Could This Be Your Answer?

Looking for a document on my computer the other day, I came across a PowerPoint presentation for a talk I gave 3 years ago. Suddenly, all the thoughts and feelings I had about being center stage erupted in my memory.

The talk didn’t go well. To say the least.

It was an out-of-body experience that had me walking stiffly across the stage and forgetting a main point here and there. It was an unpleasant memory that I’d rather leave alone.

Panel One1st Panel ~ Visual Journal Pages ~ Linda Hough 2016

I quickly brought my thoughts back to the present and wondered whether I’d ever voluntarily decide to be on stage again.

What really got my attention though was looking over the content of the presentation entitled Live Your Biggest Vision.

As I scrolled the panels of the PowerPoint I found myself smiling.

Visions and visionaries have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. It occurred to me that occasionally life has a funny way of pulling all the scattered pieces together and showing you the big picture.

Reflecting back on my one and only speaking experience, I have learned that sharing my message is best done through the visual assemblage of images and words, and certainly not from the stage.

vision PosterPoster ~ Linda Hough 2016

What I see now is that everything I’ve spent my life learning is coming into play.

Coaching amplifies the importance of living true to ourselves and honoring our gifts and challenges.

Creating my own art, experiencing the freedom of self-expression, the deep healing and joy I’ve received from following this path.

And now visual journaling, a tool that is beyond measure for self-inquiry, creative practice and working out pretty much any difficulty.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to embrace life as a creative path traveling through beauty and bumps but always a journey of meaning and fulfillment.

At the end of last year, I came full circle back around to my origins.

Thinking my exhibition days were behind me, I was surprised and delighted when offered dates in December to exhibit some of my work in a local bio café.

Along with paintings, for the first time ever I displayed the three panels of visual journaling pages that you see here.

Panel Two2nd Panel ~ Visual Journal Pages ~ Linda Hough 2016

One of the most valuable experiences I’ve had with visual journaling is the practice of becoming comfortable with not-knowing.

For many people, maybe even you, not-knowing can be extremely uncomfortable.

Not knowing what you are doing next. Not knowing where you’re headed or with whom or how you are going to get there. Not knowing your big picture. Not knowing when you’ll know.

Extremely. Uncomfortable.

Yet, it is in this place of not-knowing that all answers exist.

Being comfortable not-knowing is the key to knowing.

But how do you become comfortable in this ever-so-uncomfortable place?

Like anything else you learn to do, you practice.

You practice entering into the unknown. And you practice being comfortable there.

Believe me, it does take practice.

It’s completely possible.

And the answers come.

Panel Three3rd Panel ~ Visual Journal Pages ~ Linda Hough 2016

What if all the elements of YOUR life are forming your own big picture, you just don’t know what it is yet?

Imagine gaining clarity where you most need it.

Imagine at the same time developing your creative abilities.

Then imagine being able to see into your future.

This is the process I’ve developed.

Click here if you’d like to know more.

When Your Heart Is On Fire

My heart is on fire this morning with the beauty of images and words and the human spirit.

On my way home from an in-person coaching session yesterday, I suddenly felt like not going home at all. The sun was shining, people were out, I didn’t have anything scheduled or pressing to do.

I decided to follow this feeling I can only describe as the desire to experience something new.

I stopped ‘thinking’ and let myself wander. I began walking towards the side of town that I don’t often frequent.

Books Books BooksBeautiful Beautiful Books! ~ Librairie de la Basse Fontaine ~ Vence, France

On a corner is an old bookstore that specializes in art and antiquity books and has been there for I don’t know how many years. Every time I look at this store and the wealth of knowledge and beauty inside, I am overcome with a feeling of deep satisfaction knowing that places like this still exist in the world.

This time around, I discovered that the owner had put in a small gallery space on one side of the shop where, among other pieces, he is displaying small drawings by Chagall.

Chagall who lived and WORKED here for God’s sake.

chagall drawingsChagall Drawings ~ Librairie de la Basse Fontaine ~ Vence, France

As I stood in admiration, I imagined Chagall doing these very personal drawings on the spot.

I then wandered around in the old town, looking at the shops and galleries, noticing how some had come and gone. Though the walls are ancient, the old town is always alive with change.

My artist eye became attracted to some interesting spots on the wall. Out comes my iPhone to take photos.

Vence Wall ArtVence Wall Art ~ Vence France ~ Photo by Linda Hough

I am now reminded of the idea of taking yourself on an artist date as Julia Cameron describes in The Artists Way. What she suggests is regularly scheduling a time where you go out and do something that inspires you creatively.

Suddenly a whole new area of my brain is lit up and my awareness increases. This day is bringing about some unexpected insight. 

My walk-about continues, taking me past a popular bakery where earlier this month, I had discovered some bits of delight that involve pralines, chocolate, cream and almonds. Yum!

I didn’t stop because I found myself heading more intentionally towards the Tabac where they sell many items including magazines.

There, I let my eyes feast on the bounty of images before me.

I looked at an article on the Matisse collage exhibit in New York. He too lived and worked in Vence. Every day, I look out at the Chapel he designed and built in the later years of his life and am reminded that beauty and inspiration are always here if one has the desire to see.

Then my eyes fell onto a cover with delightful spots of color. I saw that it is a new magazine called FLOW. I picked it up, took one look inside and fell in love immediately.

Flow MagazineFLOW Magazine ~ French Edition #1

When I got home, I discovered that FLOW is the product of the vision of three Dutch women.

I’ll let them tell their own story: We dreamed of a magazine with which we could explore our love of paper. A magazine of unhurried time, all about doing things differently and making new choices. Small happiness, daily life and the beauty of not always managing to be perfect. That is how Flow began. Flow is all about positive psychology, mindfulness, creativity and the beauty of imperfection. We love illustrations and in each issue there is a gift made of our much-loved paper. We print the magazine itself on different types of paper.

That did it for me. They had me at love of paper. Bingo. I’m hooked.

They first published in Dutch, then English and now the first edition in French, which is what I’m clutching in my hands. And true to their word, there is a lovely notebook included inside.

Even now, I feel so alive and inspired by their creation that I can barely type.

This is what it means to have a vision and carry it through to fruition.

Imagine yourself and two of your friends talking about whatever it is that is inside YOU to do.

And then you go home and do nothing.

These women took their vision, their dreams and desires and created something that affects the world. Here I am, sitting in France, completely captivated by their end product.

What if they had just kept talking and done nothing?

There would be no FLOW in the world.

Queen + Adam Lambert with QuoteQueen + Adam Lambert in Concert ~ Paris 2015 ~ Photo by Linda Hough

What vision or dream are you holding inside that wants to come out and be part of the world?

What desire do you have that you are afraid to follow?

What creative expression lies inside waiting to be seen, even if only by you?

This week, take yourself on a date of discovery. Wander about in a place that has a special attraction for you. Use ten minutes of your lunchtime to go someplace new. Or drive or walk a different route than normal.

You might find some unexpected inspiration.

You might find a new insight.

You might just find that thing you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Click here to check out FLOW Magazine in English
I have no affiliation with the magazine.
I do love to pass along inspirational resources and tools that work!

What Do Recent Events in Paris Have to Do With YOU?

An estimated 3,000,000 people marched in Paris on Sunday.

Why? Because some guys with pens drew some pictures that some people didn’t like.

That’s the simple version. Granted, it is a complex issue with many factors competing for attention.

What we can say is that, for hundreds of thousands of people, coming out of the house on a Sunday afternoon is an effort worth taking to support freedom of expression.

As well, a massive outpouring of grief, sadness, and solidarity.

marianneLinda Hough ‘In Honor of Liberty, Fraternity, Equality` [Visual Journal Page] 2015

But what does this have to do with you directly?

How many times have you held back what you wanted to say or do because you were afraid someone’s opinion or reaction?

How many times have you not expressed yourself out of fear?

In one of the groups I belong to, there was a long discussion about how often this happens. Especially for women.

Remember the witch trials? Many of us have ancestral memories of having been killed for our healing abilities, our creative expression, claiming our independence etc. History is rife with such examples.

You may not know exactly where your fear comes from but you know it is stopping you.

The primary reason I created the Shine Your Light Tele-Summit several years ago now was to empower women’s expression. I invited 13 successful women and 1 man to share tools that we could use to come out of the shadows and shine our lights according to the Marianne Williamson quote*.

How has your life changed since then?

I admit that much of my own journey has been about walking the line between safety and putting my creative expression out into the world.

So far, I’ve been siding more towards safety.

But after this week, I can no longer hide behind any fear I may feel.

It’s time to fully embrace my purpose. 

NoTurning BackLinda Hough [Visual Journal Page] 2015

Since I was little, I’ve been captivated by beauty and inspiration. The visual journaling that I’m now doing has enabled me to rediscover this passion as I shared with you last week.

I’m only now grasping what a powerful tool it is.

I’ve uncovered many aspects of myself that were hiding out, in fear of showing up in real life.

But through my journal pages, I’m seeing how much this has cost me. I’m no longer willing to pay the price of sadness, frustration, or even anger at unconsciously keeping the whole of myself at bay.

Now you don’t have to either. 

remember72Linda Hough [Visual Journal Page] 2015

If you’ve been feeling not at all satisfied with your life as it is right now,

If you’ve been holding back your passion or purpose, or aren’t even sure what they are,

If you’ve been missing your creative voice or want to find it in the first place,

I invite you to join me for your very own private workshop: Creating Your Life Through Visual Journaling

Click here or on the WORKSHOP tab in the Menu bar for all the glorious details.

 

~ ~ ~ ~
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

The Missing Piece

Have you ever felt that something is missing?

It could be that little nagging feeling in the back of your mind or it could be a huge flashing sign beaming out in front of you.

Either way, the feeling is one of unease, discontent, even great frustration.

During the course of my life, this has been my background story. I studied art and painting thinking This is IT! I felt alone in the studio.

I became a certified life coach wanting to support people in living a richer life. I missed my art.

Deciding to combine my two loves, I sought to empower the impulse for creative expression in others.

joy.smLinda Hough [Visual Journal Page] 2015

Getting there but still, something was missing.

Last year, amongst the moving and shifting of the whole of my life, I found the missing piece. I shared with you in April about the liberating experience of process and paint that is visual journaling.

After months of working with this amazing tool, I can honestly declare THIS IS IT! I had the art and the coaching components in place. When I got to taking a good look at that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, I realized I’d left out one more very important piece.

booksJust a small sample of my personal library

My passion for books has always been alive and fueling me through the ups and downs of life. They were there when I was searching as a young girl. They were there when I was confused about relationships, in need of inspiration or longing to understand the big questions in life.

They were my friends, alongside of my real friends.

The most fun I had in art school was in book-making class.

How could I have left out my greatest passion?? Isn’t it obvious I’d want to incorporate books into my work when they play such an important part in my life?

Not really.

For one, I took this passion for granted. My love was always there in the background.

Like many great loves, books also became overwhelming. They take up space. (Yes, I have a Kindle but that’s a whole other story. It’s just not the same as a real book.)

And they call out for your attention. They want to be read. From time to time, I had to get some distance from them.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Passions are funny things.

We have a choice. We can embrace them or we can push them away. Sometimes we allow them a sneak peak.

Passions come with some big questions involving mostly time and money investment they don’t feel is practical
or purposeful. So they put theirs aside.

But real passion never actually goes away. If you aren’t expressing yours, it’s there waiting for your attention.

Now my days are filled with a deep feeling of home. Not only because I am back in France but also because I have found that thing that makes my heart very, very happy.

In these early days of 2015, instead of resolutions, make a commitment to explore, embrace or at least acknowledge your own passion.

You just may find your own missing peace. (not a typo ☺ )

Life.Playground.smLinda Hough [Visual Journal Page] 2015