If we let go of that model for a moment and adventurously wander into the infinite possibilities of quantum living, we get back behind our wheel and harness the power of choice and deliberate living.
The choice to tell a new story is self-mastery at work. We can choose at any time any day, to not talk about the frustrations of our past (by the way, 10 minutes ago IS the past) and start talking (and thinking) about what we enjoy presently, what is source of pleasure, what is dear to our heart, and what we foresee that would be an upgrade or a source of good.
We can actually focus on what we want to get done, when and how, on what we can see that would work, what we can feel is profitable, what we are ready to stretch for, what we love and what makes us feel wonderful.
It is indeed a choice.
We are so trained to think otherwise that we tend to cling to our old behaviors and old stories even when we are aware of this fact.
On and on, the stories go.
Who was the bad guy, why we were the victims and why we need a hero… The model is always the same, with so many variations in details…
Freedom is truly at arm reach…
Just a thought away.
Just a story away.
Let’s talk about what we want to see.
Let’s think about what we love.
Let’s focus on HEALTH and healthy behaviors, instead of fighting disease.
Let’s talk about love instead of dislikes.
Let’s invent solutions instead of broadcasting problems.
Let’s smile at the idea that we are the co-creators and powerful engineers of our future, by the way we feel in our present.
Let’s feel like a million bucks NOW, and see what unfolds.
To your co-creation!
The end of 2016 for all people living by this calendar, represents the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.
Of course Life keeps on doing what Life does… regardless of calendars.
But symbolic markers are good opportunities to take stock, to reflect and to ponder.
Who have we been and how did we live this life of ours throughout this cycle… what felt significant and what felt great.
What pushed our buttons and what we let go of…
As we do our reviewing, we tend to classify events and moments as good or bad, as successes or failures, as threats or victories… and we lose sight of what essentially has been ours each day: 24 hours of wondrous Life.
Taken for granted.
Crammed full with mundane obligations, dulled with habits or spoiled with fears and moods.
I choose to receive each of these days of my life as a gift.
And sometimes, you know, I am not thrilled about the packaging.
Sometimes circumstances rock my world. Sometimes I am tempted to be critical of what I receive.
Sometimes I don’t see the gift, really.
But I keep reminding myself: this is my gift from Life.
And as I do, I feel my heart swell with unmitigated grateful receiving.
Everything that has shaped my life so far, everything that I sometimes regretted, blamed, feared, or raged about… it brought me to being alive today, right here, right now.
What keeps the galaxies turning and makes each snow flake unique is also keeping my heart beating and my hair growing and my neurons firing… I am part of the cosmos. Life is breathing me.
What I don’t fully understand or appreciate is still part of my curriculum and as such, part of my becoming, part of my experience as pure consciousness embodied in a human form.
And as such, it is a true privilege.
When I choose consciously to receive everything in my life as the sacred gift that it is, I am given new doors, new opportunities, new understandings and new experiences, and I become greater in the process.
As I become greater and feel grateful for all of it, Life responds with yet more greatness.
Really all it takes is to stop fighting, stop trying to out-think what makes planets, butterflies and stem cells and makes them so well… and surrender in wonder, awe and reverence to it.
All it takes is to look at the gift and be grateful, and look for clues, look for ease, listen to the soft whisper of grace, of soul driven desire to silence the loud voices of doubt, worry and insecurity.
This day is a gift.
This year was a gift.
The year to come, the breath to come are a gift.
When we live our life every day from desire, from wonderment, from willingness to flow with it, miracles do happen, all the time.
One day we’ll leave this state of being humanly embodied and discover what’s next, but as long as my blood circulates in my veins, as long as my breath comes in and out, as long as I am given to be here, I want to be so grateful for and so trustful in the Life force in me that I don’t get in its way.
I know by past experiences that when I am in that state of being, in that flow of thinking, in that way of feeling, Life gives me exactly what I need and more.
Take a moment dear ones, let go of the pesky random thoughts of criticism, fear and regret… 2016 has been a fabulous gift and so will be 2017, if we let it.
Blessings and light.
Commissioned trompe l’oeil on a client’s entry floor
What to do if you are an artist or a free-lance professional in any case, and a potential client comes to you asking for an odd job? Something related to what you do generally, but not quite in your usual range,
not in your comfort zone ?
I had this happen about a year ago when a very nice couple came by my Blissful Gallery and asked me if I would consider painting a spread of life size leaves… on their entry floor…!?
I had some stenciled Gingko leaves on the floor in the back room at the gallery, so I could see what prompted the question, but as I asked what the lady had in mind, and it appeared that she wanted something a lot more realistic and elaborate.
What to do? Of course this was a far cry from my easel work. Further more, it was going to require another kind of medium (acrylics) and another set up, another technique… in short, was I wanting to take up the task?
I first visited their home and looked at the floor I would be working on.
I thought that it could be very charming, and I liked the idea, so I said “Yes” and gave them an estimate of my time and price… which they accepted readily. We fixed a date and I showed up on a beautiful sunny morning in October , with all my brushes, paints, cut up pics of real size leaves
and basically a ton of stuff to work with… water jar, paints, palette, rags, brushes, varnish…
I had spent time at home printing photos of oak leaves, maple leaves, in various colors and sizes and cut them up to use them as a mock up with my client. We spent some time together, spreading the paper leaves on the beautiful wood floor right in the entryway and moved them around until they were “just so”.
Then I went to work. Outlining the shapes, preparing each surface, mixing colors…
Preparing and shaping…
I worked all day.
It was looking fantastic when I left at the end of the day… but I was far from finished.
That’s where the rubber hit the road: estimating an odd job in time and cost is not that easy, nor often accurate.
I had planned to get done in one day what actually took me TWO entire days of non-stop work…!
The result was indeed worth every minute:
My clients were so happy with the result, as it went beyond their expectations, they readily revised our initial agreement and agreed to pay for what I should have quoted the work in the first place.
As embarrassing as it was for me to have been so far off in my estimate, they were there the whole time and could see the work progress, so they were very understanding.
Still, there was something to take home with me: when writing an estimate for an odd commissioned work, it is better to OVER estimate it, and let your clients know that since it is after all, an odd job, you might be off mark somewhat.
Then if it goes faster than you expected, you can always surprise them with a lower cost at the end.
That would be better than being far underestimating…
In any case, should we accept odd jobs, taking us out of our comfort zone and having us stretch our techniques, explore new elements?
Definitely yes, with three added conditions:
1/ the job is clearly defined: the client knows what they want and communicate with clarity
2/ the work is exciting, interesting, or fun and it feels good to go for it;
3/ there is a primary sense of trust, of confidence and respect, right off, with the client.
Will I take more odd commissioned work? Of course. Because it is really good to stretch out of one’s comfort zone.
Will I refuse some? Yes. Because some requests are just too vague, or too far fetched, or boring…
Basically the deal breaker or maker is a gut feeling, which is for me the most important part of ANY job.
I love what I do…
It has been said that peace of mind is to be sought more than gold itself for it is an unsurpassable riches.
But being deliberately serene, consistently, in the face of most circumstances, is not part of our culture.
In fact, it is considered normal to react and to be very affected by circumstances, on a regular basis. It is accepted that we may stay stuck in a rut if the event was “bad” enough.
It is “human” after all.
And one doesn’t want to become detached and cold now, does one?
Here I’ll ask : when did indulging in overwhelm ever help us?
Most accidents, suicides, crimes and outrageous behaviors are committed in a state of overwhelm. Loosing one’s control, getting upset, reacting, being depressed, loosing hope… all these mental states and their accompanying physical feelings are usually making things worse at all levels for us and others.
In fact, the more we let our emotions run amok, the more powerless we feel, the narrower becomes our vision and the worse results we get, which feeds the aggravating loop of coping and surviving instead of living from a creative standpoint.
It has been studied that fear and worry, anger, resentment, shame, all negative emotions, when indulged regularly for an extended amount of time, have a noxious effect on our very cells and turn on genes that ultimately bring on disease. They also create a chemical dependence in the body for more of the same! As a result, toxic thoughts become chronic, felt as “natural”, part of one’s comfort zone.
Then what can we do to break the loop…?
I dare say: we need to practice inner peace and make it a priority.
Equanimity and peace of mind can be developed exactly like any other skill, by repetition.
It requires awareness and willingness to be at the helm of our mind. It takes will and desire. It takes doggedness and persistence.
We step in our power when we practice serenity and train ourselves to respond, instead of reacting.
When I know what I feel and how I want to feel, I can redirect my thoughts, help my body handle what emotional upheaval is going on, and choose to stay poised in a very lucid manner.
From a physiological standpoint, peace of mind translates in an organized and harmonious brain activity which optimizes all our vital functions and a greater state of consciousness.
Peace of mind is healing, at a personal and at a global level.
Keeping a flow of positive, serene, optimistic thoughts and a joyful curious attitude, is a powerful support for health and a source of more positive experiences in the outer world.
It opens doors, brings unexpected solutions and new insights, it defuses resistance and reconnects us to the source of Life itself.
Above all, it really gives us access to profound happiness.
The kind of bliss that comes from within… and brings new outer circumstances accordingly.
How can we practice inner peace ?
From my personal experience it takes a sequence of steps that goes more or less like this:
1/ an ardent desire for a greater life in general, or a particular healing in one area
2/ the understanding that our emotional state and the thoughts behind it are pivotal for that healing
3/ commitment to do what it takes to harmonize our inner world and to focus on harmony itself
4/ taking time to sit or lay quietly in gratitude for all that is good, at least twice a day for several minutes, in meditation or in contemplation, usually at wake up and before sleep. Minding our Breath.
5/ growing awareness of what we feel and how we can always reach for highest ground throughout the day. EVERY day. (Using support as needed: mentor, books, audios, workshops, groups, yoga, etc…)
6/ celebrating small achievements and one’s life in general with unlimited appreciation
The wonderful part is what we become in the process and the realization of how the way we feel affects the world…
James Allen says it best:
“Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this: in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly on the helm of thought.”
May the season be propitious to your practice and to your fulfillment…
May you feel at peace.
A lot has been said about quantum leaps and Gosh! when they do happen, they are quite miraculous… we love them.
Meanwhile in a much quieter way, there is the life transforming effect of shifting.
Change can be daunting, even when we wish and long for it.
We are paradoxical beings and it is not unusual to want one thing and be reluctant to take the steps toward it… Also a successful positive change may feel so foreign, so uncomfortable, that we shrink back to the old pattern, the old thought, the old habit… despite our desire for growth.
I get frustrated when that happens and I’m sure you do too…
But shifting is another story.
Shifting doesn’t feel like tons of work, doesn’t put our brain in defensive mode nor our body in shock. We can integrate it in our daily life, we can do so quite easily, and with very little effort; it doesn’t create upheaval, doesn’t clash with our environment and it definitely does bring amazing results.
Quantum shifts get us to a completely new reality, smoothly and efficiently.
Quantum shifts have the huge advantage to install a new paradigm gently, powerfully but rarely triggering any resistance.
Sounds sneaky huh ? Indeed. And for good reasons.
We have an inner thermostat, the “comfort zone” (which has nothing to do with true comfort) and if one wants to bypass it, one has to lure one’s system in believing all is stable and safe. Shifting feels safe.
Shifting feels safe because it IS safe.
Shifting is such a small move, that one can always revert if one wants to… But here is the kicker: shifting works so well that one doesn’t want to revert.
One small shift after another, the next thing you know you are on a completely new trajectory with new results to boot!
Shifting consists in slightly deviating from the usual, consistently.
For example, for fitness, shifting could be to walk to the store for small stuff, instead of driving there; to stretch and stand on my toes every time I am on the phone… do some stationary bike while watching a movie… Take a sip of water every time I get up…
On another hand, I might want to better my relationship with a specific person. Instead of going for scary complete new behavior, I can use body language and a few words here and there.
Listen more. Criticize less.
Offer more appreciation, more openness… even if only in my mind!
That’s a quantum shift. Small change, big effect.
Eating habits to modify? Instead of radically change regimen in 2 days, we can simply decide to not buy any sweets this time around at the store… (If we don’t buy it chances are we won’t eat it). And to feel extra good, stock up on healthy nuts or fresh fruit. No soda, and get Perrier instead. And do that again next time… Invent a fun calorie free drink to order when going out and have it instead of the usual.
Pop corn at the movies (full of ugly transfats) ? Let’s go with your own organic salty one in our purse… No biggie… but huge improvement for our body!
The fun resides in getting creative… we literally play a game with our brain.
And the more we shift the more we like it.
Next thing you know, your reality has changed… and your self esteem is soaring!
Shifting our thought patterns is best of all.
Our thought pattern is what really influences everything in our life, but it is also the most difficult thing to change durably. Shifting is definitely a valuable tool in that regard and permits us to open up to new beliefs painlessly, which in return, brings in a new reality.
We can steep ourselves in transformative materials, create a master mind group or post reminders to ourselves throughout our home and affirm new constructive views…
Still what is best is to work with someone trained to engage in deep diving and revealing conversations where shifts happen naturally, and change occurs by means of new perspectives.
I love big changes and big make overs; I do. And for any ordinary day, I love small shifts.
See how it feels to you, try it on for size… There is nothing to lose in the process.
To your own small shifts… Make it fun !
XOXO from Maui
Many years ago I chose to put my skills as a painter into delivering peaceful imagery to the world.
I did not start that way.
In my early years I would paint and draw randomly, in as many directions as my pencil would take me. I guess the simple act of drawing was enough, in itself.
Most of the time, nature scenes were my favorites already, but I did not have an INTENTION, beyond making pretty images and enjoy myself doing it.
Years passed and in 2000 I relocated in California, due to a significant other at the time and I kept on painting even more.
A few years into my showing and selling small watercolors in local venues, something got my attention repeatedly: people were reacting to my work in words and in body language, with a very consistent feedback: it made them feel good, it was soothing and uplifting to them and it brought them joy.
Followed some very significant realizations on my part… (as in inner integration, not only an intellectual understanding).
Art in general is very powerful and can be a tool to heal the world.
My work touched people in a positive way.
It gave me incredible joy to understand that I could relieve stress, give some hope, or a swift boost of happiness with colors and scenes and even increase that effect by adding deliberate intention to each painting.
Our world is inundated with bad news, violent visuals and warnings, all well engineered to put in overdrive our amygdala (a part of our brain designed to be on the look out for danger) and produce a disabling amount of stress. Making the choice to use the power of positive visuals was an attempt to give my clients a virtual place to disengage and recoup.
To help people get back in touch with primal bliss and timeless happiness with which we come to this world.
This was definitely a shift, a re-framing of my work as a painter in a larger context.
A meta image became evident: the effect, the impact of any painting is a lot bigger than the painting itself, or its subject.. (duh!).
Peaceful paintings were my medium for a wider purpose.
Like any other uplifting practice or soothing medium, would it be meditative music, zen gardens, mandalas, meditations, yoga or contemplating sunsets, positive imagery is a support for wellness.
More and more studies on the subject show that we are extremely influenced by our visual environment and that any time we spend in a relaxed mental state is supporting our good health and ability to thrive emotionally… what a beautiful tool I have access to!
On my side of things, the journey into color, the coalescing of a desire into tangible form, there is not only intention, but delight in the process. Painting for me is a form of meditation, a place where my spirit can play, unbound and peaceful… and I believe that is powerfully healing as well, for me.
Of course Art has been written about for centuries, the writing never completely grasping the experience itself… and I still prefer making Art than talking about it to tell you the truth.
Still, there is a line I love in the beautiful book “Callings” by Gregg Levoy that I will share with you here: “When we become immersed in any creative activity we bring on ourselves a sense of rapt attention, of rapture, of departure from ego, from time and place. We see into the heart of things and get a glimpse of something that was previously hidden. In this way, the creative act is a mystical experience.”
May you have peace in your heart and joy in your soul…
What do Feng Sui and creative flow have in common will you ask ?
They are both about energy flow. (As is everything anyway).
I have been an independent artist for many years. My quality of life literally depends on my creative flow.
So it’s something I watch, nurture and surrender to, on a daily basis.
In Feng Shui, the flow of the Qi is best when meandering… Not rushing, not stagnating.
Meandering. Taking its sweet time, switch backs and curves, leisurely pace and all…
Accordingly to Elliot Jay Tanzer, “Meandering qi is nourishing and easy to accumulate…./…Good qi enables us to maintain concentration, productivity, and enthusiasm…”
What if as an Artist, I applied this several thousands years old principle to my creative process ?
I seem to have been doing that instinctively at times and it has been easy to be, easy to navigate, easy to enjoy.
When I am “meandering” I don’t get burnt out, I don’t get dry, I don’t scramble for the next big thing, I don’t rush into execution… I just paint, draw, reflect, look at the world and everything falls in place as it ought to.
Until now, and despite my long time interest for Feng Sui, I had not actually seen clearly the analogy between ideal Qi flow or Sheng Qi, and my favorite way to work…
Awareness will now permit me to remind myself when I need it, that meandering is life giving and up lifting.
If it’s true for the Qi (Qi being the “isness” in everything) it is true for my creative juice.It feels right at home.
Can you tell I was meandering when I painted these ? Nothing forced, nothing rushed…
To your own meandering…!
May you meander blissfully to your destination… making the journey a succession of delightful experiences.
*Read more about Feng Shui by Elliot Jay Tanzer: http://abodetao.com/feng-shui-guidelines-to-energy-flow-analysis-what-is-qi-and-how-qi-flows/
The first tool and forever main, in the process of transforming one’s life, is Awareness.
Awareness is literally the compass by which one keeps adjusting the trajectory of one’s every step.
It gives us specific, reliable knowledge of our current situation and surroundings, of our shifts of emotion and generally of the relationship moment by moment between without and within.
All comes to my consciousness as clearly as I choose to be aware of it.
Awareness entails a state of intense curiosity for what is and an avid openness to understanding and refining our perception of it.
It is about growing our antennae, our feelers, so to speak, endlessly monitoring simultaneously our inner state, our thoughts, and our outer circumstances.
By requirement non-judgemental, it can be developed and fine tuned into the most useful tool of guidance toward what ever goal we seek to achieve.
Having a strong desire or definite goal and not using our awareness to reach it, is like walking blindly and at random through uncharted territories, hoping to find exactly what we want.
Awareness is our great ally in becoming who we can become in our projected vision of a better life.
That means we will use our awareness to observe what is now, and also project it to imagine vividly how it will feel to be free, famous, healthy, wealthy, philanthropic, happily married…/… feel the blank.
We want to grow aware of what behavior, thoughts, actions and attitudes that dream of ours encompasses.
Applied awareness permits us to become who we have to be in our dreamed circumstances, to match the quality of presence and the mental model that belong to the kind of life we long for.
As for any other tool or skill, it is a matter of practice and endless repetition that we can develop our awareness; we do that simply by taking notice.
This particular skill of noticing can be developed and widely expanded over time, for our greatest benefit.
In a very gentle way, because we are all looking for something, if we replace being distracted and critical with being present and aware, we are well on our way on our journey into transformation.
In joy and gratitude
By learning new concepts and new tools we acquire knowledge.
That means we are able to talk about the matter.
We can answer questions.
We could even teach basic principles.
Yes. That is knowing.
After years of learning about the law of attraction, metaphysical principles, energy shifts, vibrational energy and other tools for manifesting one might wonder:
“How comes I don’t have the results I want, by now?”
And I know many people in that case.
Actually, I for one, find myself in and out of the “zone” regularly!
Things flow miraculously and then all a sudden grind to a halt.
And I get stuck.
This is where I have to remind myself: there is knowing… and there is DOING.
Doing in this case is practicing.
Practicing the tools of manifestation.
Not every now and then.
Not when I have some leisure time.
Not when I feel like it.
~Clearly stating my desire
~Envisioning the results I want.
~Embodying the person I am in the results context
~Getting quiet and asking for guidance
~Watching and adjusting my vibration through the day
~Keeping unwavering faith about positive outcome
~Gratitude giving for what is already here
~Giving away (tithing, charity, etc…)
~Quieting doubts and fears
~Treating myself with utter care and loving regard
~Looking for the good always
~Letting go of judgement and blame
~Taking action steps no matter how small
~Staying connected to the whole and to Spirit
~Loving the journey
In my case, more particularly making time for envisioning (similar to day dreaming, with a purpose) and letting go of judgement, along with quiet connection to Spirit.
We all have strong skills and weaker ones.
Some people have a hard time envisioning vividly what the y want.
Some people are ridden with fear.
Others get wrapped up in circumstances…
We all get distracted.
Meanwhile we are sure that we “know”…and that it “SHOULD” be working!
But if it doesn’t work, we have to adjust, because the Universe is never wrong.
Our results are unfailingly reflecting where we are on the path.
And what we know about push ups doesn’t give us muscle mass.
Knowing does nothing for us as long as we don’t apply in action, thought and feeling.
If we want new results, knowing is not enough.
Doing different, feeling different, BEING different will bring different results.
We manifest accordingly to where we are on the journey.
SO don’t despair if your results are not there yet.
Go back to what you do know, and apply it.
Loving ourselves unconditionally in the process (no blame, remember?)
The principles are simple, but they require persistence.
To your success!
It’s funny how when we forget that particular truth, Life itself finds very efficient ways to remind us!
If we are practicing Awareness, it helps us put whatever happens in context and use it as feedback, so that when Life sends us a reminder, we do realize that it is only that: a reminder…
We do have unconscious beliefs and limitations, even when we work constantly at being aware. These beliefs (our paradigm) act like a regulating thermostat in our circumstances.
So if we take responsibility for what is happening and pump up the volume on our usual self-mastery practices and projected vision, results usually follow.
But sometimes they don’t.
What to do?
First consider that we never grow in our comfort zone.
If we stay where we got so far, things stop moving.
That’s when it is time to seriously stretch out of our comfort zone again!
It makes sense, once you figure it out: aiming for growth while taking a nap doesn’t really go together, does it?
So whatever it’s going to take and in whatever form, we have to be willing to learn news things, to accept change, to take new risks. As soon as we affirm that, serendipity steps in.
Connections, encounters, insights, gifts, opportunities, new avenues show up out of the blue.
We need to keep moving and explore them, fearlessly.
Growth requires that we bust our old paradigms and that we keep stretching further… again and again.
If we want to expand and get unusual results in our life, no matter what domain is concerned, we need to accept these periods of discomfort due to new learning and new doing.
Stretching our comfort Zone is part of continuous growth.
We can take a break, we can revel in our achievements for a while, we can take the time to smell the roses and rest, enjoy, celebrate. But then we have to voluntarily forge on.
Learn, try, experiment, and never consider the job done.
It’s not comfortable, but it’s exciting. And rewarding on all kinds of levels…
Meanwhile in the process we became a greater version of ourselves… That is the big prize.
Here is to growth!