Writing a Book About Writing a Book

There are many books about writing a book. The book I’m writing isn’t one. Let me explain.

Twenty or more years ago I set out to write a memoir. I’d majored in writing in college. I’d been a voracious writer all my life. But none of those years acquainting myself with writing and books had prepared me to understand what to write about or how to start.

Heck, I knew nothing about writing a book.

So I went to a guru. Stay with me. This gets interesting.

This guru had written a book, but her knowledge about writing was of no interest to me. What I needed was an answer to what I should write about. I didn’t want to just write any book. My intuition was guiding me to create a book using my experiences to help me and help others.

These were issues I was grappling with. How best can I help others with the experiences I’ve had? What should the focal point of the book be? 

Abraham describes itself in the plural as “a group consciousness from the non-physical dimension.” There are other names for this dimension; Muhammad, Source energy, the Universe, God, Jesus, and many others.

Before these concepts about spirituality throw you, you’re questioning my sanity or you think I’m from another planet, please rest assured.

Now here comes the good part.

This information from Abraham is available through other spiritual sources. I mentioned a few above, but other best-selling contemporary authors and spiritual leaders are also sharing this information. Esther Hicks was also featured in the movie, “The Secret”.

Abraham is channeled through Esther Hicks. Abraham’s answers, spoken through Esther, pertain to “your joyous deliberate creation and control of every event and condition of your life.” To translate; we’re always creating. The trick is to learn how to create what we would like. 

I’d been to several workshops where Abraham answers questions from the audience. Each time I went, what Abraham said about subjects affecting me resonated. The information I received was always enlightening. I would see problems I’d been having with more clarity, and I’d know the truth of what Abraham shared because their interpretation made me feel good.

The question I asked Abraham was a question about what kind of book to write. The answer I received from Abraham was, “Write a Book About Writing a Book.”

What kind of answer is this?, I thought. I didn’t want to put all my time and effort in what I perceived to be a silly attempt. But now I’ve written three books, and now that those three books are flip/flops—(flip) an instance of flipping; (flop) to be a complete failure—I understand why writing a book about writing a book might have been the better option.

According to Abraham, “You only hear what you are ready to hear.” That was true for me writing those three books. I realize now that guilt drove my first memoir. I wanted to defend all I had done. All that explaining, defending and justifying made for some boring reading. That book flopped.

Ten years later, I lightened up in the second book I wrote. I flipped from making my story be about me and instead my story became about a woman I imagined to be. That book flopped because it couldn’t decide who I was.

Another ten years went by before my third attempt. This would be the perfect time to write about myself. I had forgiven everyone I’d blamed and had forgiven myself about my past. This time it would be easy. And it was easy, but not good. Something was wrong.

I tried to sell it and got a lot of interest because of the premise, but one reading after another led to more disinterest. The truth revealed: the writing sucked and it wasn’t the truth.

I wouldn’t give up.

I still believed that I had a destiny, and that I was to write a book that would help me and others. I’d trusted the way to do this would come.

Giving up now meant giving up on myself. It would be tantamount to forsaking my faith in my vision. It would mean what I’d done didn’t count for anything.

All the signs, the serendipitous events, the times I’d come in contact with what I needed at the perfect time, were they all just phantoms?

Then it hit me!

Maybe this is the test. Maybe if I hold on to faith, success is right around the next corner. I know now what’s wrong. Maybe now I can do it right.

I’ve already learned a lot more about writing. I am seeing/hearing/feeling the truth more and more. I can do this now.

This is what I shall share with you on my blog. I’ll be posting about writing this book. And this will be in real-time. Stay tuned and sign up for info on new installments.

To access Abraham, go to https://www.abraham-hicks.com/

Podcasts from Abraham available on youtube.com

How to Eliminate Irritating Negative Thoughts.

 

 The way to eliminate negative thoughts is to change them to positive thoughts. Sure, but how do we?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the inspirational best-seller-of-all-time, The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale. It was first published in 1953.

Besides the colossal success of Peale’s book, successful Happiness Courses are being taught at Harvard, Yale and other institutions. There have been many other books written about happiness, even Happiness songs. And achieving happiness has been the subject of many movies.

So why aren’t more Americans getting any happier? Only one in three Americans say they’re very happy, according to a recent Harris Poll.

I think this is why. I contend that our thoughts determine our feelings, and most of those thoughts are fearful, worrisome, or they’re scary.

Hardly conducive to a sunny disposition.

These negative feelings play havoc with our ability to see options. They impede feeling happy. They cloud our mind so we don’t perform in the most focused way.

The thoughts seem to come out of nowhere. They can come from an incident in the past. Sometimes they come after we begin something new, doubting our capabilities of succeeding. Or we may have a habitual thought come up repeatedly in the present.

All the feelings born of negative thoughts, if not questioned, become buried again until something else triggers them. Questioning the thought is the first step in preventing unwanted thoughts to crop up.

All the suffering that goes on inside our minds is not reality, says Byron Katie. It’s just a story we torture ourselves with.

To question a thought, you can use Byron Katie’s technique. Ask yourself;

Is it true?

If it still seems likely, ask yourself, “Can you absolutely know it’s true?”

How do I react – what happens – when I believe that thought?

Who would I be without the thought?

There’s a lot more you can learn about the questioning. Check out her website for more information: http://thework.com 

The common denominator of most thoughts that pop up is that they’re negative thoughts.

When we don’t question whether the thought is true, we may end up anxious, overwhelmed with doubt and uncertainty. We feel stressed.

Sometimes we feel like a victim, unable to see any other option but live with what we wish wasn’t happening.

Our thoughts and feelings have a huge impact on our body. This is because of the mind-body connection. Most of the time we act because of habit, without thinking, and let our negative emotions rule us. This can cause distress.

It’s hard to remain happy when we’re not feeling the higher vibrations of love, joy, and gratitude, and hope.

The way to remain happy is by developing the skill of having these positive emotions most of the time. Positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind. Thinking about remaining positive each time you feel negative emotions like sadness, fear, doubt, and guilt helps build new skills and resources that provide value in many areas of your life.

How can we build positive thinking in our lives?

In my last post, I described how to get over negative feelings. Anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment, and love will work. Taking a walk, calling someone I love or cooking a favorite food to eat do the trick for me.

There are the three ways James Clear at JamesClear.com has found to increase positive thinking:

  1. Meditation – Recent research by Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, revealed that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions than those who do not. Some positive aspects I have experienced are stronger self-confidence, reduced stress, tension, and states of deep relaxation. I have a general feeling of wellbeing. It has lowered my blood pressure readings, and I’m able to concentrate and focus better than before.

I know some of you may be thinking, “No, not meditation again.” I used to feel that way. But with all wonderful new ways to meditate now, and with a little research, I’m confident you’ll find one you love and can’t wait to start your day.

2. Writing – James Clear, in his blog, The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work, tells about a study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality that the students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses than the group who wrote about a control topic.

I’ve been writing in a journal for eight years and writing posts on my blog for three years. I loved my journal from the start because writing my thoughts helped me discover ways to solve problems. The more positive outcomes I experienced, the more I became addicted to feeling positive. I began to look forward to each new positive experience I could write about.

Another way to feel more positive is to use your journal every day to write what you’re grateful for. Gratitude provides a cumulative effect of positivity.

3. Play is another way to feel positive. Schedule time each day or at least weekly to do something that makes you feel happy. You might hike up a mountain or pursue some adventure. Maybe it’s spending time with a certain person or finding a hobby you love.

When we are ready to make positive changes in our lives, we attract whatever we need to help us.” Louise Hay

Facing a new challenge can feel daunting at first but if you persevere, you’ll find it getting easier. Each time a new experience affirms you’ve progressed, trust me, you will be happier.

Bonus; Esther Hicks, inspired by Abraham, generously provides videos of her answers to questions from people in her many workshops in over 50 cities in the United States. The videos are uplifting and filled with positive vibes. I used to watch these as I was learning to think positively. I still do from time to time.

Check out the videos at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abraham-Hicks-Daily

http://www.thesecret-lawofattraction.net/abraham-hicks-youtube

Or go to her main website for more information at:

https://www.abraham-hicks.com/

For more on how your thoughts affect you, go to:

https://dorettab.com/warning-your-thoughts-are-your-worst-enemy/

Warning/ Your Thoughts Are Your Worst Enemy

We know thoughts crop up out of nowhere. Some are a nuisance, scaring us do something we planned or causing guilt over something we did long ago. We put up with them, but maybe they’re not just a nuisance. Maybe they are detrimental to our well-being.

When I was younger, I wasn’t able to visualize myself getting any older than 45 years of age. That was the age I had set a goal to have a one-woman show of my artwork in New York City. 

The future was beyond my imagination.

My artwork was the only reason I had to feel worthy and enjoy living. I was unhappy in my marriage and struggling to find contentment. I cried every night to release pain and sorrow.

Finally, without a reason to go on living, I let go of holding on to my dilemma and sought help. My husband told me we couldn’t afford a psychologist, but I surprised myself by responding, “I can’t afford not to go.” It was the first time I had felt the confidence to stand up to his controlling tendency.

I was ready for a new beginning.

Thus began a journey into my mind. Volumes of hidden anger—somewhere I had learned it wasn’t proper for a woman to express her indignation—and an inability to perceive that I might have options, were among the many glaring traits I discovered.

The resentment raging from deep inside me at my first meeting with the psychologist surprised me, but the relief of finally being able to let go of the rage felt freeing. I went on for over an hour before I could stop ranting.

I didn’t realize I had set in motion a huge change in my life. I had instinctively taken the action I needed to discover why I had become so unhappy, and I opened possibilities that blew my mind.

I observed the thoughts in my mind. I realized the thoughts were creating the feelings I was experiencing. For instance, for whatever reason, I noticed that I was telling myself, “I feel sad,” right before a shower.  But the moment I realized what I was thinking wasn’t true—wasn’t what I was feeling—I knew for sure my thoughts had created the feeling.

Why do negative thoughts pop up in our minds?

Barry Gordon, professor of neurology and cognitive science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, replies: We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The majority of our thinking goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. Slips of the tongue and accidental actions offer glimpses of our unfiltered subconscious mental life.

How do unconscious thoughts influence our behavior?

Researchers have long known negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action. It’s the fight-or-flight response to danger. It’s the ego’s way of helping you stay safe. But constant negativity can also impede happiness, add to our stress and worry level, and ultimately damage our health.

When you’re in the fight-or-flight response mode, your emotions program your brain to do a specific action. When you’re facing danger, the rest of the world doesn’t matter. Negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts. Your brain ignores any option that isn’t focused on the immediate action you must take to avoid a calamity. 

This is useful when you’re trying to save yourself from getting hurt, but in most cases unnecessary. The problem is that your brain is programmed to respond to negative emotions in the same way—by shutting off the outside world and limiting the options you see around you.

This takes us back to my story of waking up to the fact that thoughts create feelings. One of the most striking traits in myself when I noticed my negative thoughts were my being unaware of my options.

My Aha! moment happened while sharing a story with my psychologist. Our maid was off every Sunday. I would ask my husband to take me and our four children to dinner on those nights. Getting four young children ready was almost as hard as preparing dinner and cleaning up afterward, but I liked being able to get out of the house one night a week. 

Often, at the last-minute, all of us ready to go, my husband would decide that he’d rather eat at home. He’d go to the grocery store for TV dinners, and, frustrated, I’d cry. “Why didn’t you go out without him?”, my psychologist asked me.

It was as if a light bulb lit up inside my mind. I hadn’t fathomed I had options. I must have believed I had to do as told.

“If you realized just how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” Anonymous

 It takes time, but little by little, by questioning the unwanted thoughts flitting through my mind, I discovered that changing my thoughts to more positive ones—ones that weren’t out of the realm of believing—I noticed myself able to work at an ideal level. I was feeling more optimistic, feeling more freedom, and feeling happier. 

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale

In my follow-up to this post, I will share with you how to stop negative thoughts. In the meantime, try the first step to stopping them. Don’t try to stop them by telling yourself you have to stop thinking about the obsessive thought. Worry and obsession get worse when you try to control your thoughts. Instead, notice you’re in a negative cycle and own it. 

Question if the thought is true. If it isn’t true, try something that sparks feelings of joy, contentment, and love. It could be your favorite music, a walk in the park, or talking to a friend. We’ll begin work on ending the annoying thoughts in my next post.

If you have questions or want me to discuss any issue about your thoughts, please comment below.

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

Truth: How Sweeping it Under the Rug Hurts You.

 

“Let’s sweep it under the rug,” This is what my mother would say whenever I wanted to know a truth she didn’t want to deal with. I can’t recall the exact instances causing this response, but I do remember that whatever subject we were discussing always involved a complication or conflict she didn’t want to address.

My mother’s steely demeanor and hasty dismissal indicated the conversation was over. She wasn’t going to deal with the information, and so, I let it go. Sweeping seemed to work.

Another target she arranged to sweep away were negative feelings. Whenever I felt sorry for myself, angry with my brother, or humiliated by my friends, my mother would cart me off to one of the charitable agencies she volunteered to work at. Impressing me with how much better off I was than many other children did get me in touch with how giving to others seemed to ameliorate the pain, but I never learned how to deal with the pain in a healthy way.

For example, at the age of twelve, I was taken to New York City to have an operation to correct a birth defect. Two nerves on the lid of my left eye were crossed and caused my eyelid to go up and down every time I moved my jaw. The condition is called Marcus Gunn, and because it is such a rare disorder, and because this was a teaching hospital, several rounds of doctors, residents, and students would come to my bedside each day to gape and gawk at the eye.

I felt vulnerable and defenseless. All that mattered to those men was my eye. I was no different than the goldfish in the bowl I stared at on the counter of the nurses’ station. Like the goldfish, I was being exposed to whoever saw me without having anywhere to hide.

Feeling sorry for myself, my mother dealt with my remorse the same way she always had. She offered a man with both eyes bandaged to have me read to him. This time, though, her way of helping me feel better didn’t. It only caused me to want to avoid any circumstance that would expose me to the truth that I was vulnerable.

Unfortunately, an infection after the operation caused my left lid, the one that used to go up and down when I moved my jaw, to freeze in a stay-open position. I could close it with mental effort, but the eye now looked much larger than the other one.

I found a way to emotionally deal with a “bad eye”. I became the observer. I would watch other people’s reactions to my eye while feeling separate from the experience. That allowed me to not have to be the one being judged and to not have to feel vulnerable. I had found a way to feel a sense of power instead of being a victim.

However, as I grew older, complications from having swept away circumstances and feelings began to crop up. The more I tried to stay safe from feeling vulnerable, the more complex they became.

If you keep sweeping things under the rug, you’ll trip over it and fall flat on your face. Don’t ignore problems, fix them!   

Tony Gaskins

Not sharing my emotions kept me from ever being authentic. I lived in a constant state of acting, pretending, and doing anything that would obscure the fact that I was different. And when my actions failed to keep me safe, I suffered.

Because I had become motivated to be a person others wanted to be with—my way of coping with a defect—I began doing and being what I thought would impress others instead of feeling free to be me. This tactic kept me from ever being able to express my truths, further burying them from sight. Relationships failed due to my holding myself back. I became depressed, not knowing why.

If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, Addiction, Rage, Blame, Resentment, and Inexplicable Grief.

Brene Brown

Then I became rebellious at the age of forty-three. Rather than feel guilty for not having the strength and courage to face the truth that I had a “bad eye”, I began blaming and judging those people I had previously tried to make like me. Separating myself from them, they had now become my reason for my unhappiness.

I moved away and began to see a Jungian psychotherapist who specialized in dream therapy. That was when I had a dream that changed everything.

In the dream, I am walking down a long hall towards a banquet room. Judging from the long wooden tables adorned with table settings of metal, and the dress of the other guests at the banquet, I guess the time we’re in to be the period of King Arthur’s court. A lot of noise and laughter is resounding in the huge room as I find a place at the table to sit. Not long after getting settled, I notice someone approaching the dining hall. It’s someone I don’t want to see me, so I duck down under the table to hide. Feeling bored, I  fidget with a rug underneath the table. Rolling the rug from the end, my curiosity is leading me to examine what is underneath.  Suddenly, all kinds of stuff begin spewing out from under the rug. All shapes and sizes of things, the mass and vast array of so many objects startles me.

How could so much stuff hide for so long in such a small space?

I had an Aha! moment. This was all my stuff! This was the stuff I’d swept under the carpet during my whole lifetime.

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”

C. JoyBell C.

I knew I had no recourse but to finally face whatever I was scared of seeing. This sign wasn’t some random event. It clearly was a warning to me.

Digging through a giant mound of unwanted, crammed, disposed-of stuff is a daunting task. It requires taking one step forward, only to find that you can’t move forward until the next step is taken. It necessitates that you discover the truth, what caused this part of the stuff to be swept away. It can’t be done in a day, so you distract yourself towards more fun, rewarding things to do. But the pull to grow becomes stronger.

There’s a saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”.  That’s why bringing buried fears to the light is so hard. You have to trust and allow for life to bring you the circumstances or relationships to trigger each one. If you are dedicated to being a better you, and if you are persistant, that motivation will bring you the happiness you desire.

“Be your authentic self. Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be. Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else. Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.”

Dr. Phil

I wanted to finally feel the freedom I’d suppressed more than I feared what the truth was. It took me years to uncover most of the stuff I’d buried. Each time I succeeded, I did feel lighter and that inspired me to dig deeper. Now that I feel freer, I am having fun being me. I love who I am, and that love attracts more love to me.

Don’t be afraid of the truth. Remember, “The truth will set you free.”

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

For a related article, go to:  https://wordpress.com/post/dorettab.com/2077

 

How Self Awareness Changes Our Perspective

couple in jungle

I recently had all the slides of my artwork digitalized.  Above is one of them, an enamel I made many years ago.  This one reminded me of a time when when I was young and obsessed with my being a girl and not as respected as my brother who was eighteen months younger.  In the forties a girl was expected to be married when she grew up and dependent on her husband.  Boys were being groomed to do something important in life.

My brother was invited to go with my father on Sundays to collect rents on properties my father owned.  It was understood back then, that because I was a girl, my place was with my mother and sister, doing what women are supposed to do.  In order to get the kind of attention I craved, for my accomplishments, I became competitive with my brother.  I did manage to excel in school and being creative, but nothing I achieved received the same respect my brother easily received by simply being male.

I didn’t want to be a boy.  I loved dressing up and imagining myself as pretty and popular as my seven year older sister was.  I just wanted to be treated equally with boys, to have a chance to prove myself as a woman.  I think now I was born angry over the inequity because this same issue, women’s rights, surfaced time and again for the next four decades.

Then, on a trip to New York with my brother and our parents, when I was 12, I saw a painting by Rousseau entitled, “The Dream” at the Museum of Modern Art.  The painting pulled me into another world.  This was a world in which a woman sitting next to lion was being depicted as strong and as courageous as the lion.

No one had ever offered me an “Alternate Perspective” on what being a woman could be before.  The images in that painting before me were telling me that I had a choice.  I could stand in my power being a woman without having to compete.  Sure it would take courage and strength, but I could choose to be that.  Rousseau’s symbolism struck an “alternative truth”, that I didn’t have to be a victim of the picture my every day life painted–that of women being beholden to men.

I was so excited I wanted to be able help other people see”alternate truths“with the same daring Rousseau had expressed.  I wanted to offer what I knew to be true so that other’s could be as free as I felt at that moment.  So I became an artist.

Many more instances occurred during the next four decades where I resented what I perceived as men’s sense of superiority when they didn’t want to believe women could make it as an artist.  During that time I soul searched myself to find out who I was.  I was reinventing myself along the way until I finally did make peace with the anger.  I didn’t need it anymore to achieve.

It’s been a long journey on one self awareness after another to come to where I am now.  And I know the journey’s not over until you’ve transcended this earthly life.

The images in the jungle on the enamel above are more subdued and calm than the images in Rousseau’s painting.  There is a peace in the jungle scene I painted with enamel.  I think I painted this enamel to congratulate myself on a job well done.

I’ve been challenged and have changed as a result.  I never gave up.  I kept plodding through one challenge after another, knowing those challenges have come to help me become more empowered.

My beliefs have changed over the years.  My perspective on life is more expansive.

Self awareness helps us understand our truths.  It certainly opens ourselves to more happiness.  That’s because, by accepting who we are, we’re not swayed by other’s beliefs for us, beliefs that are based on their fears.  And self awareness helps us to produce the art that’s authentic to who we are.

If you like my posts, please share them.

 

The Start of My New Book

spirit tree

I posted this picture of a painting I did long ago because it was a beginning of a new idea for a series of paintings on the Hebraic name of God.  I did several more, but quickly lost interest in the theme.  For those of you not familiar with the Hebrew letters, they’re the markings above the container at the bottom and the leaves above.  The configuration of the leaves was an inspiration from a picture of an archangel I’d seen in a book.  The middle   hike of the leaves was the angel’s head.  The other two rises of leaves on either side were the wings.

Since I’m in the beginning stage of writing a book, I gravitated to something that reminded of one of my many new beginnings.  I think I could have gone further with this theme in my painting.  Maybe I wasn’t ready, but, looking back on it now, I think I could now.

Why did I not feel ready then?  Like so many attempts I started in order risk and branch out, I’d complete something I loved.  Then doubt set in.  Maybe this painting was a fluke.  Maybe I’ll never be able to achieve something equally beautiful like this again.

Well, writing what I did this week on my book was an entirely different experience.  Instead of allowing myself to second guess the future, this time I knew that the only time that is real is in this moment.  And, if in this last moment I wrote something that I knew was good, I would find a way to do that again.

I’ve learned, the hard way, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and getting the same results again and again, that I’d have to find a new way to approach creating.  Through trial and error, one realization after another, digging deeper and deeper inside of my mind, I finally saw the blocks preventing me from believing I could and would continue creating paintings I could be proud of.  In the end, it was a simple shift from Fear to Love.

I’d read somewhere that fear is natural.  It’s there to protect us.  We’ll always be subject to it.  It isn’t going away.  But, and this is the important But I got, when we’re in the state of Love, there’s no Fear.

Whenever I paint now, I do whatever it takes to feel the energy of Love.  I’ve learned to tap into it.  When in that state, the painting is easy and effortless.  I hear my intuitive guidance and follow it, and the results sometimes blow me away!  At the very least, I like what happened.

I finished my first chapter of “Tell Me What Love Is”, and I liked the first draft.  It didn’t excite me, but, instead of berating myself for not having written the best I could’ve, I chose to find a way to express what my heart would guide me to write.  I rewrote it yesterday after I received an idea that would catapult what I’d written to new heights.  Well, I did it!  I knew it was right on when I got goosebumps re-reading it.

I am so sure now that what I’m doing now is exactly what I need to do in order to achieve all I want.  It’s not a formula.  It’s a step by step process I follow blindly, not knowing where it will take me.  But, when I have experiences like I had yesterday, I’m convinced that I’m growing and expanding my energy!  Love the experience!

 

 

New Beginnings

00000019_IMG_0019I just completed the first page of the new draft for my book, Tell Me What Love Is.   I began a new draft  because of a book I bought on writing memoirs,  Naked, Drunk and Writing by Adair Lara.

The original idea I had for my book was that, through key past experiences of mine, I would show how beliefs and judgments over those events caused me to shut down any hope for happiness, and, how, through realizing the truth and doing the work to clear those thoughts in the way, I felt more powerful and unlimited.  The trouble was that I read that only famous people have the right to write a full biography.  I’m not famous.  At least, not yet.

The more I read about memoir, the more I realized that that genre served my purposes perfectly.  The story in a memoir is driven by emotion and that’s exactly what I’d been conveying in my first draft.  Thoughts are results of emotions and thoughts lead us to form beliefs and judgments that usually are just fear and not the truth.

You may be wondering about the title of my book.  Well, Tell Me What Love Is is the question that drove me on my quest.  Searching for the answer to that question led me to risk, getting out of my comfort zone.  What kept me going, never giving up, was that the more adventurous I got, the more material I had for a book I’d write.

That book is what I’ll be sharing on this blog.  Please feel free to ask questions, share comments, or give opinions.  I welcome any input.  You’ll be helping me immensely, so thank you for contributing!

Branching Out

tuscany - 1triptych drawing - 1

 

This tryptich is the result of one thing leading to another.  Sometimes, well, really all of the time, when we’re in the throes of creating, something happens to make us switch gears.  After an initial action, there’s a reaction.  This leads us to question our original plan.  How this played out with this painting is that I don’t like waiting.  Because I decided to try a new material I’d never used on canvas, an  absorbent ground which would afford me the chance to paint with watercolor on the canvas, it took a much longer time to dry on the canvas than it would have on watercolor paper. That entailed having to wait to paint and the only reason I love both watercolor and acrylic is that I don’t have to wait for paint to dry like I used to with oils.

In order to solve the problem, I decided to paint several paintings at a time.  Feeling even more I ambitious, I got the bright idea of doing my first triptych.  I gathered sketches from my notebooks I’d drawn and decided which sketches of female nudes to transfer onto the canvases. As I drew the figures, images of fall leaves began to take form in my mind.  I’ve always loved the splash of color from leaves in fall.

The image at the top of this post is a picture I took of the 3 canvases before I began painting them. I’d already drawn some of the leaves as a guide. The picture below is the first painting of the 3 images above.

triptych drawing 1 - 1

I started with this sketch first. It took awhile to get into the flow of painting leaves, so I went back and forth between each of the painting’s leaves to achieve some semblance of unity with all three paintings. Doing more than one painting at a time had an added bonus I couldn’t have known if I hadn’t experienced it. It took the edge off of the anxiety that arises while focusing on only one. For whatever reason, my interfering need for perfection (I’ll never reach that. No one ever does.), my fear I’ll mess it up (so what? There’s always another chance), or any other thought that usually takes me away from Loving what I’m doing, never came up. I’ll tell you about a big mess I made on one of the other paintings and how I reacted to that so differently than I could’ve in the past.

For now, I’m going to leave you with a quote that sums up what I want to achieve with my art.

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

Picasso