(pictures at the bottom of this post)
In April, upon returning from a wildly colorful trip to Mexico, I was inspired to paint one 1-2 hour painting of a woman every day, which I called 30 Days of Her. I was so INTO it. I set aside time daily to paint, and stayed up late and got up extra early when I needed to. But every commitment has secret lessons you discover once you’re in there, and my experience with these paintings was no exception!
That said, this post is 2 parts.
ONE is to share with you 7 things I learned in the process.
TWO is to show you want I created (at the bottom)… which kept my theme of creating expressions of the divine feminine, but evolved from paintings to photography!
1. Show up + start.
Seriously, just begin. You may want to create. But you very well may not. In fact, you may NOT feel like doing anything, let alone be creative. Your ability to create has little to do with how inspired you feel because, mostly, inspiration comes after you’ve begin. Plus, if you wait until you “feel like it” you won’t get things done, and then you’ll never know what could have been.
2. Create a structure.
1 hour of painting a day. 1 shoot a week. 1 finished song a week. 1 poem a day. Whatever. Make a decision and do it for a set period of time. One month. 6 months. A year. And then be 100% OK that you probably won’t be able to keep to this and will fall off your horse. No big deal. No drama. No punishment. Just get back on and get back to it.
3. Sometimes you have to pick a direction and go that way even when there are multiple appealing options.
When you’re in the flow it can sometimes feel like many different currents of inspiration are vying to come through at the same time. That can work. But sometimes it really doesn’t and you have to pick a direction. You can paint another painting, or do another project, that goes a different direction next. Give what you have right here the best of your attention and effort.
4. It isn’t always going to feel good. You won’t always like it. And that doesn’t really matter.
When you pick a direction and go with it, especially if it’s been a struggle to choose, sometimes it feels crappy no matter what you decide. And sometimes what you need to make is dark, ugly, or challenging to be with. And sometimes you just plain don’t like what you’ve made. Guess what – it doesn’t really matter. Just keep on going. Not everything is going to be a masterpiece. Lots of what we create are exercises where we’re working out aspects of what we need to know how to do for a future creation. And, oddly, sometimes it’s the pieces you least like that most resonate with others. Keep creating. Keep going. Don’t look back.
5. Perfectionism isn’t your friend.
Perfectionism is a synonym for “always looks for and at what’s wrong”. It is not a virtue. It doesn’t make you feel good. And, it promotes being a micro-manager of your own expression. Sure, sometimes you’ve come to the point of needing to refine what you’re working on. In which case, refine away. But, a lot of great, visceral, raw, brainstormy, wild river expression is pinched back, blocked, and watered down by wanting it to be “perfect” and refined before it’s really had its moment. Plus, at some point you need to say GOOD ENOUGH and move on. How else are you ever going to meet your deadlines?
6. Follow your muse and trust her enough to let what you’re doing evolve.
During the process of painting I became unprecedentedly interested in photography. It was something I began thinking about in early 2011 but during this process my interest reached peak-do-something-about-me-now levels and I decided to give it a try. And guess what? I loved it! I loved collaborating WITH women (as opposed to only seeing and painting them from within me) and the whole process from makeup to shooting was fabulous fun. And it gave me an opportunity to see how much we are all CRAVING to have permission to BE the beauty we are. What inklings have been whispering to you? What might it be like to give them a try? Do you dare!!?
7. Set aside insecurity, open to the deeper mission, and keep going.
I don’t know jack about photography and my critic is very quick to remind me of this about 500 times a day. BUT I know A LOT about what it’s like to be a woman in this culture both from being one myself, and from having upwards of 85% of my coaching clients being women. Much of what has happened over the past, oh, 2000 years has specifically worked to condition women and men to reject the sacred feminine. It’s so deeply engrained, we don’t grok the level to which we’ve internalized this belief. And, in turn, we don’t see how having this unconscious belief leads us to reject ourselves!
Perhaps it’s that I have 5 planets in Venus-ruled signs, but I found a lot of lightbulbs going off in me during this process. Some came in meditations, some while talking to the women I was and am scheduled to do shoots with, some while telling others what I’m up to and hearing their feedback. I’ll write another post soon on the content of these lightbulbs, but for now I’ll say that I can now very much see how these creative acts of painting and photography can and ARE leading to deeper service of awakening to and dis-identifying with rejection of the divine feminine in ourselves and in our greater perception of life.
So let me put it to you like this:
If getting a whim to paint a 1-hour painting a day for a month can lead to an awakening realization of how I can use my gifts to be of service to something we have all been enslaved by, what might you find out if you followed through on some of your creative whims? Hmmmm! I am tickled by the possibilities – aren’t you?
And now, to show you some of what I created!
After 6 of these, I felt a desire to expand and created these double-panel images. Their titles (which I think are telling) are: She is Radiantly Becoming and Expanded Vision.
From there, the paintings stopped because I was consumed with a bizarrely intense interest in photographing the beauty of women! Look at these gorgeous beings! I can SEE the beauty they are, the divine radiance they emanate – can’t you? To see more of these images click here.
I’m really grateful for what this evolving journey has awakened in me. And I’m excited by the possibilities of where this can go in my life and in so many other people’s lives as well. If this has at all inspired you, please give your muse a listen and the next time you get a creative whim – follow it! You never know where it might take you!! And remember: YOU are BEAUTIFUL!!
Lovebeams and abounding beauty to you,