Vision Quest month 4: Shaking things up
So, I was supposed to write my 4th and final post for the Vision Quest coaching certification by the end of January... Except that this transformative experience was not done with me by then, not even close... In fact, it had a lot more in store for me, and it's only now, a month and a half later, (and after almost 2 weeks in bed...) that the journey is finally complete.
So what happened? Well, my first intention when I signed up for this (unexpectedly powerful) program last summer, was to learn how to help others live a more creative and fulfilling life. But what I had not realized, was that going through the process myself would shake things up in my own creative life.
Whitney Freya, who created and leads Vision Quest - the Creatively Fit Program, takes her coaches-in-training through the same steps as the "regular" participants (who are doing Vision Quest for themselves, not to coach others). These processes, some of which I have shared in previous posts, are fun, joyful, simple... and at the same time surprisingly powerful. It all depends, of course, on how involved you choose to get!
In my case, when it comes to inner work, well... I'm all in. I'm all about digging deep, welcoming the signs and invisible guidance, chasing the rainbows as much as the shadows, trusting the path even when it takes me through the dark parts of the wild woods, knowing there will always be a moonlit clearing for me to rest, and a chirpy robin to lead me to the other side.
path of least resistance
Back in January I was feeling overwhelmed by several demanding projects, the race to finish the training, and just plain exhaustion in the aftermath of an emotionally distressing autumn. I was feeling unusually tired, yet was pushing myself to meet deadlines, and then feeling guilty for not being able to do it all (which of course didn't help).
In particular, I was experiencing major resistance towards the "painting marathon". These simple painting assignments (a few of which illustrate this article) felt like a gigantic mountain that I had to climb. Of course it was worth climbing it, and it has even helped my art evolve in beautiful new ways (I'll show you in a next post), but at the time I didn't see it that way. I was feeling utterly disconnected from "my art", frustrated that each painting had to be completed quickly so I could move on to the next one, plus I just couldn't stand mixing bright colors anymore (aaahh the joys of white...!). But I was learning a lot: about myself, about my roadblocks, about how I approach art, about flow and resistance...
Now the other thing I do every January, is choose a "word of the year" (or more accurately, I let it choose me). The point of having a "woty" is that it offers you guidance, in sometimes very surprising ways, as the year unfolds. This seems like a rather innocent practice but words are powerful things. Sometimes they blow a soft breeze that gently guides you home, and sometimes they rock your boat in a much rougher way, steering it far away from shore. After what seems like an excruciatingly long, dark and stormy night, you end up slightly dazed, washed up on some unknown but gorgeous beach, dazzled by the glorious rising sun.
Well, apparently that's the kind of plan that Clarity, my woty, had in store for me. And to make it more effective, since I wasn't willing to just sit still, relax and listen, it took it out on my body ("so you don't want to rest? well I'll make you rest!"). When you're lying in bed day after day, too weak to talk, read or watch a movie, there is no hiding from your thoughts. And now that the storm has passed, I can honestly say that I am infinitely grateful for all it has taught me. About what is right for me and what is not. About the deep roots of some limiting beliefs that have held me back. About the self-imposed roles I am finally ready to let go of. Above all, about wholeness, self-care and self-love.
This whole Vision Quest experience has given me new awareness of what I am here to do, and more importantly what I want to do (and be and have for that matter). New awareness of what works for me and what doesn't, of what lights me up and what weighs me down.
One of the very important things I have finally come to terms with, is that even though I am passionate about creativity, about the way it connects us to our soul, and about inspiring others to lead a more creative life, I am not going to do this work the way I thought I would (or thought I should), because it just doesn't fit me. There are people, especially among my fellow Creatively Fit coaches, who are incredibly energized in a group, and especially when leading a group. They facilitate live workshops because it makes them feel so good, so fired up.
But I can finally say with no shame, that this is not the way it works for me. Live group settings, big or small, whether they are a workshops, an event or even just a meeting, tend to drain my energy instead of boosting it. It was true last year at the nursing home, it was true seven years ago when I hadn't even started painting and "failed" at becoming a school teacher. Who knows, maybe I get too energetically /emotionally involved, and then it takes me a whole day or more to get my energy levels back up. I used to feel so guilty and ashamed of it, like it was something I needed to "fix" because it seemed so easy and natural to others. But what if I did what feels easy and natural to me? I have finally come to accept that this is just the way things are for me, and that fighting it will only prevent me from finding a way that better suits me. My way.
So now I'm creating a different kind of offerings, one that is better aligned with who I am, which in turn will mean a better experience for my participants. And also, one that supports and complements my artistic work in beautiful, balanced ways.
Thank you Clarity, I look forward to the new insights you will offer me during the rest of this year (but please be gentle now ok?...)
Have a lovely March everyone!
Light & Love