Last Minute Rush?

Fast Santa Claus
In a last minute holiday time crunch?

Don’t forget to ….

Breathe.72

Linda Hough ~ Visual Journal Page ~ 2014

I recently saw the movie ‘Words and Pictures’. It was an
entertaining reminder of the power of both words AND pictures.

Plus, watching Juliette Binoche work out a way to keep painting despite
her pain was beyond inspirational.

May 2015 bring the inspiration you need to create a magical year.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, wishing you a very merry holiday celebration!

Wow, Life Can Be Amazing When You Get Out of The Way!

I am writing to you again from the south of France where I have returned to live. A short catch up story and then on to what’s next.

In the last chapter of my newsletter (seems like eons ago), you might recall that I was trudging along trying to figure out how to get painting back into my life while working too many hours at the small B&B.

I finally had to admit to myself that painting wasn’t going to happen. I gave up on any further attempts as well as my newsletter and blog.

The DecisionThe Decision (detail) ~ Oil on Canvas on Panel 13” x 20” ~ ©Linda Hough

Somewhat despondent, feeling like I had failed at my quest, I continued the daily routine, happy to have something productive to do.

All the while, I kept my deepest desire alive: to combine some form of creativity with the coaching tools I know to be effective.

I was also repairing the relationship that had brought me to, and then back from France.

Without a doubt, coaching became the valuable tool that brought us back together. Through an excellent relationship coach, and with massive work on both our parts, we healed the past hurts and closed the gap that kept us apart.

In one fell swoop, it was time to say good-bye to the desert again, and return to the place I now call home.

SPdV-6View from a hike to St. Paul de Vence, France

Ah….french cheese, wine and chocolate divine. Oh how i missed you.

But I digress.

Just as I arrived back in France, another key piece in my life puzzle fell into place. I discovered visual journaling.

In lieu of painting, I had been working with collage. But that wasn’t quite the process I was looking for. I felt good about the work but something was definitely missing.

This missing piece was…drum roll please… PAINT!

And randomness. And messiness. And freedom.

Oh, the freedom! Yes, undeniably I was on fire with visual journaling.

Fast forward a couple of months. I’m all settled back in and happy, rather ecstatic, to announce the culmination of my creative and coaching work, my perfect combination of expression and exploration: Creating Life Through Visual Journaling workshop.

Saying Yes Saying No

If you’re in a place of transition, of not knowing what you want to do, where you want to go, or who you even are, if you find life dissatisfying and KNOW there is something more.

It’s fun. It creates results. And you’ll never look at life the same way again. You’ll find more information is under WORKSHOP tab.

My great appreciation to you for continuing this journey with me. I look forward to sharing the brightest and best bits of visual journaling with you.

The Good News and the Bad News

I had a couple of interesting conversations this week.

In The DarkIn The Dark ~ Oil on Panel 16” x 16” ©Linda Hough
[Private Collection]

The conversations went something like this: I’m so unhappy right now. Life sucks. My work sucks. I’m bored and done with it all. That was their part.

My part: I’m really sorry to hear that. I know you as someone who has so much life in you, so creative and enthusiastic. Maybe you just need a change of scenery? Perhaps a trip would do you good.

Other person: I’ve got no money to go anywhere.

Me: Hmm, why not pour all that energy into some art? Go back to your roots and create something.

Other person: That takes money AND space. Can’t do that.

Me: Really? Could you not eek out some space on the table to sit down and draw? Or even just brainstorm some future ideas?

Other person: No I can’t. Why did I even call you?

Me: Because you know I know who you really are.

Not deterred for a minute, I continue to offer up possible ways to get this downward-spiraling energy interested in something besides spiraling down.

Maybe you can see where it led.

That’s right….nowhere.

There was an excuse for every idea, a counterpoint to every point. These people were committed to their path of misery.

Even if you can’t relate to this in the moment, I’d imagine there’s been a time or two when you could. I know I’ve been there myself: don’t bother me, I’m suffering.

The Decision detailThe Decision (detail) ~ Oil on Canvas on Panel 13” x 20” ©Linda Hough
[ Available ]

So, here’s the good news and the bad news.

The good news first: You are completely in charge of yourself. You have the ability to change your trajectory. It takes a couple of things. First, feeling bad enough that you want to change. Second, making a decision that you will take at least a little step forward to turn your energy around.

The bad news now: You are completely in charge of yourself. You have the ability to change your trajectory. Why is this bad news? Because with this information, you cannot blame someone else. You cannot give responsibility to someone else. You cannot wait to be rescued.

Well you can…but ultimately you are the one in charge of determining how you want to live. Victim or creator, it really is your choice.

This is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make in your life. The perspective from which you look out into the world will determine how you experience it. Quantum physics has proven this beyond a doubt. See the world as a victim and you get to be right. See the world as a creator and unlock the power of your creative expression. Then watch how impossible it is to be miserable.

Do you want to lift yourself up to the kind of life you WANT to live? Whether you believe it is possible or not, you’ll be right.

Dance of the HeyokaThe Dance of Crazy Wisdom ~ Weaving 16” x 20” ©Linda Hough
[ Available ]

Here are 5 important points that any creator will want to activate:

– Find the one thing that is absolutely worth living for. EVERYONE has something deep within that is calling out for expression. Often our frustration and dissatisfaction is a symptom of not expressing our gifts and/or authentic self. If we are hiding our talents and true self, we are bound to be some degree of miserable.

– At some point, you’ll want to make a good solid decision about how you want to live your life. Do you want to be in the driver’s seat as creator or do you want to continue to sit in the back seat while someone else drives you where they want to go? You get to decide.

Bring your body and mind into a physically healthy state. What you put in affects what you get out. It takes energy to move life forward in the direction of your choice. Having a stable, healthy physical state is helpful for any aspiring creator. Your mind gets healthier as well, the more positive, inspirational material you feed it. Again, you get to decide. When your mind is on your side, no telling what amazing feats you’ll accomplish.

Create a supportive environment. Both physically and emotionally, a supportive, friendly environment helps to keep your perspective positive and your energy high. Nothing beats misery more than a beautiful space to inhabit, the right tools for your creation, inspiring music, and the support of people who believe in you.

Surround yourself with positive influences. This is similar to the above with an emphasis on people. Who is doing what you want to do? Who are your inspirations and what do they give you? They’ve walked your path and can show you both the pitfalls and the pleasures. Whether they are living or not, surround yourself with their wisdom.

Fall is just around the corner. Often Fall is more of a time for renewal or new beginnings than New Year’s. We can look forward to shedding what is no longer needed and moving towards a life where misery is just a memory, where we are creating something that is meaningful to us, and a life that makes our hearts sing.

I’m all in. How about you?

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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.

Calling All Perfectionists

Question:
I know being a perfectionist is working against me and causing huge stress in my life but I can’t seem to tolerate doing anything less than perfectly and am terrified of making mistakes. What do you suggest?

Answer:
There is a difference between who you are and the acts you perform. And being a perfectionist is an act. The short, unattractive story is that perfectionism is a disguise for feeling inadequate. If everything is perfect, no one will suspect what’s going on inside of you. But as you point out, there is much stress involved in keeping up the charade. Your true self wants out.

Spirit In A Box ~ 5” x 8” Ink on Paper ©Linda Hough

You have what I call Spirit-In-A-Box. Your spirit is innately programmed to expand, to grow, to seek new heights, new expressions and new vistas. When your spirit is constricted by unnatural boundaries, you cannot be happy. There is always a feeling of inauthenticity because your true self is not expressing itself.

How comfortable are you when it comes to letting go of control? I can share a recent story that let me know exactly where I am on the perfectionist scale.

The other night I had 5 people coming for dinner. Earlier that day, I added another guest. This person offered to share a group healing process with us but the caveat was that he had to be on the road early.

I hadn’t planned for this.

Dinner was whole chickens and lots of veggies on the grill. Not something you can rush. People were planning on coming around 7:30. In order to have the healing group, eat, and get this person on the road on time, we had to begin at 6:30. After an initial bout of what-was-I-thinking, I got busy.

I got the grill going early. I started calling. People thought maybe they could make it earlier. Then, one person couldn’t. Then one person wasn’t sure if she could come at all due to unexpected circumstances. Time was ticking. The guy was already here. Should we eat first and then do the group and risk everyone being full and lethargic? Or should we wait until….and oh, just how many people are coming?

Outside The Comfort Zone ~ 5” x 8” Ink on Paper ©Linda Hough

At one point, I realized I was WAY outside of my comfort zone. THE PERFECT PLAN had completely disintegrated. Things might get sloppy. The person who wasn’t coming then decided to come but would be late. Do we wait to do the group or have her arrive in the middle of it? Argh!

The only relief I could find was expressing my discomfort, laughing, and then letting everything go. It would be whatever it turned out to be, I thought as I gritted my teeth and let out a big sigh.

Guess what? Everything turned out just fine, I would say ‘perfectly’, as things often do….when you let them.

Ok. I admit it. I have perfectionist tendencies. So I love this question. The evening was a great lesson in letting go of perfectionism and accepting what was. It helped to have compassionate guests who shared the same theory: it’s all good.Guess what? Everything turned out just fine, I would say ‘perfectly’, as things often do…when you let them.

But even if I hadn’t, people are responsible for their own experiences. I did my best to create a cozy environment with good food and pleasant atmosphere. We all brought our own part to the experience and together we created what turned out to be a truly magical evening by letting it simply evolve.

Joyful Self-Expression ~ 5” x 8” Ink on Paper ©Linda Hough

Uncertainty is the nature of the world we are living in. Being able to be comfortable with the unknown is the nature of the creative spirit. Any creative act has a time of not knowing. At a certain point in the work, the artist steps back and lets the creative process take over. When the artist follows this flow, she has given up control and her idea of where the art will end up.

Letting go of ‘perfect’ allows you to experience this process.

Novelists often talk about how characters take on a life of their own and direct the story. Being comfortable with letting go and trusting the process is the key to any new creation or invention.

Attention to detail in the right place is one perfectionist tendency that can add tremendously to the creative act. Many a great work of art exists because the artist refused anything less than perfection. However, for most of us, perfection only gets in the way of getting anything accomplished at all.

Mistakes do not reflect your character but your courage. Mistakes do not make you a ‘bad’ person. Mistakes are necessary for growth. Allowing yourself to experiment and fail is part of the creative process. And if you desire a life of joyful self-expression then embracing this process is a requirement.

Besides, it’s way more fun!