Creative Living

(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 19, click here for all prompts so far)


 

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert asks “Do you have the courage to brig forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

And I suppose that’s the premise of the book. To engage you in actively polishing yourself, discovering your own tools and shine.

I have found different effective ways to hold myself afloat and live a life of dream, with the constant efficient and loving support of my team. And one of the ways that I have discovered I can be my happiest is by making my wellbeing an active priority in my life. And I’ve found how practical art therapy can be in gently removing mental blocks and getting us to face ourselves.

Gilbert goes on to say “The courage to go on that hunt in the first place –that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one”. Like Julia Cameron in “The Artist’s Way”, Elizabeth explains how Creative Living isn’t just for people that want to be dedicated to the Arts. There are stories everywhere of people that find different fulfillment through coming up with activities and projects they maybe hadn’t even thought of, because they discarded it from their system before ever even giving it a real chance because of fear and social conditioning.

Creative Living allows us to live what fulfills us, it allows to access the creator aspects of ourselves, to have better control of our lives.

What happens when we already feel like we’re creative living? When we are already leading a super interesting life and we feel like we are living our dream?

At that point, the next step to complete the cycle is to seek ways to share the abundance that is within us. A way to give what is great within us.


SeLoFest17

The Prompt: Do you practice creative living? Do you share what you give with others somehow? Do you volunteer, offer what you have to think, share your wisdom?

The activity: What is a project that you would like to begin within the next month? What is something that you can realistically do that you can begin doing now and will help you out in your life? let’s plan a project for your future together, and discuss action steps you can take to begin this small project to bring you more joy.

In your journal: Brain storm joy! What could you do? Make an idea forest or ocean or scenery. Just jot down ideas of things that might be fun to do.

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creative living circa 2016

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On Empty

(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 18, click here for all prompts so far)


When there’s no more energy,
no more motivation
no more reason
no more desire
no more will
no more power
when you just
can
Not
Love yourself.
When it’s dark
and stormy
and there’s nothing
nothing
nothing anywhere

What do you do? What do you give? How do you love yourself?
By allowing. By accepting. By letting yourself feel that way, accepting that this is how you feel, forgiving yourself for any way that you are hurting yourself, and rest.
Take the time to rest. Take the time for your survival, for your breath, for your brain.

Because the truth of the matter is, that no matter what you believe, you deserve that time, to hurt, to acknowledge the garbage, the shit, the blatant unfairness, the fucking injustice, the helplessness and hopelessness. You deserve the time to breathe that in, and feel those feelings. I would perhaps even say, you must. If you want to live the joy of freedom, then you must allow yourself the freedom, and you must take the time.


#SeLoFest17

The Prompt: Give voice to the parts of you that you are not giving the time to.

The activity: Meditate for 30 minutes. Allow yourself to sit in your feelings. Let the voices have their space. Do not judge them, shame them, or shush them. Allow yourself the guilt that may come with them. Let the light of your meditation be forgiveness. Practice self compassion.

In your journal: Allow yourself to express your subconscious. Write or draw whatever comes forth for you. Make lists, draw circles, make dots, write poetry, allow whatever needs to come forth, to just come forth.

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Something I wrote a few days ago that is my reminder of why we deserve self forgiveness.

Gorgeous

(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 17, click here for all prompts so far)


 

My mother is a beautiful woman. I have never met a woman more beautiful than my mother. I would obviously say she’s beautiful, because she’s my mother, but I also know that many other people would agree. Including the two very handsome husbands she has had. To me, her beauty is only enhanced by the outer layers of her expression. Her beautiful dark hair, cascading down her back, her tallness. To me, the beauty of my mother’s skin reflected my history, my ancestry, my home, nurturing, femininity, Nefertiti, Aphrodite, Mother Nature herself. That is the beauty of my mother.

I grew up surrounded by a beautiful family and beautiful home, and as a girl in the 21st century, I grew up being taught the importance of being beautiful.As society would have it, as the daughter in a family, I grew up hearing “you are beautiful” over and over again, as the first thing people would say to me. Beaming at me, proudly, as if I had succeeded in meeting their expectations. I felt good, of course, at first. Eventually, it felt like cheating, to be praised for something I couldn’t control, that was deemed on to me based on fickle trends, and people’s own perspective. I also felt guilty when placed in a situation where I was being compared to someone else as being more beautiful, and like I’d failed as a human when being told I was less than.

At one point, I wanted to separate myself from the whole aspect of being beautiful, and spent a long time questioning my need to be beautiful, to gain other people’s approval. I also, like most women in today’s world, was dealing with body image issues.

It’s been a long healing process.

There was a strong part of me, however, that felt attracted to aesthetics, that cherished beauty, if in more nuanced ways perhaps, but I still appreciated it. Running away from that aspect of myself just to prove a point, was just as shallow as only caring about the exterior beauty of things, since it removes the importance of our own creative expression. As humans, we are filled with an undeniable urge to create, and our inspiration is the breath of creation.

There is one thing I appreciate about the French culture and it is that it has opened my eyes into better understanding the importance of art in living. And art is the expression of the beauty within us. Beauty is just as intrinsic in our nature as art itself, healing our relationship with beauty, among so many other things, allows us to express our greatness in more creative and effective ways.

But before coming to France, I wasn’t there yet. In fact, I feared beauty.

Beauty had begun to feel like a responsibility, like a contract. If I didn’t look beautiful, people would comment on what I needed to do to be more like what they thought should be beautiful, like lose weight, wear a little bit of make up, do something normal with my hair, dont get too many piercings or tattoos, and dress within a certain acceptable boundary. And be beautiful for the rest of your life, which everyone knows you can’t be, so just pretend to be for as long as possible, and then once we all agree you no longer are young and beautiful, your femininity becomes irrelevant and eventually, so does your humanity.

I knew that the weight was, in fact, a construct of society. I thought it, and so did society. We all agreed on this contract.

So I cut my hair. And that was the beginning to the first step of taking my femininity and my beauty back in my hands. Feeling beautiful, being beautiful, life Love, is about Knowing one is beautiful. It is about accessing that within us, and Knowing it to be true, then Living that truth.

Interestingly enough, a huge factor in me learning this, and being free from the responsibility of being every other beholder’s beautiful, was Instagram.

Back when I first began this journey in body positivity (I had gained a lot of weight and was dealing with horrible self laothing) I began finding, on instagram, beautiful confident fat women that were models, or simply spoke person for the Proud Black Woman living her true self.

In 2017, this market has exploded, into hundreds (probably thousands) of profiles of people who celebrate their bodies and their right to love themselves as they are. It hasn’t stopped there, instagram eventually became the place for me to find the people that looked nothing like me yet somehow sounded just like me in their expression of the freedom they wanted for themselves. And despite so many of them being considered outside of what I was taught was the box of beauty and normalcy I should look within, I found beauty in these people living their authentic selves.

While there is also the very unhealthy side of Instagram which is people making up fake lives of perfection only to be the source of immense envy (Yep, it’s The Joneses: The App) it’s also an excellent tool of communication for so many people across the globe that are somehow part of the same community.

I still like my hair short, because I reclaimed my right to feel beautiful regardless of what anyone else says I should. I know I have the risk-taking boldness of youth, but I have seen past generations, and my own, have the experienced boldness of age, and I hope to dance into my 40’s, and 50’s, as gracefully as my mother has, while doing it with the courage to be myself that my generation has taught me.

Loving every roll, wrinkle, hair, mole, and scar.

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SeLoFest17 Challenge

The Prompt: What makes you feel beautiful? Are there things you have stopped doing because you don’t feel they are appropriate or afraid that someone else would judge you? Has it felt good in the long run? Do you under or overdo your makeup, hair, and clothes as a way to run away from your authentic beauty?

The activity: Write a love letter to your body

In your journal: draw yourself in a way that makes you feel cute, sexy, beautiful, gorgeous. Design your outfit, your make up. How do you express your beauty to the world?