Life lessons from life drawing

 

I took myself to a life drawing class last night. I’ve found confidence from my recent painting adventures, and I felt like getting out of my comfort zone, as you do.

“What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t like my drawings?” I said to myself, and off I went.

Here’s my takeaway from the night.

We are our own worst critic.

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It was truly a beautiful experience. There was 9 of us, four men, five women. The model was a gorgeous young woman, maybe 20, and it was her first time. Before she unrobed, she said, “Please don’t judge my body.”

My heart swelled for her, because she was so beautiful. It was a potent reminder of how we are our own worst critic. So with that, I picked up my pencil, tried not to look at what my friend was doing, and focused on what I could see in front of me.

Perfection is a myth.

In the lines of her shoulders I could see the insecurity, but in the lines of her ribcage and sternum there was courage, and in her belly, vulnerability and power. So much beauty – and isn’t that what art is? Capturing beauty? It’s all gorgeous and raw and imperfect.

Presence is key.

I think my meditation practice is really filtering into the finer details of my existence. I was so present, aware of my fingers around the pencil, taking in the details of what I could see, feeling the freezing cold air around us. There wasn’t really any mental chatter. There was judgement, but not the “I’m not good” voice; just seeing something on the page that needed tweaking. I was peaceful, focused, intent, compassionate. In the zone.

It’s a process.

I looked at the model and saw a line, so I drew it. Then I saw shadow, so I shaded it. Then I saw another line, drew that, and added some shadow… and then I had a female body on my page, using lines, light and shadow.

I didn’t like all my drawings – but that doesn’t actually matter. It’s part of the process, discerning what you like and what you don’t.

Here’s the ones I liked:

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And the ones I didn’t like:

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We are our own harshest critic

Perfection is a myth

Presence is key

It’s a process.

I love the dual nature of these lessons. Where in my life am I judging myself, being harsh or criticising? Where am I striving for perfection, instead of seeing the beauty in what I’m experiencing?

When I’m present, none of those thoughts or judgements can impact me.  That’s when things flow. When I stay with the process and put one foot in front of the other, take the next right step as it comes, I feel on track… whether I like the experience I’m having or not.

I’d love to know if you resonate… do you have your own creative process? Do you feel like judgements get in the way of you achieving your dreams? Or do you feel a sense of ease, flow? How do you create that? Let me know in the comments.

 

Lots of love,

Emma xo

The price of admission

I’ve worked so hard lately. It’s been a month, maybe even six weeks, since I’ve had a full day’s rest. It’s easy to forget the truth – this too shall pass, everything changes and it won’t be like this forever – because it seems impossible to change your direction when you’re mid-flight en route to Burnout City.

I had a mini melt-down after Zen Thai. I realised I’d really dug myself in and I didn’t want to collapse straight back to the trajectory I’d been travelling on before. I know what lies at that destination and I have no desire to go back there.

So the big question: How do you change your trajectory?

It helps to know how your mind works. What you focus on, you create more of. I’d been focusing on and created ‘feeling drained,’ ‘too busy,’ ‘no time,’ in my life. This path does not lead to Fun Town, Hilarity or Shenanigans.

The mere act of noticing, of becoming aware of your thoughts, begins to change that trajectory. Once you bring the pattern or the thoughts or the behaviour to your conscious mind, there is no choice but for it to change. That’s the nature of energy. And that’s where a good meditation practice can help.

I decided to look for s p a c e. I started to see s p a c e, in the pauses between breaths, in the 10 minutes between work and class, and, one step at a time, I have created s p a c e. Sigh of relief!

What really flicked a switch in my mind was the concept of ‘the price of admission’. The Man showed me a video about relationships, where the guy calls the little quirks and irritations about your partner the ‘price of admission’. That’s the price you pay to get on the ride – to be with that person – and if you don’t like the price, you don’t get on the ride, so to speak.

I immediately applied this to my entrepreneurial rollercoaster ride. Is the constant work, zero days off, inconsistent cash flow, being open and compassionate with people even when I’m drained, teaching when I don’t even know what the lesson is, working 12 hour days on my feet to make ends meet most of the time – is that worth it to me?

Is that price worth the vision I hold in my heart?

The answer is a HELL YES. (Thank Goddess, I always  say if it’s not a Hell Yes, then it’s a no!)

The other issue is it’s easy to lose sight of your focus, your vision. I’d momentarily lost sight of the destination when I took my eyes down to the ground and looked at the week ahead.

As soon as you try to control the process, the steps in between here and there, that’s when you lose track of the vision. And overwhelm ensues. I’ve learnt that you need to focus on the vision while you simply put one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. Always the next right step. That way the process remains simple – it’s always the next right step.

My top three tips to change your destination from Burnout City to Fun Town:

  • Focus on your vision (if you don’t have one, come see me for some coaching – clarity will be yours)
  • Choose your thoughts
  • One step at a time!

If you don’t have a vision, have trouble with your thoughts, or struggle to keep your eye on the prize, my upcoming coaching package and meditation classes will help. Jump on the mailing list to find out more HERE.

I’d love to know if this helps you – let me know in the comments.

Love,

Emma xox

Your permission slip to let go

I shared this in my last newsletter, dated 2 March 2015:

I’m writing to share some bittersweet news with you.

I have chosen to discontinue some classes from my schedule. Classes will no longer be at Holistic Health or Body N Soul, after this week. I’ll still continue to teach at Activ Gracemere for the time being.

Why? I’m getting close to burnout – 8 classes a week is a sizeable workload. I recently injured myself and although it wasn’t serious and I made a full recovery, my body was giving me a clear indication to slow down. There’s been other signs too.

This was not an easy decision to make. I love teaching. I know the benefits of yoga and how much you all love it, and I want to continue to share my understanding and experience of yoga with you.

However, when I lose my passion, when I don’t have the energy for my own practice, when I continue to push myself past my own limits in a way that feels constrictive and draining (not expansive and exciting), what am I really teaching?

This article sums it up, much more succinctly than I could (I cried sweet tears of acknowledgement reading it).

I haven’t had the energy to send an email to you before now, or finish an asana challenge I started two weeks ago. This is not the effect that yoga has had on me, it’s the effect of over-doing it.

Maybe you’re familiar with that feeling – fatigue, dragging your feet, feeling resentful, constantly hungry, anxious, and, in my case, starting to hope no-one shows up so I can go home and sleep or eat.

If so: here’s your permission slip to let go. 


I only want to hit my targets if the aiming and the hitting both feel good ~ Danielle La Porte, The Desire Map


I hope this inspires you to listen to your intuition, the wisdom of your body, and your heart.

Lots of love,

Emma XO