"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Being Brave Means Trusting

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 
 -Audre Lorde

In Flora Bowley's Bloom True class this week, we are focusing on being brave. It's such an important concept at this point because while our paintings are becoming something, they might not look like it yet. This point in the process (whether it's painting or something else in life) is the make or break point. It's when all the self-doubt, fear and resistance come out and try to talk you out of continuing on your way. They try to talk you out of believing in who you are. The important thing  to remember is that they are becoming. Just as we are. And it's in the becoming where the treasure lies.

When you practice being brave the first thing you notice of course, is your fear. It can feel like reluctance or nervousness or be quite terrifying and debilitating. I have learned not to push myself beyond what I'm ready for but instead, if I don't feel ready for a giant leap forward or even a small step, I simply stand still. This can be unnerving because our instinct is to do something. But the act of standing still, the looking, the facing brings out my curiosity and seems to lessen the urgent alarm bells going off in my head. I start to wonder...I wonder what will happen if I do this...I wonder what will happen if I move here...I wonder what will happen if I take this step.

As I move toward my fear, the most difficult thing I experience is being faced with my own frustration.  I have to take a look at where it is coming from. Usually I'm impatient with myself or the process, and my expectations are out of sync with the true timing (like this week...I had to remind myself that I'm learning new things, not creating a masterpiece!). I have to actively choose to stay committed to what's at hand and not concern myself with the result or timing. Easier said than done, but I've learned that it's not necessarily a skill you can acquire, it's a practice. Once you reach a level of proficiency, there's a new level waiting to be explored. That seems to take the pressure off of having to be "good" at being brave, doesn't it? I can simply allow myself to be where I am at and receive the gifts that are there for me.

Being brave directly cultivates trusting. Trusting the process. Trusting timing. Trusting where we are at. Trusting that we have what we need for this moment. Trusting our intuition. Trusting our selves. Each time we try something, we learn a little bit more about what we can trust. And each time we trust we get a little bit braver. And that's where the quote above that Flora included in her class today becomes our truth. This week was a bit rocky for me but I still am in love with this process and I received some great gifts in the way of moving into my freedom more.

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