I read. A LOT. Which is partially what inspired me to get my Bachelors degree in English at the University of Virginia, way back when. The other inspiration was an English professor my first year - her passion for literature was undeniable and highly encouraging! (Although I shouldn't forget my AP Lit class my senior year of high school - we even held our own celebration called "Lit-A-Palooza" at Great Falls Park and decorated tee shirts with inside lit jokes!)
At this point, because I've moved so often (I've lived in over 40 homes in my almost 41 years of life - no joke), most of my books are in Kindle form, which means I've got inspiring words with me everywhere!
I felt called to share this highly resonant quote from the book Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed, by author and intuitive Sonia Choquette:
"'Don’t fear the criticisms of others.' That piece of advice made me think. I have been severely criticized all my life for being intuitive and making it my vocation.
"I have been criticized for being an outspoken and strong woman, accused of not being feminine enough. I have been criticized for being playful when I taught my workshops, told I was not worth being taken seriously. For most of my life, I was criticized just for being me, and while it hurt me, it didn’t stop me. Rather than collapse under all that criticism, I just fought back.
"Now, I didn’t even want to do that. I just wanted to ignore the criticisms of those who didn’t like me, or approve of me, or “get” me and carry on in peace."
Which also brought two of my past pieces into my awareness:
After reading the above excerpt, this 6x6 inch mixed media piece, "Rise," popped into my awareness. Because Sonia's passage emphasizes rising above the projections of others. Ending the fight against. Rising into peace within.
I feel like I could have written what she wrote. Her words speak to triggers along my own journey.
For so long, I took others' opinions to heart. I wanted to be the "good girl." I wanted desperately to be liked and approved of. I toned myself down so as not to "rock the boat," because when I spoke of possibility or shined my absolute ME-ness into the world, I would often experience attack.
(Cue walking in the rain and jumping in puddles with my Spiderman-costume-clad 3yo in Loveland, Colorado - and being stopped by not one, but TWO police cars, citing multiple calls to child services! Cue being hired as an "idea person" and then being accused of - and laid off because of - "undermining authority" with my ideas!)
And then, finally in the last couple of years, I began coaxing out and honoring the FULLNESS of my own unique essence (as I teach through artistic expression in my Find Your Uniquorn: a Creative Intuitive Treasure Hunt Journey). I began to finally RISE.
Which therefore brings me to "Keep Sparkling," another piece which popped into my awareness as I sat down to write. It's a custom client creation from my ever-evolving Animals of Inspiration series.
Sonia gives us permission to dismiss the criticisms of others, and this illustration piece is a reminder to Keep Sparkling your own unique spark, regardless. Keep shining the fullness of the YOU-ness that only YOU can shine. Without the filter of "What will satisfy my critics?"
Nevermind what anyone else thinks. Nevermind creating the kind of art you're told "will sell." Nevermind the business practices others recommend. Nevermind the funnels or the blueprints that you're told you "need" in order to "prove your worth."
This isn't about proving anything.
This is about BEing something. BE-ing fully YOU.
I can tell you from experience that the more I've focused on ME and ignored the heaps of criticism I attract (from those I trigger because I'm so absolutely out of the box), the more solid I feel. The more confident I feel. The more PURE my creative expression becomes because it's no longer tainted by the search for approval. I create because I can't not create. I create my way because that's where my true power lies.
In the purity of unfiltered authenticity.
It's the purity of your you-ness - your ability and willingness to clear all the filters and unabashedly SHINE (sparkle!) - that will become the inspiration for others.