I have seen a ton of posts on Facebook about friends going to a Paint Nite, drinking wine, visiting and coming home with a self made masterpiece. I always thought it would be great to do with my friends, as soon as I thought about organizing a paint nite my thoughts would race with "you can't paint", "what if it doesn't turn out", "you will look silly", "your untalented". So as with many things I don't feel I can do "perfectly", it is put on the back burner.
My dear friend invited me to a paint nite and I accepted the invitation. I accepted because I still thought it was a fun idea and I love spending time with my friend. The cost was $45 so there was a financial commitment that made it harder to back out, especially with fear of all those judgement thoughts of what the experience would yield.
I am a Life Coach, but that doesn't mean that I don't struggle with many of the things my client's struggle with such as limiting beliefs. I am a work in progress just like the many people I help overcome their self limiting beliefs and obstacles to living life fully. One of the things I have been focusing on in my continued studies is how powerful our thoughts are and how they can derail us quite easily if they go un-investigated. So keeping that in mind, I found myself driving to paint nite talking to myself ......"don't be judgmental of yourself, this is fun, this is friendship time, this is not a competition, you're not being graded, it doesn't matter what others think, you can do this, it's not scary, don't think so much about everything."
How many of you can relate to this type of internal dialogue? How has this dialogue stopped you in your tracks from enjoying life's experiences?
I got myself to class and began my masterpiece and the conversation in my head was on a repeat track of "you can do this, you got this." As the canvas took shape, I was struggling to not look at others work and comparing my work to their canvas, and their interpretation of what was being instructed. I was saying to myself, "keep your eye on your ball (canvas), you're doing fine." The ah-ha moment came when one of the participants during the break came over to talk to me while I was still painting.
She was commenting on how she liked my painting and wanted to know if I liked painting or art before tonight. As I continued to paint, I told her how as child I loved to sketch, color, paint and draw. She then asked "why did you stop?" I thought about that question, it occurred to me that somewhere along the line someone made a negative comment about my work, I made a judgment about my work that it wasn't good enough, I didn't really have talent, or it wasn't as good as someone else's. I explained to her, how I was talking to myself on the way here to keep myself in the game. I realized that I took myself out of the game because of the limiting beliefs I believed about my thoughts.
I appreciate the conversation we had as it confirmed to me the theory that thoughts have a very powerful grip on our happiness and ability to just enjoy life. I finished my painting and I found myself comparing mine to others, and criticizing myself internally, how I could have done it better.
My training has helped me be open to acknowledge and experience my thoughts, feelings and then question the thoughts to find truth...thanks to Byron Katies teachings "The Work." My take away was a lesson of self limitations, I have always enjoyed art, but I constrained my artistic endeavors by my self-imposed thoughts regardless of where they originated. Having the skills to question all those racing thoughts allowed me to be able to calm the voices in my head and be pleased with what I created and to be happy with what others created as well.
I brought my painting home and placed it in the family room where I had to look at it often. I wanted to really love my work, not just think it was "OKAY." As I have observed it now for almost a month, I am grateful for the experience to spend time with friends, learned something about myself I had forgotten and put on a shelf, learned to be kinder to myself, that other's judging me isn't really the issue, it is how I am judging myself and limiting myself that really matters, I can do anything I put my mind to, I am artistic and my painting is beautiful.
I challenge you to question your thoughts that keep you from enjoying your fullest life. If you need help developing new skills to eliminate your roadblocks to enjoying you life reach out to me and leave a comment. The first step is believing your worth the time and effort to explore a new way.
Happy painting the life you deserve!
I often talk about how it takes a village to raise a child or for an adult to manuever in this big world that we live in today. Today I was reminded of a part of my village that had embraced me during a very difficult time in my life. I learned today that a neighbor friend is passing on in the hospital. I was quickly reminded of how important a part he and his wife had played in my childhood.
Dr. Cohen and Mrs. Cohen were neighbors to my Dad in Alameda, he was a doctor and she was nurse and they had 6 daughters and two were twins. They were a lovely couple and their house was always filled with laughter, hustle and bustle and many friends. I came to know them when my father remarried and moved into Alameda. It took many years for me to accept his new wife and so visits to my Dad's house at that time was not that great, not to mention my Dad was usually chilling on the couch, we just wanted to get as far away as we could get especially since we weren't really happy about the situation of having a new Step Mother. The Cohen's had plenty of children to play with and we made fast friends and the parents welcomed us with open hearts. We spent many great times playing and spending the night at the Cohen's house while growing up. We couldn't wait to go over to visit when we came to Alameda every other weekend.
Mr. Cohen was a tall, quiet and strong man, and only raised his voice when we were being out of line. I think he found all these girls he was surrounded by entertaining. I always admired how he dealt with being the only male in this household filled with larger than life females. He was well known in the community and he and his wife have had well over 50 years of marriage and raised 6 beautiful and talented women, that have families of their own.
I am sorry, that life get's so busy that you don't take time to acknowledge those that played a pivotal part in your life. Unfortunately Mr. Cohen is too sick to tell him myself, but I thank him and Mrs. Cohen for all the love and support that they gave to me during a difficult time in my life. Their open door policy made our time visiting fun, exciting and filled with joy and laughter. Mrs. Cohen listened many a time to my fears, pains, and gripes of dealing with growing up and with my parents divorce. She was the first one to put me on the path to healing through EFT workshops. Who would have known that those life opening experiences would have taken root to me becoming the mindful person I continue to learn to be.
Don't forget to be grateful for all the people who come into your life by design to help navigate this world. There are many and we truly are never alone if we are open to receiving all the gifts that present themselves on our journey. Make time to tell those that have helped you on your journey sooner than later.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Cohen for being a part of my village, I am grateful for everything you did for me and the friendship of your daughters. I love you both very much and I know Mr. Cohen will be another angel watching over of us down here on earth. May you rest peacefully after a life well lived.
Where do you find your peace, inspiration and joy?
In this world of busy and over scheduling do you allow yourself time to "just be" with yourself?
Do obligations, should's, and have to's keep you from enjoying even 30 minutes of me time?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions than I challenge you to consider carving out 30 minutes a day to STOP!
Lisa Rossi is a Bay Area Native who exchanged her city life at age 40 for the country life. She has been using her rural lessons and overall life lessons to encourage and teach others that change is possible at any age and dreams can come true!