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Posts tagged ‘passion’

What I know About Fear – Part One

This post has actually become so gigantic that I’ve decided to separate it into two parts! My goodness, that’s a lot of fear Sarah! True true, but I hope you will find a lot of nuggets in my long-windedness. So here is part one….

I have been thinking a bit about fears this past week in relation to living the life of our dreams. We’ve all heard the question “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”. I remember trying to answer this question in the past… and I was always wishy-washy. Really, I didn’t even know what I would want to do. That’s a lie. I did know, I’ve always known. I’ve known since I was probably 5 years old. I want to be an artist. I want to make beautiful things and inspire others to do the same. This is me… quite simple. But it has taken a cataclysm in my personal life for me to see it and get true about it.

My own History with Fear
I’ve spent most of my adult life being pretty cloudy about what I want because of fear. It came from the fear that I am not worthy of living my dreams… that I do not deserve to live the life I truly want. And so, whenever asked that question, my answer was always some sort of compromised not-so-bold version of the real answer. Looking back now, I realize that I truly did NOT believe it was possible. And since I didn’t believe that I could have it or that I deserved it, I got in the way of my own voice a lot (and seriously did not even know I was doing it!). I imagine this is what many people struggle with… the believing a thing is possible for us and that we deserve to have it.

In the 3 years I spent with my fiancé, a lot changed about how I see myself and my relationship to fear. We both saw what each other was capable of, and we were always encouraging each other to follow our dreams and be our best selves. In doing so, we both went out of our comfort zones, faced a lot of fears, took a lot of chances and learned a whole lot of new stuff. He got me to shoot guns and go skydiving – and I love both! I got him to take dance lessons, dress up for a cheesy 80’s night concerts and a myriad of other ridiculous things that put him completely out of his comfort zone as a calm, reserved, small town guy. He was the one who bought me my camera, and was my photo assistant to every intimidating photo job I went on. He read every blog post enthusiastically and brainstormed on each art project with me (in fact, quite a few of my 12 month projects from last year were his ideas… including the Reclaimed Window Coffee Table, and the Ukrainian Egg Survival Kit). I played the part of flight student as he practiced hours and hours of lesson plans on everything from the the mechanics of a helicopter to aerodynamics. We each knew the other was capable of achieving our greatest dreams (even if we didn’t always believe it for ourselves) and it showed in how we made space for those dreams to grow.

Replacing Fear with Excitement
With him at my side, I learned to replace the fear of what might go wrong with the excitement of what is possible. That has been a huge shift. I started and successfully completed last year’s 12 months of creativity (which in turn lead to the creation of this blog!), I took a welding class, I started up and organized a wonderful creative group in Dallas – one which is still living on even now that I have moved out of town. None of these things were ever things I’d done before, and they all brought with them fears of their own kind. But what I found as I began to take small steps towards my dreams was that the rewards always greatly outweighed whatever fears I’d had – every time. Hands down.

Facing Fears far Bigger
Losing Drew was like the universe hitting the reset button… only I NEVER asked for a do-over. The life I had was the one I wanted. I’m now faced with years of learning how to live again and a lifetime of grieving his loss. This thought alone… this idea that it will take years to feel even halfway normal again, and that I will cry for him for the rest of my life, has scared the shit out of me. Along with the fear that I will never be able to fall in love with anyone again – that I will always be looking for him. In the first couple of months, I was terrified that I would not even survive this… that I would become some shell of a person that turned bitter and hard because of so much awful in her life. So far, thankfully at least that fear has not come true.

Fear, Passion and Creativity
To attempt to move forward in a way that would make Drew proud and keep me sane… I talk (and write) to everyone I can about what I’m going through, and spend a lot of time nurturing myself – so that I never feel alone and always feel taken care of. I spend as much time as possible living in the present, because living in the past or future is too scary and painful to go into for very long. And I make art. I paint, write, photograph, build, sketch, design, read, and brainstorm. I fill my days with as much creativity as I can. It used to be something fun to do, but now it has become vital. When I am creating or even thinking about creating, I’m able to replace all my fears with excitement again. I’m able to fully feel all my emotions there – both the good and the bad – without the fear.

I now realize that art is to me what flying was to Drew. The first time he flew a helicopter, he wrote that he could not imagine doing anything else with his life. And now I understand that feeling. Art is my lifeblood and the thing I was put on this earth to do. There is something beautiful in being able to experience that level of passion. Now I know – when I am totally lost in creativity – what flying felt like for him. It is like getting to experience a piece of him I never knew before – and maybe even a piece of myself I never knew before, too. This is a gift I am grateful for every day.

How one fear Helped Another
So as I’m writing all this out, I’m realizing that my new set of fears – these much bigger fears – have made all my old fears obsolete for the most part. Comparatively, the old fears about not being worthy and not believing I can live the life I want seem pointless to even be concerned with any longer… particularly when my mindset now is that today is all I have. I know I’m worthy of having the life I want to have, because I am living it every day now instead of waiting and hoping and planning for it. No, it’s not the life I wanted and dreamed of… it’s not the life I planned with him, but in this present moment, with what I have to work with right here, right now, I am living each day uncompromised and I am following my heart. I have made the choices yesterday that put me where I decided I wanted to be today, and I will do that today for tomorrow. The rest of it… is all faith. But I will way this, I 100% believe that living our dreams is possible now… even if I am nowhere close to being a successful artist myself, i know it will happen. and I know that there is more than enough room for all of us to do so.

To be continue…..

Flying Lessons: Whispers of Passion

Alright here we go! Diving into Kelly Rae Roberts’ course this week. I’m already about a week behind on the material after coming back from Arizona – but it was fabulous and worth it! More soon on our beautiful and healing trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon… but for now, on to my first lesson in making my creative dreams soar!

Whispers of passion – no, it’s not the newest series by the author of 50 Shades of Gray… although it sounds like it! These are the quiet voices of our heart and soul pulling at us, guiding us with slow, subtle force. These are the dreams, the places we find ourselves getting lost when we can’t sleep at night, or standing in line at the grocery story, or sitting in our cubicles or while watching TV at night. Our passions speak to us all the time, no matter what we’re doing or where we are, but it can take some pretty intense listening skills to hear it above all the chatter of everyday life.

Starting to hear my passion
I think last year was the first time since I was a little girl that I was starting to be able to hear my passion again. I began to have this yearning to create things – not to sell them or to get recognition or really DO anything with them, but just to make things again like I did as a kid… just because it was FUN! Somewhere along the road of college and jobs and money and life, I lost touch with that childlike part of myself. So for me, 2011 was all about finding it again.

My 12 Months of Creativity project really helped me to do that. Looking back, that project changed everything for me. It gave me a confidence I didn’t even know I was missing. When I started that year, I truly believed I didn’t have good ideas and that I was not really very creative (which is actually insane considering I’ve been doing some kind of art my whole life since I was old enough to hold a crayon). Thru those 12 months, I learned to value my own creativity as something beautiful and uniquely mine, and I fell in love with the joy of making things just because it’s fun!

 The whispers get louder…
Earlier this year it seems like those quiet whispers began to get louder. Gradually, I was finding myself more aware of ideas all around me, to the point that often times I’d be sitting at work just bursting with creative energy and frustrated to not be able to let it out. I started to pick up some freelance clients to do graphic design work for, I stated a local creative community, I took a welding class, I opened an Etsy shop.. I had a voracious appetite for creating things of all sorts! I started daydreaming about building enough freelance clients to be able to leave my full time job. It felt like my creative spirit was getting more and more ready for something big, and I was taking small steps forward, until the universe brought about things that required much bigger steps….

Everything changes…
As many of you know, my world changed entirely on June 12, when my fiance passed away in an accident while working as a helicopter pilot up in Washington state. Devastation is the only word for this.

Although I’ve lost both of my parents, losing Drew has been an infinitely deeper and more traumatic experience… it was the death of my whole future, of our plans, our life, our family. It is the only experience I’ve come against in life that has ever left me fully afraid that I may not survive it. But here I am still.

Something happened in me when I lost him. Something was lost, something else was found, something switched on, other things switched off, but really what it boils down to is that I decided. I decided that “fear” is not a good enough reason anymore. I decided that I’m not playing by the old rules any more… I’m done tip-toeing around afraid to truly commit to myself. I’m someone new, and I’m not settling for anything less than what my heart and soul truly desires. I want to make things every single day that bring myself and others joy. And that’s what I’m going to do!

So here’s where we’re at…
It’s been almost 4 months since the accident now. Now, I am trying every day to follow my heart, not my head. I quit my job and moved out of Dallas down to stay with Drew’s family in South Texas. Do I know where I’m going from here? Nope. Do I have a plan? Not really. My only plan is to make beautiful things. To make something every day that brings joy to myself and others… and let God or the universe or my handsome guardian angel help me figure out the rest along the way. For the first time in my life, I am just trusting that I will be okay.

One thing I’ve learned through all this is that the more I listen to those whispers of my passion, the louder and more beautiful they become. The more I listen to what my heart really wants, the more opportunities come into my life that feed that truth… and the more beauty is brought to me. The challenge is to stay in the present moment – to keep myself out of the future and past and of letting all those fears and what-if’s and have-not’s get to me… and to make sure to sit with those feelings whenever they do need to be heard.

God, I’m really going to have to find a way to make the posts more concise! I cannot very well write a novel like this for every lesson in this course! I’ll try to keep the next one shorter… although it’s all about FEAR, so it’s likely to be a big one as well! ;)

Learning To Fly

Many of you know of my fiancé’s passing 3 months ago in a crash while working as a helicopter pilot in Washington state. In no time in your life do you become more clear about what is important to you than a tragic loss of a partner and best friend. It strips away everything until all that is left are the vital things that can still make your heart soar in the middle of the darkness.

Finding Flying Lessons
Drew’s mom bought me this painting about a month ago by Kelly Rae Roberts. I happened upon a whole wall of her paintings in the shop we were at, and tucked away in the corner, hiding behind a sign was this one. It reads “she lived her heart’s glowing truth every single day”. It sits by my bed and serves as my mantra… my commitment to live my truth each day – no matter how joyful or sorrow-filled that truth might be.

Then I went onto Kelly Rae’s site and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw her online course titled “Flying Lessons: How to make your creative business soar” – Drew had just finished his rating to be a flight instructor, and had spent many nights giving me flight lessons to practice for his final exam this past year. If ever there was a sign! I purchased the course immediately, as an early birthday present to myself. And today it starts, just a week before my 30th birthday.

What Is My Passion?
In the midst of his loss, and with the help and support of many beautiful people in my life, I found my passion… the thing that is to help me heal and carry me forward into a brilliant shining life. It was there all along you see, it’s been there since I was a little girl, but its been hiding beneath all the clutter of everyday life until this loss stripped away everything else. I want to make things. I want to make things that excite me and make a difference in people’s lives. And I don’t want to have to fit that into a box anymore. I draw, paint, photograph, write, design, weld, sculpt and do whatever else I fall in love with. And that is what I want to build my life and career around.

The Journey Ahead…
So I don’t know much right now – but I know the most important thing. I know that I’m not going to play by the rules anymore – the old restrictions of fear and doubt that have kept me in a box most of my life. Done. My fiancé faced the biggest fear of all to achieve his dreams of flying and doing what he loved for a living, so being afraid just isn’t a good enough reason anymore. I’m going to pursue the life I want – and nothing is going to stop me. I’m going to follow my heart and soul, because now I truly believe in myself. It is mine to have, so I’m going to take it. And I am SO thrilled to have this course to help me get further on my journey. I’m also thrilled to share my journey with all of you here on my blog. So here’s to flying high my friends.. I hope to see you on a cloud somewhere up there!

I am an Artist.

Yesterday was a very very special day. I dropped off my first piece of artwork to sell in a gallery. This is a piece I made last year during my 2011 12 Months of Creativity project. I nearly packed it away in storage, but something stopped me and I realized it might be a good fit for a gallery I’d just visited down near Seguin. So it made the journey with me from Dallas down to Seguin and is now getting ready to be displayed at High Lonesome Gallery!

I spent a few hours hanging out there at the gallery talking about art and life with the owner. I’m most grateful to have a fellow artist friend around here. I was soaring when I left. All my life I’ve wanted to do this – to sell my art – to even have the chance to try… and now I’m doing it. The dream I talked about with Drew time and time again over the years, it’s happening now. And knowing that he did and still is playing a very big part in all of this happening makes it even more beautiful. I cannot imagine a better way to honor his memory.

He was my biggest fan. I’ve never had anyone believe in me and support my creative spirit so fiercely in all my life. And that changed something in me forever. I used to be someone who didn’t truly believe she could live her dreams. Oh I wanted to live my dreams, but looking back, I realize I didn’t truly believe I could have that world. And maybe even didn’t believe I deserved it. And now, I believe it. I believe in myself as fiercely as he believed in me. I don’t just believe I can have it, I know I deserve it, and I know it is mine to have. I don’t know why it had to take losing the most important person in my life to find this in myself – but here it is. He got me as far as he could, and now the rest is up to me. Lookout world!

 

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