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 Busyness Trap

Busy:

adj. having a great deal to do

verb. keep oneself occupied.

I have a full three weeks of teaching yoga ahead of me. I’m talking 16 hours a week of classes. That’s a pretty large undertaking for someone who has only ever taught 3-4 1:1 sessions and group classes per week. I found myself revelling in the feeling of importance, predicting how little time I’ll have for anything in those few weeks, and a slight feeling of overwhelm washed over me as I future-tripped, made to-do lists and looked at my schedule. I recognised that familiar feeling and I didn’t like it.

I’m one of those people who has suffered from burnout in the past – the result of epic busyness. I had a to-do list a mile long and a packed schedule. My mind was always occupied with how busy I was, and I thought I loved it.

In fact, I was addicted.

I craved the sensation of being busy, the rush of adrenalin coursing through my body as I crammed as much ‘stuff’ into my life as I could.

All the ‘stuff’ left me hollow and wired, and small, and alone, and disconnected from myself. Busyness was the outward manifestation, a distracting symptom of my internal lack.

I realised I was slipping back into this trap because I was present to my body, and I began to explore what lies beneath my urge to busy my mind.

I believe we’ve created an ideal where, as women, we’re using our to-do list as evidence of our success. We’re using busyness as a measure of self worth. We’re using this pattern to keep ourselves small.

The truth is, we are all hardwired for greatness. It’s our intrinsic nature.

How do we evolve into our greatness? By breaking the physical and emotional addiction to being busy, connecting to our self and our desires. Desire is our motivator, our driving force. Our very existence is based on an innate desire to live, to BE.

Our desires can be based in love or fear. When we’re driven by a fear-based need to prove ourselves, we’re draining our energetic resources on a projection that will never give us the love we seek.

When we’re fulfilling our true desires from a place of love, we’re engaging in an energy exchange that feeds us. From this place, we can have a full plate, because we have a full cup to match it. The priorities are in balance. To-do lists and schedules can become friends, not food.

We must create space, SLOW DOWN, to connect to our heart’s desire. There’s many ways to invite our heart out for a conversation.. meditation, relaxation practices, massage, exercise, sex, and art, to name a few. Anything that gets you present will do the trick.

The present moment is where everything is possible; the source of potential, creativity, abundance, personal power, joy, peace, and intuition. If you want to live a heart-centred, intuitive life, inhabit the here and now.

Create some balance between being and doing, and let your doing be guided by your heart, not your fear.

Since I committed to this mindset, life has become a lot simpler. It’s easier for me to prioritise my spiritual/daily practices and ground into the present moment. My actions have a lot more impact with the full force of my presence to back them.

If this resonates with you, take some time to answer these questions:

How do you measure success? What does this moment hold for you? What need or desire are you trying to fulfil?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, via email or in the comments below.