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You are braver than you think

Are you sometimes afraid to approach the blank canvas? Does it feel a little scary? A lot maybe? Do you love to create but keep finding excuses to do a hundred other things instead?

Or do you dive right in but then stop in your tracks and end up judging your work, and yourself, harshly? Do you sometimes hear nasty little voices telling you that you're not good enough or that you can't even draw a straight line, so why bother?

Or maybe (this one is really good) that you have kids or a job or other adult responsibilities to attend to, and you don't have time to create your dreams? That it would actually make you irresponsible?...

When it comes to art-making, I have learned to keep these nasty little gremlins in check most of the time, but what about the other things I want to create? Like this very class for instance: it is probably the scariest, most vulnerable step I have taken on my creative path so far. And believe me, I've tried to hide and run away from the whispers of my soul. Just like with art-making, it's been quite a journey before I finally let go of the resistance.

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
— Brené Brown

making peace with our left brain

Ah, resistance... we all have it! We all have an inner critic, and fear… because we all have a left brain! (and it’s OK)

Our left brain is really not our enemy at all. Its job is not to drive us mad or paralyze us with its arsenal of you’re-not-good-enough, who-do-you-think-you-are and just-check-your-emails-first strategies. Its job is to protect us. That’s why it doesn’t like it when we try something new. To our left brain, change = danger! Going out of our comfort zone = jumping off a cliff.

You can think of your left brain as a loving, but over-protective parent. It needs to be reassured (or sometimes distracted...) and there are lots of ways you can do that:

Consider your art-making time as play time: this workshop is a place for you to experiment. There is absolutely nothing at stake and mistakes don’t even exist: it’s safe.

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You are not a kid anymore, but you have a creative inner child inside of you that wants to be seen and heard, and needs to create freely. You (the whole of you, not just your left brain) are the grown-up in charge of making sure this happens, and you can tell your inner critic to either sit quietly and watch, or to walk away for a while, or to keep himself/herself busy with something else while you paint (I personally find that playing an audio book or watching a video while I paint are great ways to distract my left brain…)

Immerse yourself in nature. Taking a walk, breathing some fresh air, paying attention to the sounds of the birds, of the wind, or simply getting lost in the patterns of a leaf, a flower... Paying attention to the texture of a pebble, to the way light and shadow play in the leaves...  These are all great ways to quiet the mind while gathering treasures of inspiration!

Write: the left brain thinks in words, so why not give it a place to say what it has to say? A few pages of "brain dump", like Julia Cameron’s "morning pages", can work wonders. But even better, you can incorporate words directly into your art. It's a gentle but powerful way to invite your left brain to play and to create from a place of wholeness. I do it all the time and we are going to do it together in the projects of this class.

Take your time. You have all the time you need, and there is no such thing as falling behind (but make sure you don’t fall into the trap of procrastination either!).

Above all, treat your inner critic with love and compassion. Listen to what she/he has to say, but then... do your thing anyway! It’s just a normal part of who we are as human beings, it’s part of our survival instincts and most of the time, our inner critic just wants to help. With patience you will learn to let go and you'll be able to create more and more freely. The important thing is to get started, now, and not look back.

Words of encouragement

Here is an exchange from our Circle of Light Facebook group that many of you have found useful and uplifiting, so I'm adding it here!

"Am I alone in feeling quite intimidated now, having seen so many wonderful posts and images shared from those who are already journeying along their paths? I have at least begun sorting through images (and combined this early task with some very essential de-cluttering - one less pile of magazines!) - but I don't know how to put aside all the lovely images I now have floating a*round in my head from this group, to try and find my own voice?"

Laly: "Dear Light Seeker, thank you SO much for posting about your doubts in this way because that is COURAGE: courage means stepping into the arena and owning your vulnerability. You haven't started, yet I'm already so proud of you! You are one brave soul and you are shining already! 🌟

The next thing I want to tell you is that I get those exact same doubts and feelings. All. The. Time. It's completely normal and it happens to all artists. In fact, being scared of making work that's too similar to someone else's, shows how deep your desire is to express you own authentic truth, to speak in your own unique voice. Your light has such a strong desire to shine through your art that the moment you let it out, it will amaze you!

But just like all artists, and all human beings for that matter, you have a right brain and a left brain: your love-connection-wholeness-based intuitive mind, and your fear-doubt-individuality-based analytical mind. The first one rejoices in the here and now, the second is projecting its fears into a future that doesn't even exist, because you haven't started yet... This is NORMAL, and both parts are useful in the creative process. But right now one is speaking a bit too loud, preventing you from starting, from having fun and opening up to the unexpected, to the potential of your unique creativity. So there is only one thing to do... go create something!

You could start by exploring the "Natural Palette" videos in the resources section and just playing with your supplies. Then maybe do the mini collage exercise from chapter 1 first, as it is designed precisely to put your left and right brain in sync. Then you'll realize you have started, you are creating! Also, write, write, write... And then on to the soulboard… I know many have posted beautiful images of these first projects in our group, but the point of these is not to create works of art. It's about the journey much more than the result (trust me, if it were, there would not be a horse on my soulboard!).

Also, switch off your computer for a while. Take the time. There is no way anyone in this class can fall behind, because the whole point is to slow down, to take the time to connect to your own inner light, to listen, to mindfully explore and pay attention to your own unique tastes and feelings... Just like everyone in this class, you are right where you're supposed to be, here and now. ✨ Trust yourself ✨

One last thing: it’s much more difficult to copy than to come up with your own stuff! People who really copy are able to do so because they are intentional about it. But if your intention is to create your own authentic art, then it would be really hard to end up with copycat work… That being said, for many people the learning process requires copying. That’s just an extra, reassuring step towards developing their own style, and that’s completely OK too, as long as they’re clear that it’s not « their art » but simply an exercise. The key is to just do WHAT FEELS BEST to you, what brings you the most joy!

We all have a patchwork of images in our heads from all the art we absorb. It reflects our tastes, what's aligned with who we are. It helps us define ourselves visually. But once you start creating, you eventually realize this is not where your art comes from. It's the context, not the source of your art. So no worries 😉"

Light & Love,

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