I’m sitting in my comfy bed watching the TV show The Voice right now, and continue to be amazed, week after week, by the tremendously talented artists on this show. It is inspiring and heart-warming to watch the contestants consciously choose to become more and more of who they really are. As impressed as I am with the contestants, this season I am even more in awe of the judges. They are all extremely accomplished musicians and performers, and the reason is not only their talent, but their commitment to being true to themselves. They are teaching the artists, and those of us watching, that the real value and beauty of life is in living from and expressing our unique “voices” in the world.
Wouldn’t it be great if this was part of the curriculum in every school in the country? We could call it heART 💟 101. And as coach Pherrell says, “we need more different in the world”. Don’t you just love that❤️‼️
As much as I enjoy watching these miracles unfold on the screen in front of me, I’m very aware that a lot of the real life of the process has been edited to “fit the time slot”. In real life, there is no such editing available – not that I haven’t looked high and low for it! But the truth is, there are no shortcuts. There is no perfect. And taking the steps to become more of who we are is messy, frightening and courageous work indeed.
As I continue to prepare for the 3-day Fountain Hills Art Festival in mid-November, I’m having to consciously choose to be true to myself over and over again. Fear and doubt are such loud mouths, and though they believe they are keeping me safe, I’m having to challenge their every word! Most (if not all) of what they say is nOt true, but they are so damn persistent and loud that I start to believe them.
To bring some light to the darkness, I began writing down what my internal critics were saying to me. It is impossible to battle the demons if I don’t know who they are. Here is my Top Ten List of Mean Things To Say To Yourself To Stop Your Creativity In It’s Tracks:
1⃣ Everyone will know you are a beginner, and laugh. 2⃣ Everyone will know you really don’t belong here. 3⃣ You paid what for your booth?! You’ll never sell enough to make it worthwhile. 4⃣ Your art isn’t unique enough. 5⃣ Your art isn’t professional enough, or sophisticated enough. 6⃣ How can you think you will have enough energy to pull this off?? 7⃣ You will never be enough. 8⃣ La-dee-dah. So you’re an artist. So what. 9⃣ Don’t think you’re special – because you aren’t. 🔟 Nobody really cares what you think.
Ow. Ow. Ow. Hearing this is really painful, but I know that choosing not to hear it is deadly.
To help myself combat these untruths, I am pretending that I got a chance to pick The Voice judge, Pharrell Williams, as MY coach. I’m choosing him because he is consistently kind-hearted, honest, and humble. He is crazy talented and never seems to do or say anything without first consulting his heart. He could definitely be the professor of heART 💟 101!
Thank you, Pharrell, for honoring your gifts, and encouraging me to do the same. I will continue to open my heart, and consciously create my art, and my life.
“The process to create is simple when
your heart is completely open.”
“You no longer need to feel guilt. You can just sing for you.”
– just uttered by Pharrell (speaking directly to me!)
When I’m not being held hostage by my internal critics, I am actually really happy and excited about showing my artwork – and showing more of me. How sad would it be to die never having been courageous enough to let myself shine? If not now, when? I really do believe we are all meant to shine in our own unique way. Not based on what others think, but based on our own hearts, our own loves, and our own standards.
Here’s to living and loving life on our own terms.
It’s your life. Live it the way you want to.
Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.
As my 88-year-old mother tries to recover from from two major surgeries, two extended stays in rehab, and many confusing hours trying to understand what is happening to her, I am doing my own version of soul searching and recovery.
Life is short. And sometimes healing is long. Today, I experienced a miracle. Grace knocked today, and I chose to let “her” in. This letter to my Mother has been years in the making. And today it arrived.
Trust the process. Trust the healing. Believe in your own beautiful heart.
With these words in my head, I am choosing to trust my voice, and pray that this healing swiftly arrives at my Mother’s door, too.
Thank yOu for giving me life. Without yOu, I would not be living and loving my beautiful, amazing and miracle-filled life.
Thank yOu for receiving me into your body and giving me the cells needed for me to come into being. Thank yOu for giving me time and room to grow. You gave me everything I needed.
My body and mind grew because of yOu. I got nourishment because of yOu. I was taken care of because of yOu.
I learned to feed myself, clothe myself, tie my shoes and read because of yOu. My brain developed with a zest for learning because of yOu. I have an artist’s view of the world because of yOu. Thank yOu for helping me become who I am.
As much as I have strived for it, I have finally learned that there is no such thing as perfect. The truth is, being authentically human is so much better than being perfect. Who knew?
Thank yOu, Mom, for being brave enough to bring me into this world. Thank yOu for being brave enough to love me, hope for me and carry me. Thank yOu for your patience with me. And thank yOu for setting me free.
Please, also know, that yOu have done enough.
You have worked enough.
You have strived enough.
You have given enough.
But most importantly, I want yOu to know that yOu’re enough. Without a doubt, I know now, that yOu ARE enough – and yOu have always been enough. I’m sorry it has taken me this long to realize that.
I wish for yOu peace, and healing and comfort.
You can relax and smile, Sweet Mother.
You are enough.
Your loving, growing, sometimes stubborn, always learning daughter, Vicki
hellO lOvely and creative sOuls!
As the new year marches On, I hOpe yOu are happy, safe, warm and healthy. Here in the Southwest, I can say I have 3 out of four of those going for me, and I’m feeling very grateful for every sunshiny day that comes our way!
Last December, I decided to choose a “wOrd Of the year” (wOty) to help me stay focused, creative and engaged with life. With that in mind, if you haven’t guessed already, my 2014 wOty is enOugh.
Depending on how it is used, enOugh can mean:
- As much as required,
- fairly, or
- impatient desire.
I chose to begin my exploration by asking some tough questions. In our culture, families and churches, we are bombarded with the message that enough is never enough, so it was (and still is) a bit rattling to ask –
Is there enough? Do I have enough? Am I enough?
If that wasn’t scary enOugh, my health began deteriorating in early January. Much to my dismay, no matter what I did or didn’t do, the extreme fatigue, headaches and nausea came flooding back. It left me screaming, enOugh, already! How much more of this can I take? Will it ever end? A new (very loud) question now arose –
When is enough, enough?
As the second week of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begin, I am so struck by the depth and rawness of the personal stories behind the Games. The years and years of hard work, the sacrifices, loss, injuries and disappointments the athletes and their families experience take my breath away. The stories are made even more poignant when the outcome is not the gold medal, or for many athletes, including the Americans at these games, no medal at all.
The truth is, none of us make it through this life without heartbreak and gut-wrenching loss. And even though we don’t win any medals for choosing to survive and carry on, we sure do deserve them. Life leaves many of us, including the amazing and gifted Olympians, asking, “Am I enough“? And isn’t that heartbreaking enOugh, knowing how hard each one of us has worked to live a good life and earn our “gold medals”?
So, as I make plans to get myself into the Mayo Clinic for a consultation to finally determine what I’m battling, I am learning that:
- I am strong enOugh to keep going.
- I am strong enOugh to keep asking the hard questions.
- I am brave enOugh to hear the answers.
- Life is hard enOugh without trying to prove I am enOugh.
- I’m the only one who has to believe I am enOugh.
- There is enOugh love for all of us.
May you feel the love that surrounds you,
and know that you are truly enough.
Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.
This post is dedicated to John Berg, an amazing and loving man, who inspired me to be a better person and enjoy life as it comes. Thank you for loving me and showing me there is always enough. You will be missed but never forgotten.