Saturday, October 1, 2011

Taking the Leap-Changing Your Story

I was talking with a friend who wants to take a new direction in her life. Change is not easy and while excited about the change, I also felt she was setting herself up failure.  I asked her to describe to me what "taking the leap" into this direction felt to her. I realized that like many people she viewed "taking the leap" as jumping off a 100 story building. Who wouldn't be frightened? So I asked her to tell me how success feels to her or how she feels when she is creating and in the moment. Even her voice changed as she excited share the excitement of time standing still when she is lost in creating art.

I shared with her tell whenever I seem to tell myself a negative story (something that used to happen often), I now try to pause and change the story. I create a positive story that becomes my mantra (repeating it often in my head). Instead of seeing her new adventure as falling off a building, maybe she could image leaping upward and joyously.  Or remember a time when she did something fearful and succeeded instead of all the times she tried something new and failed. Just change the story she is telling herself. It takes practice. I don't know why as adults we think we should be experts or accomplish new skills quickly.

Also the more often we do things that put us outside our comfort zone, the easier it becomes.  After spending $1,500 on a airline ticket to travel to Georgia alone and not knowing a soul was for a a major life changing experience for me. Living fully in the moment, not worrying about what would happen, simply enjoying the ride and trusting the universe (even when my luggage didn't arrive with me) was liberating! So feel the fear, do it anyway and give yourself a positive story. What do you have to loose?

Okay, a couple people emailed me and asked me what I have done lately that pushes on my comfort zone so I decided to answer here.  Nearly five months ago I accepted the second vice president position on the Naperville Art League's board. This position is responsible for hospitality and programs. While I have been a member of the NAL for four years, I was simply a paying member. I didn't participate in any activities so I'm clueless. I know I swore I'd never serve on another board (never say never), but I knew this would be a great opportunity to stretch my comfort zone. It is also like me to go from zero to sixty.  I will admit being frustrated often. It has been worth it. I'm meeting great people and getting to know the artists in my community. I don't regret it.  I even submitted two pieces into the "As the Crow Flies" exhibition and my quilt has gotten lots of positive feedback. It is also the first time I have shared one of my mixed media pieces with the public and now you.

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