Recipe For Success

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

I believe the recipe to success is very personal…an intimate dance between an individual and source energy. What works for you may not be best for me, and what is best for me may make no sense to you at all. We have to find our own paths by testing every step, and every combination of pieces. Until we find our very own, secret recipe.

I must admit, I know my personal secret recipe to success, and have all of the tools and ingredients, but I tend to go rogue and not follow the exact recipe every day…which results in disappointment and missed steps. Sometimes I measure too much of one ingredient, and skip another all together. And sometimes I test out a new spice. I am still learning how to fit all of the necessary ingredients into my days. I know what works best, what works a little, and what doesn’t work at all…for me. And as under-qualified as I feel, I am ready to share the secrets I have found to my current success, and what I hope will take me to my future vision.

My recipe is simple, with only 5 ingredients: self-acceptance, nurturing compassion, trust, inspiration, and connection.

Let’s start with the first ingredient…self-acceptance. I first learned how to accept myself as the glorious mess that I am, about 4 years ago, while reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. It was hard, and an incomplete acceptance at that time, but it sparked the beginning flame. Brené introduced me to Kelly Rae Roberts, coincidentally the same week I fell in absolute love with 3 canvas prints I found in a gift shop, with simple yet complexly layered art, combined with soulful words that spoke directly to my heart and brought tears to my eyes because I wanted to be the person they spoke of so desperately. I took her first online course, “Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media Mantras”, and instantly fell in love with my inner child’s vision of play and joy. I became addicted to art and art supplies. Seriously, it was likely an unhealthy obsession, looking back on the entire summer I spent in my cold, dark basement painting. But when I got my fingers into some paint, I felt alive, and joyful. I had fun. I learned to trust my inner voice, and that every move led to the next. I don’t have to have it all planned out, I just have to trust what brings me joy. There are no mistakes, only happy accidents. Then I met Jane Davenport in another Kelly Rae group called “The Wear Your Joy Project” (which also helped me to accept my physical self, as I was at that moment). Jane’s online art courses taught me to “Trust the Mess”, and to embrace every imperfectly beautiful mark made on the paper or canvas. Every, single, one. Keep it loose, because everything is forgiven in a sketch. And at this point, I began to accept myself for who and what and how I was. The new me, following a head injury. The new me, now experiencing severe depression and anxiety. The new me, perfectly imperfect, and yet, still enough.

Nurturing compassion is the next ingredient. In order to accept oneself fully, one must treat themselves with compassion and kindness. I had spent my entire life nurturing others, but had not learned how to do this for myself until well into adulthood, and arguably just in the last few years as well. In Kelly Rae’s art course, she encouraged us to paint with intention, and to write that intention on our hands of arms before painting, or on sticky notes around our work space, to remind us as we painted why we were doing so, and to remind us to be kind to our art and our hearts. I embraced this practice fully, to the point of creating a tattoo out of a doodle I had made, because I started to get embarrassed having to explain the permanent marker affirmations on my arms. This tattoo rests on my inner right wrist. To me it represents a reminder that when things get tough I need to pause and treat myself with kindness and compassion, and then keep going…to trust my wings and transform into the beautiful creature that I am…and a reminder to be adaptable.

Trust…trust is such a hard thing for me, and I don’t know why. I have always been able to trust other people, but somehow, when it comes to trusting myself, my intuition, or the universe, I become impatient and full of fear and doubt and even shame. But trust is so important! You cannot succeed without trusting your “gut”. I am learning to listen to that fluttery feeling I get in my tummy, and the high-vibing giddiness when an idea feels completely achievable, even if a bit potentially out of reach. When I trust, doors open, opportunities fall into my path, and I am successful in what I attempt. Trust that you know what is best for you…always…even if it doesn’t make sense…it will.

Inspiration is another key ingredient that is essential to keeping me on track. Some refer to this practice as personal development. Basically, I find inspiration in reading or listening to books that share a story of how someone else achieved their goals, or completing a workbook of exercises to help me achieve my goals specifically. I am currently listening to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and working through the workbook for it. It is chalk-full of inspiration, and prompts to help me dig deep into my thoughts and dreams, my past barriers, and my future wishes. I am currently trying to incorporate the morning pages into my daily practice. This involves 3 pages of stream of conscious writing as the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes, I get distracted of forget to do it right away, but my goal is to get into this every day. The next activity from this I am looking to perform on a regular basis is a weekly Artist Date. A simple outing where I am mindful of the everyday magic that surrounds me. I have a list of books ready to read, work through, listen to, and even revisit this year.

The final and most important ingredient that I have discovered the importance of over the last year is connection. Even, perhaps, the past few months. Connection, to me, has three layers…connection to others, connection to myself, and connection to source, or God, if you will.

I must admit, since my head injury, I have become pretty antisocial. Before I LOVED being around people and helping people ALL of the time. But since, people frustrate and exhaust me. I sometimes even wonder why I am in the profession I am in, because I don’t “feel” like helping anymore. Some days, “everybody sucks”. And yet, I crave engagement with like-minded people. Makers, artists, women…creative people who believe that the way to raise ourselves is to raise others. People who are honest about the struggle, without complaining. People with integrity, who do what they say they are going to. People who are joyful and share a child-like innocence about the world around us. Who are obsessed with pretty things just because the colour makes them happy. People who appreciate the time and effort and thought that went into making something special…who appreciate each other’s talent and aren’t threatened by them. Recently, as in this past year, I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of people and been introduced to a number of groups that fulfill this need, and I love it! I am so grateful for the new friends and support systems in my life now.

In order to stay connected to truest self, the me at my core, to learn about her more every day, I like to do some personal work. Morning pages are becoming a part of my morning ritual, as is meditation. Although, to be honest, it is hard for me to meditate in the morning and not fall back to sleep. But I am working on it, and am getting better every day. I have a little 8-minute guided hypnosis, that in my opinion is basically a deep meditation with positive suggestions and affirmations thrown in. I love it. It makes me feel rejuvenated – mind, body and soul. It helps to be grounded and clear and focused. Some days I don’t push play, and I wonder why I deprived myself of such a powerful tool. It is a work in progress, as am I. I also found in the past that running was a very helpful activity in allowing me to learn my abilities and limits, and turn my thoughts inward to discover my deepest desires. And who can forget, the magic of painting?! Anything we do to entice our inner child to come out and play connects us more to our truest selves. Playing with colour, making beautiful messes and transforming them into an image that evokes emotion and tells a story, is pure play at a level of soul connection.

And the final connection that is required is to source energy. This is by far the most difficult to maintain, and explain for me. I do this in a few ways. Daily, I listen to a 10ish minute audio clip talking about how to get closer to source, and then I reflect on it and how it applies to my story for the day. Then, I spend my day as calm and content and joyful as I can be, for this is the state closest to the pure bliss which is source energy. I do my best to raise my vibration above the complaining and worrying that sometimes sneaks in. I remind myself of what I have to be grateful for, and am mindful of the smallest delights and beauty in our every day…a child’s laugh, the sun lighting up the edges of the clouds, the warmth in a hug, and the colours that surround me. This is also in alignment with source. Now, with the hustle and bustle of a busy young family living in a city, it is hard to stay at a high vibration all the time. But what I am learning is that the more time spent there, the more likely you are to attract the positive things you want from life, and so every moment counts. I also found a meditation class that I like to attend once or twice a week that helps me to connect on a deeper level with divine energy.

This is my recipe for success. What is yours?

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzie Lou Mixed Media

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