Wednesdays are my favourite day of the week! This Wednesday like most other other Wednesdays, I will pack my sketchbook, pencils and paintbox into my pannier pack and cycle to work with a smile in my belly because … after work … life drawing!
Drawing is something I have dabbled in since I was a small child, but not something I had practiced regularly until 2012, when I discovered the Urban Art Binge. Founded by Emily Fong and Joannah Underhill, UAB literally changed my life. Now art has become an integral part of my week and Heartwork Life practice.
Some months prior to finding UAB I had read a book called the Passion Test which is a great little tool for anyone wanting to sharpen their life focus. It offers a useful structure for getting into action and living your passion. After reading this little book, I realised that art was in my blood and that I needed to live it, to place it at the centre of my world, and that if I didn’t stop ignoring my spirit and start meeting my needs I was going to be miserable and depressed. From that day on I made a conscious commitment to myself and the world, that I would begin to share my love of art with others and keep growing my passion, through practising, learning and experimenting with art.
How many of us have something that we really yearn to do and yet can’t quite find the time, energy or space in our day to pursue it?
We prioritise money, work, family and friends … everything but our own needs. It can be hard to break this pattern when we hear endless reasons and excuses not to do what we love. We may have been told by our parents that it is selfish, other people are more important or need us more. They may have been the perfect matyr modelling self deprecating habits. And of course it doesn’t pay the mortgage or the school fees … or we just may be run off our feet with children or family who have complex health issues and feel overburdened with responsibility. It can be so easy to stay on the treadmill, turn on the telly or spend hours a week zoning out with Facebook, getting little comfort from junk food binges rather than taking responsibility for our lives.
The cost of not meeting our needs, over time, can leave us feeling empty, unfulfilled and losing self respect … wondering why we are actually here? Denying our needs can lead to addictions and shame-filled behaviours that may more seriously effect out health and wellbeing.
Meeting our need, on the other hand, gives us access to joy, satisfaction and energy. And by following our heart we are modelling this practice for our family and friends.
Having a support and a strategy is the key to breaking habits and making positive changes in your life. Here are a tips that work for me …
1. Take 5 – 10 minutes a week to get clear about what’s missing in your life. Make a vision board, keep it up where you can see it add to it and get clear.
2. Write a list of all the things that you imagine yourself doing, as if it were happening now. Imagine how you would be feeling, acting and who else would benefit.
3. Think about who might be able to support you in this. Is there a course or class that might help get you started or a friend who may help you stay on track?
4. Figure out the best time in your schedule for you to take action. The best time is the one you are least likely to fail at. Create space in your schedule for your passion and make a commitment to honour this.
5. Begin today!
6. If you lose track and go back to your habits, don’t despair. Just take the next opportunity to get back on track and take the next step towards your vision.
7. Celebrate your achievements no matter how small.
8. Share your achievements with others and support people you love to do the same.
9. Be prepared to fail and lose motivation at times. Come back to your commitment.
10. Remember that taking small steps regularly is more likely to be sustainable over time.
If all else fails get some therapy and support and find out what stops you from living your life.