Sunday, July 27, 2008

Be Brave: Week One in Review

Sheesh! Was that really the first week of recommitting to the Be Brave Project?

At the moment I am nestled in what I've come to term as my Sacred Space. That is, my bed. I've come here to regroup after a fairly intense week. Oh, but intense is something of an understatement.

I really wanted to make a tidy little list of all the scary things I've done this week. In doing so, I was hoping that it might be helpful to those individuals who are just getting used the idea of doing one brave thing every day. Sometimes it helps to have examples. Unfortunately, I am noticing that my life simply isn't submitting to a tidy bulleted list. Instead, my life feels more like an intricate wild mushroom design or a dandelion blossom gone to seed. You can make sense of that any which way that you would like...which is what I find myself trying to do as well.

I'm going to try for a bulleted list anyway and so here it is...

  • Let me just say that my meeting earlier this week with Marilou of Pet Haven has very well altered the mission of Stray Dog Arts and quite possibly changed my life in the process.
  • Started a painting to be exhibited in a show curated by the wonderful Kristine. And then finished it despite the fact that I'm not happy with the way it turned out. In the process, I learned that sometimes painting needs to be about more than turning out successful pieces. This time around, the act of creating simply helped me to listen to my heart. Somehow, I even managed to formulate an artist statement to explain my thoughts behind it.
  • Said no to a freelance opportunity that didn't fit me. This is a giant step away from the feeling of desperation that would have otherwise caused me to agree to the job, even though my intuition was telling me otherwise.
  • Attended a dog event at a local retail store that is carrying a line of my cards for the sake of networking. Even though I'm a fairly outgoing person, mingling with a crowd full of strangers takes an incredible amount of energy for me, but I'm glad to say that I repeatedly put myself out there and met some really wonderful people in the process.
  • Had several successful photo shoots and, in the process, am learning that I love working locally since it allows me more artistic freedom and the opportunity to paint from my own photos if I so desire.
  • Had a week filled with several meetings that I am absolutely excited about the potential that can grow from them--each for different reasons.
  • Declined an invitation to another networking event that I didn't feel would truly serve me. I was afraid I might hurt or offend the person who invited me. But this week I've learned that the things I invest my energy into need to hold meaning for me. I only have a limited about of time and energy. How do I want to use that energy? I've learned that when I am uncertain about what I should do, all I need to do is ask myself: "Does it hold meaning for me?" To make meaningful decisions doesn't mean that I have to be serious all the time. Heck, sometimes plain ol' fun is a good enough reason to do something. But I was exhausted and this particular event just wasn't me at all. Thankfully, the woman who invited me was totally understanding.
  • Cut back to ONE day a week at the garden shop--this is a compromise that, at the moment, feels good to me. I'll help them see their going out of business sale to the end--and hopefully get more of my own work done in the process.
  • Brought my laptop in and GOT IT FIXED after the poor thing had been sitting dormant on my desk for the past two months. I am currently snuggled up in bed with it right now. :) I was afraid that it would no longer be covered under warranty and this alone had kept me from even checking on it. How silly is that? My warranty doesn't expire until 2010!
  • Applied for a local dog event. Simply applying isn't what scares me so much as the application fee. It's not hugely expensive, but when I add it to all my other expenses it is a bit nerve racking when I'm not sure if the money will continue to be there. Strangely enough, an unexpected check showed up in my mail box the very same day! I'm not even making that up!!!
  • Ok, this one is kinda a big deal to me...but I lost 5 pounds! I have been wanting to lose the extra weight of grad school ever since I put it on. As I find myself moving into this newly self-created life I finally feel ready (and more determined) to actually succeed at my attempt. All I've done is completely cut simple carbohydrates out of my diet. Mind you, this has not actually been an easy task. My husband is Italian, after all! Not to mention I LOVE bread...and pasta and chips and crackers and... But I am amazed by how many healthy alternatives there are.
  • Went shopping for some new clothes. The ones I have are horribly faded and worn out. I needed something for Friday's event. Feeling stressed and with very little time, I would have liked to skip the whole endeavor...but I also needed to do something to feel better about my physical, tangible self. I tried on several outfits that looked fine and were inexpensive. I stood in the 3-way mirror looking at myself and questioning the outfit. I asked myself: "Do you really like it? Or are you just considering it because it covers up the parts you don't like?" That question, my friends, was a revelation! I put the outfit back and decided on 2 pieces that truly made me feel good.
  • Took some time to myself--right now--because I really, really needed it. I have so much painting to do...and yet, setting my perpetual fear of "falling behind" aside, I know that I need this moment of PAUSE in order to refuel so that I might actually get some real work done.

Well, that was my week in a short and condensed nutshell! It sort of feels like just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of things going on inside of me right now that I don't quite understand yet. It is as though there is a very fine string unraveling before me. I don't know exactly where it is leading me, but what is important right now is that I allow myself space of heart in order to follow it. If I don't, the string might break and I will lose my way. However, the fact that I've found this string at all is something I feel profoundly grateful for. My faith in grace, authenticity, success and growth feels stronger these days. I don't have any monetary reasons to feel that way--I just do.

What about you? I want to hear more about your week, too.



Anu said...

You accomplished SO many things in this first week! That is so amazing! I always feel so self-conscious on my blog when I write something personal and then I read your inner thoughts and think about how much courage you have to post about your personal journey.

Olivia said...

WOW Jessie---A M A Z I N G! There are no words! I am very, very impressed and happy for you---whoo hoo! Blessings and love from O

Anonymous said...

This. This is why I love your Be Brave project. It amazes me how bravery is so contagious. You see or read about others taking the leap and then your hurdles feel that much smaller.

Loved reading every little and big brave moment you had. Awesome!

Left-handed Trees... said...

Wow...your list is SUCH a full one.
*I got my latest tattoo, a little early...but still part of being brave for me.
*I faced a couple of big issues at work by sitting down with my department chair and the coordinator for a meeting (terrifying, but worth it).
*I contacted an old friend I've been far, no word back.
*I set up a weekend adventure for my friends and myself (this was such fun).
*I encouraged my baby girl to swim all on her own...
*I did something very overdue with my novel manuscript.
Not too bad...but I have more things on my list for this week!

Annie said...

Jessie, I started the Be Brave project last week too, and I could become addicted to being brave, it is now becoming a habit. When I shy away from something, now I take a second look and push myself forward. You have inspired me more than you know. Thanks!

Deirdre said...

Your list is amazing! I hope some of your bravery rubs off on me.

This week was not a great start on my project, but it gave me the opportunity to learn something very important anyway.

Just participating in this helps me see a stronger, more determined part of myself. Thank you.

Julie said...

Wow, that is an impressive list for one week. You rock at this brave thing-:)

Melba said...

WOW!You are amazing!
I have been thinking about the be brave project everyday....very subtly which is where I am now.