What comes to mind as a symbol of evolution is the caterpillar and the butterfly. The caterpillar sheds its chrysalis so it can fly. Personal evolution means, perhaps, letting go of belief systems or habits that no longer serve our best self. It’s not just about giving up old ways, but also about taking action to become the person you want to be, to become your butterfly.
I have been working endless hours in my studio painting what I think people will buy, not always what inspires me to paint. I have been so worried about art as a way of making a living that I have paralyzed my own creativity. I’m not saying that what I have created is bad or good, but I’m not satisfied. The paintings end up in the ever-growing discard pile. After beating myself up I have come to the conclusion that this is not a bad thing; it’s simply a stepping stone to my very best. True authenticity happens when we find our own voice, honor that voice, and do what inspires us. Real art happens when I paint from my heart, not for the approval of others. I’ve always believed that other souls will resonate with my artwork, but in my effort to “make a living” I forgot how to “make a life.”
Painting is where I find my voice; it’s where I do my best communicating. If I’m not painting from that inner part of me, then it becomes work. Arduous labor. But speaking up/painting requires courage, faith, and a bit of audacity. What if nobody likes it? What if, what if . . .This fear of rejection no longer serves my highest good. I am shedding my “chrysalis” and abandoning that pattern of thinking that screams of insecurity.
You may wonder why, after so many years of successfully making and selling art, am I feeling this way? Truth is, I’ve stepped out of my power. I’ve allowed others to tell me what I “should” do. I thank them for this because it has led me to another level of self knowledge. Knowing who I am is more valuable to me than caring what others think of me. It’s not the voices on the outside I want to listen to, but the voice from the inner consciousness. I have been doing a lot of “inner work” these days by sitting alone in meditation. I also attend a dreamers’ circle where we discuss our dreams and what they may mean. This is proving to be invaluable, and I absolutely love this sacred circle of women. I highly recommend keeping a dream journal next to your bed.
It is important to feed your soul with what makes you happy. Chocolate makes me happy, but even too much chocolate will make me sick. An imbalance of any kind will cause stress. All work and no play makes Christine a dull girl. I work part time at a frame shop and on my “days off” I cram in a week’s worth of painting sprinkled with doing laundry, yard-work, cleaning, and appointments. I was not making the time for inspiration. Movement has always proved to help me focus and keep me healthy in mind, body and spirit. So I listened to that inner voice and I started swimming again. Something I haven’t done since college. I’m not talking about bobbing in the waves, I mean laps with goggles and a swim cap and just the sound of my breath. Yoga, walking, working out, hiking — these are all things I do that are important to my well-being and somehow they were taking a backseat because I was so worried about not getting enough time in my studio so I could sell more paintings to make more money.
Every one of us is perfect exactly as we are right now. Whether we are a caterpillar or a butterfly, we need one in order to become the other. My life, and yours, is truly about creating what it is we want to be. What do you want and what will it take to get it? Success is measured not in how much we accomplish, but in how much we overcome. I can only imagine how scary it is for the caterpillar to shed its small, safe world only to break through to a higher level of awareness of what it is.
I’ll say it like this — don’t be afraid to be who you are or ask for what you need in order to be who you are. Speak up and let yourself be heard. I will leave you with this poem by Marianne Williamson who says it best:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Blessings and Aloha,