An Incredible Lightness of BEing

play, peace, powerPeace, Play & Pleasure, Visual Journal Page, ©Linda Hough 2015

Today, as I sat on the couch with my morning cup of coffee, I noticed something different.

I have changed.

Instead of thinking about all the things I’m not doing, the food I’m not eating, the person I’m not becoming, I was thinking about the opposite.

And I was noticing that this change is not a momentary blip in an otherwise ordinary morning, but something deep down that has actually transformed.

Having a daily creative practice has lightened up my life. When I’m working in my visual journal, I am having a personal conversation with myself. Not the self that is enjoying this beautiful Sunday morning. But rather the deep Self that doesn’t often get a chance to speak.

When I’m sitting at the table, my journal in front of me, I never know where I’m going. The colors beckon, the images delight and suddenly one is chosen. There is paint involved, glue and often, colored pens and markers. I feel myself gently enter the flow, where nothing else matters but that which is before me. My whole BEing smiles.

Sometimes it is in the middle of the journey, or sometimes not till the very end, that I know or understand what it is I’m creating.

Sometimes the journey is rough, confusing and unclear, as nothing makes sense. Through persistence, through patience and sometimes a night’s rest, the next step always emerges.

Thus far, the journey has taken me on the ride of my life. Literally, I comb the depths of my soul for information that leads me to discover more of who I really am.

As this is happening, I realize I’m significantly more content with almost everything.

I no longer have the desire to numb myself with meaningless distractions. After years of struggling with food cravings, I find that I can easily sit next to my husband as he crunches on chips, or enjoys French bread and pastries. I’m not even tempted.

When I feel troubled or the desire to explore something, I know exactly where to go. I sit down and lose myself in my visual journaling, only to find the most precious of gifts.

I take the first steps into the unknowning and trust that the process will do as it always does, show me the way. I pour out my deepest emotions and receive the grace of understanding and wisdom.

The most amazing gift of all is that everything I experience in my journal, I can take into life. The creative process transfers directly to life, making life a whole lot more fun.

Simple color and interesting shapes make up stories that emerge out of nothing. As I look at my table even now, I know the joy will never end because there is always something new and different to discover. Always a mystery to unveil or a question to be answered.

Here, in the pages of my journal, I’ve found my sanctuary, my soul space, my heartbeat. And I’ve found this most incredible lightness of BEing.

When Your Worrisome Thoughts Are Driving You Crazy

Worry to Prayer ~ Digital Poster ~ ©Linda Hough

Sometimes all we need is a short and clear reminder that we CAN be in charge of what we are thinking.

When you find yourself worrying about something or someone, flip the negative thought into a positive intention or prayer and obsess on THAT.

See if you don’t immediately feel a whole lot better.

Meet the New Me

Thank you again for your questions and comments. Let’s keep them going. Please CLICK HERE to ask your question or comment on anything you’d care to mention.

This Week’s Question:
I really enjoyed watching your creative process unfold. Are you still painting and where does that fit in with what you are doing now?

Thanks so much for asking. The creative process is an integral part of my life and rather than just applying it through paint, I’m exploring my desire to experience my life as one continuously creative act. We are always creating our lives through action and reaction. My purpose is to become more conscious of what it is I’m creating in my life and to help others do the same.

Switched On ~ 8” x 8” Oil on Panel ~ ©Linda Hough

What I recently realized was that I was using the process of painting as a path to healing some very deep wounds. My long journey was a step-by-step process that I was unconsciously following to regain confidence in my creative expression. And through that, acceptance of who I really am.

Through painting, I developed the ability to lose myself in the creative flow that happens when you are present only to what you are doing, dance with the divine creative energies and represent my ideas on canvas.

Now, I am doing the same with words. I am deeply interested in all the ways we hold ourselves back from attaining our desires and goals, our intentions and dreams. I am interested in the constant battle between what we really want and what we actually do.

Eternal Mother ~ 8” x 8” Collage on Board ~ ©Linda Hough

Exploring this inner terrain has fascinated me since I was in high school. We are seeing so many breakthroughs with regards to how our minds work, the energies of universal laws and stepping up to new levels of awareness that I can’t help but be excited about the possibilities.

However, at the same time, so much is breaking down. Often, it is difficult to determine what exactly IS going on and how to find our true home in this crazy world. My intention with this new work is to provide some information that helps make sense of not only our lives today but also the big picture as a whole.

Within us, there are many energetic patterns that determine how we experience our lives. Some of these patterns are old habits we are holding on to. The experience of pain or suffering is a good indication that you have energetic patterns that need to be released. When you are able to do so, your life will take on an entirely different quality. Of this, you can be sure.

Passion Alive ~ 8” x 10” Collage on Panel ~ ©Linda Hough

Ultimately, my intention is to combine my all loves into one big, beautiful extravaganza of love and color and vibrant expression that is my life. In the weeks to come, you’ll see these changes reflected visually in this newsletter and maybe even a new website.

I hope that you continue to join me on this journey and perhaps even begin yourself to more consciously experience your very own creative project called life.

Authentically Dancing with Joy

One Night ~ 18″ x 24″ ~ Mixed Media on Paper

When you last heard from me, I was in the process of revitalizing my artistic career. Although my mind was very intent on getting my work out into the world, I was beginning to suspect that my heart had other ideas. And then my friend died.

If you’ve ever had anyone close to you pass away, after the shock wears off and the grief subsides, you may have found yourself doing an involuntary reassessment of your own life. Especially if the person was taken quickly. As I wrote at the time, I imagined she woke up just like every other morning and did what she always did. Then suddenly she was gone.

That sort of suddenness really hit me hard. I began letting the thoughts that were just below the surface rise to the top. I had been struggling way too much in my painting. I was not happy. You may have been able to tell in my writing. Maybe you could feel some of the pain lying underneath it all.

So I stopped painting for a while. I stopped trying to force something that didn’t want to happen.

But what I didn’t stop doing was immersing myself in personal growth reading and spiritual teachings. Nothing makes my heart soar faster than turning the pages of a really wise book and savoring the ideas as they transform, or not, my current thinking. This was a clue.

Most of you are reading this newsletter as a result of my Shine Your Light Tele-Summit. I thought back to that time and what I wanted to accomplish. So many of us carry this deep, inner pain lying just under the surface of our lives. We ask ourselves questions that we cannot answer. And we KNOW there has to be more than what we are experiencing.

What do you do when your light is all stuck inside with no obvious way out? What if it isn’t quite willing to be expressed? Too fearful or shy?

Eventually you begin to hurt. The pain begins to take its toll. First in little ways, a lack of confidence, a slip of self-esteem. You may not even notice it at first but with time, the pain grows and makes itself known in continually larger ways. I know because that was my life.

Passion Flow ~ 18” x 24” ~ Acrylic on Paper

In search of relief, I took a leap of faith and traveled to Boston to a workshop called Authentic Voice. There, among other things, I learned about intuitive writing and intuitive painting. I got in touch with what authentic voice means and my own latent potential. Most of all, I got in touch with the deepest part of myself, the part who wants to express, who wants to paint and dance with joy.

When I got home, out came the paintbrushes. One Night (top) and Passion Flow (above) are two in a series of intuitive paintings where I finally cut loose and let myself just express. The self-critic was gone and in its place were trust, allowing and joy.

Was I happy or what? I knew that I had been missing something. The passion had not been there. The desire all locked away. But now, the pain that I had been feeling receded. This is what I had wanted to do all along, to just let go and connect with the part of myself that knows what to do.

Totem 63” x 72” Oil on Canvas

I even got to that big, giant canvas I had stapled to the wall. (above) But most of all, I understood that my passion lies somewhere between painting and helping others experience their authentic voices so that they too can express their true selves, shine their light and dance with joy.

Full Disclosure

The Decision (detail) ~ Oil on Canvas ~ ©Linda Hough 2002

OMG, what was I thinking??

My 10 in 10 challenge was a complete F-Bomb.

F as in Failure.

My brilliant, though ill-conceived, idea was that by giving myself the challenge to do the 10 paintings in 10 days, I’d breakthrough some invisible barrier, establish a rhythm and find my theme.

Yikes! This is a perfect example of the theory that setting goals does NOT work for everyone. It is also a perfect example of not asking the right question.

The inspiration for this challenge came about because I wanted to try something different, something I thought would shake me out of my rut.

I remember reading that Georgia O’Keefe reached an impasse early on in her painting. One day, she looked at each painting in her studio and readily identified which teacher had influenced each painting.

She wanted a style all her own, her unique voice on canvas. So she created her own challenge: to strip away all that she knew about art and begin again at the beginning.

Abstraction ~ Charcoal on Paper ~ Georgia O’Keefe 1915

She used only charcoal and paper and began to express what was deep inside. Out of these explorations came some of the first abstract works ever done in this country.

When Alfred Stiglitz, renowned gallery owner and her future husband, saw these works for the first time, he exclaimed: finally, a woman on paper.

This idea of exploration was what I had in mind when I set myself the challenge. But you can see how very different the process was. Rather than allowing the natural unfolding of something new and authentic, I somehow posed a challenge that I was unconsciously hoping would rip my insides out. Clearly a more violent and unnatural approach, one that goes completely against my very nature.

So rather than experiencing my intended outcome, I retreated even further away from the direction I want to go. I stopped painting altogether. And then went on vacation.

But in true coaching fashion, rather than looking at this experiment as a failure, I am taking a look at what I learned about myself and my process.

• The very first thing is that forcing myself to paint is NOT the answer.

• Try as I might, I am not a fast painter, nor a direct painter.

• I prefer to draw or rough in the composition before starting to paint rather than using the paint to compose.

• Glazing is still my favorite way to paint. It gives me no end of joy to watch each layer influence the one below, creating glowing light and color.

• I prefer working on more precise, realistic images with a bit of mystery or fuzziness to them.

• I work best when I have several paintings going at once, not one at a time.

• I also took a look at all the self-talk I had about quitting and failure and more about expectations. Was it a failure to stop something that clearly was not working just for the sake of completing the goal? I think not.

Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch ~ Gelatin silver print ~ Todd Webb 1905

So, in true Georgia fashion, and in a way that is much more natural and authentic to my own nature, I am now officially letting go of all but one expectation: I’m going to show up and paint. That’s it. No expectation of perfection. No time constraints. In fact, no constraints at all.

I will carry on with my 10 panels but this time with a conscious awareness of exploration, emphasis on being present, and a desire to create something beautiful, something from my heart, something I’ll be more than willing to show others. 🙂