I got to know Amy and her stunning paintings on Instagram before reaching out and asking her to meet in real life. We both felt like we'd already known each other for awhile, which is a cool feeling! I love chatting with her about art and creativity, and am excited to share her insights with you.
I'm stepping away from the heavy stuff this week to bring you a list of books! Fun, inspiring, beautiful, and possibly magical books. Since this post is a month overdue, and since I spent most of the Christmas holidays reading, I had a huge list of books and though I narrowed them down to my absolute favourites the list is still super long. Buckle up! And maybe take a couple of weeks off work ;) Enjoy!
In the first part of this series, I talked about how social anxiety has impacted my life, and the things I did that made it worse. The second post was about all the ways that I've been working on changing my mindset from fear to openness, and the last post was about the things I've done to push my boundaries and leave my comfort zone. Today is the final post in the series and I'm going to share where I'm at with the process right now and where I see myself going.
This week I'm covering some of the actions, behaviors and situations that have pushed me outside my comfort zone, and helped me become stronger and less fearful. If you haven't already, make sure you read last week's post on mindset shifts, since I've found that pushing myself to do scary things without bringing a ton of mindfulness, softness, and self-care to the table just makes me feel worse about myself.
In my last post I wrote about my struggles with social anxiety and all the things I did that made it worse: obsessing over what was wrong with me, trying to fix myself, reading endless books about communication and social skills, putting my tale of woe on repeat, and letting other people define me. In this post and the next one, I want to share what I've done that has helped, and how you can apply what I've learned to your own life.
Talking to people has been my biggest challenge and the biggest obstacle between me and my dreams. I always believed that I would never get what I wanted because I couldn't make connections. I've never found a mentor because I never asked for help or advice from anyone. The only time I ever applied for something that required reference letters, I nearly gave up because my teachers said they didn't know me well enough to write a reference.
When I realize I've made a mistake I can feel my stomach drop, like the floor just fell out from under me. Depending on the severity, a slow burning panic might start to spread across my body and I feel like I'm flailing - attempting to grab at the edges of reality like it's a page I can turn back to when I was doing things right, or a sheet I can pull over my head. And then the stories start spinning, telling me that I'm stupid or selfish or a terrible driver who doesn't deserve to be on the road.
This has become another annual tradition of mine: going through my journals and lists from last year to find simple nuggets of wisdom. These are the aha's that shaped my year and that I hope to bring forward into a new year. So many of these seem like common sense, but they're good reminders of the basics. Hopefully they spark some learning for you as well. (You can see lists from past years here and here.)
What a wonderful way to finish 2016 - with a project that I'm super proud of and can't stop talking about. I was happy to partner with the Dying Light Collective, partly because I got to work with my partner, Matt, and partly because they were able to make it look a lot better than I would have on my own. I was in charge of building the sculpture and they made the lights run.
2016 has been a strange year, hasn't it? The world went a little nuts and the news brought me to tears more than a few times. Professionally I also hit some bumps with cancelled workshops and low art sales. It would be easy enough to write the year off completely. But it wasn't all bad, and I think it's important to spend some time looking back at the good things that happened. Looking at all the projects I've worked on over the year remind me that even thought there's a lot that I want to do differently next year, I still have plenty to be proud of.