Earlier this year I felt the strongest pull to connect my life and those around me with something tangible. Through sharing my journey and witnessing others, I was inspired to create a community, a podcast and a movement called Brave Vulnerable Audacious.
The invitation to be a part of this was all-encompassing – are you human, living Life the best way you know how? You qualify.
But I get the agreement of what defines brave vulnerable audacious shifts from person to person. It’s as unique as each of us. What scares me, fuels you. What I do in a heartbeat, takes another a lifetime.
And so it was when I did a 2-day Intentional Creativity workshop on my visit to Portland last month. It reminded me of a time – nearly a decade ago – when I made the decision to learn to swim.
The first time in the water with my instructor, unbeknownst to her, I was so scared I was crying behind my goggles. Every fear and old story activated. It felt like a primal fear, borne out of a web of girlhood insecurities and layered with shame.
With as much determination and focus I could muster, I kept going and eventually learnt to swim. The mask was stripped away.
Art is similarly anchored in my childhood like it is for a lot of us. At some point I left it behind, tangled in feelings of inadequacy and over time presented as indifference and boredom.
At the workshop, towards the end of day 1, I was squatting on the ground surveying others artwork propped up on easels. All around me, people had done what our teacher had asked. Unfolding on their canvas were varying representations of the inward journey of meeting the Queen (or King) of our heart. At the very least, they were all faces.
In stark contrast was my canvas.
As soon as the process had introduced painting a face I fled. Using the excuse of needing the bathroom, I disappeared for as long as I could. By the time I got back, I’d missed enough instructions to avoid my fear – painting a face. So when I surveyed all the faces at the end of the first day, mine looked nothing like the others.
I could feel the tears welling. All those feelings of inadequacy and separation rose up. This is it. The mask was loosening and it felt painful.
That night as I shared my inner workings with Jen, I saw the choice in front of me. I could jam that mask back into place or I could soften and allow. I was tired by the emotion invested in the day but an idea was forming.
The next day at the workshop I committed to playing full-out. I would turn my canvas – currently a big colourful heart – into a Picasso-esque face by adding an eye in each top corner, a nose in the bottom left and a mouth in the lower right corner.
When it came time to share our insights and paintings with the group, I acknowledged it looked nothing like everyone else’s. We could all see that.
But the outcome spoke to a 2-day enquiry right into the heart of my old stories and fears. It reflected my courage and vulnerability in a way I’d never predicted. I felt the tears welling as I shared my painting. Something had shifted – slowly, painfully – and I wanted to keep moving in whatever direction that was. I’m curious to see where opening up this part of myself will take me.
What happens when we give ourselves permission to be creative in a previously shut down area?
What happens when an old-established way of being in the World is challenged?
In coaching, we often explore new ways of being to shift or unblock other areas of life. I believe in this power, to transgress and transform beliefs and behaviours that have seemingly settled into the mask of You.
Last night I painted a flamingo (at the top of this page) with supplies Jen gifted me before returning to Australia. I copied the design from a post I saw on Facebook. I love the colours. And I love that I did it.
Inspiration to live a Brave Vulnerable Audacious life
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