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 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!

Oh Say Can You See?

I recently read something that really pissed me off.

Harvard Business Review published an article called Women and the Vision Thing.
The subtitle got me going right away.

Basically, the claim was that women are judged to be less visionary than men.

Okay, this article was talking about business, women and leadership.

But it got me thinking about women in general and our visions.

Is it true that women are less visionary then men?

OR is it true that women have plenty of vision, but what has been lacking is the ability to empower those visions enough so that they get out into the world? To initiate enough forward motion that would usher in the help, resources, and perseverance that it usually takes to realize a vision in real life.

Perhaps we are too exhausted from banging our heads against walls that simply aren’t moving because, generally speaking, we tend to be the ones who provide the support, not the ones whose visions get supported.

This can be as true on a personal level as it is in business.

BoredWe Hold Too Much Sadness and Resignation

A vision is an image that appears in the mind or the imagination, sometimes as a flash of insight, sometimes created as a fully formed, detailed version of the end product.

In this case, the end product is your life.

A vision needs a creator. First to see the vision, then to recognize it as worthy of creation, and if she is the one to do it, finally to create it.

Conditioning and social structures have laid some very deep tracks in our DNA for women to support others rather than create our own visions. Or have our visions supported.

What gets sacrificed most often is a woman’s creative voice, her creative expression. We make everything and everyone more important than our own creative work.

No matter how many times we’ve heard it, we do not put our oxygen mask on first. This has always been the way. For most of us.

The thing is, we are all naturally creative beings.

To not create or express what we see inside, our visions and our dreams. To squash the creative desires that come naturally to us. To not know and love our unique creative voice. This is what leads to so much unhappiness and sadness in the world.

If you are squirming in your seat right now…good!

You are hearing the discontent of the still, small voice within that is yearning to receive your attention, your time, any time to see the vision that is lying dormant inside you.

Linda at 5I Had It Early On But I Forgot…[Visual Journal Page]

Personally, I am very familiar with this struggle.

I came into the world curious and creative only to realize these qualities were not particularly appreciated. I diverted my attention to various paths that all ended with lack of interest.

Until I recognized and reclaimed my own creative voice and valued my passions and desires, I was restless, frustrated and dissatisfied.

I understand how difficult it is to put your creative voice in a position of primary importance, how easy it is to discount it.

I also know that acknowledging your own dreams and desires as valid is what will make the difference between a lackluster life and a divine life filled with glorious moments of extended bliss.

Yes, that is really possible.

With a vision.

Finding your own personal vision for your life is like having your own personal guidance system. You are clear on where you want to go and the process of getting there unfolds before you like the red carpet on Oscar night.

Your creative voice is given the place of honor in your life that it deserves.

Young woman with visionWhat Does Your Divine Life Look Like?

No, women do not lack vision.

We have all the vision in our hearts the world can sustain.

What we need is the clarity and confidence to see our visions as valid and possible. To give them importance and priority.

Only then will we gather the help, resources and support we need to make our visions real.

If you are currently unsatisfied with where your life is headed,

If you are in a transition and don’t know which way to go,

If you are sick and tired of sacrificing your own creative voice to answer the call of duty,

I have an invitation waiting for you…click here to see it

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