There’s  nothing  like  making  the  decision  to  practice  the  art  of  self-care  or  explore  your  creativity  to  bring  up  all  of  your  STUFF.  And  by  stuff  I  mean  insecurities,  self doubt,  fear and resistance.

Social media shines with crafted, glossy exteriors and it’s easy to feel as if our  delightful-but-messy  life,  isn’t  up  to  scratch.  Do  you  compare  your fragmented processes   to   other   people’s   finished   products   and   give   your   power away   to  procrastination?   Honesty   time:   before   I   sat   down   to   write   this   lesson for   you,   I procrastinated  for  two  hours.  I  looked  up  flights  home  for  Christmas,  scrolled  through  Instagram,  I  made  a  cup  of  dandelion  tea  that  I didn’t  drink,  curated   the   perfect   playlist,   lit   a   few   candles, checked  my  email, cleaned the kitchen, reheated my cold cup of tea and munched on a few  squares  of  dark  chocolate  as  I  stood  in  my  lounge  room,  staring  at  my  notepads and pens, willing these words to write themselves. 

It’s not as if I doubted this lesson would be written. I knew that it would, eventually. That’s the funny thing about procrastination; we know it’s going to get done, at some point, but we  expel  so  much  precious  energy  NOT  doing  it.  There  are  the  more  acute  versions of  this  dance,  such  as  the  one  I  just  described  for  you,  and  then  there  are  the  more obtuse  scenarios;   the   wider,   ever-present   projects   and   ideas,   lingering   in   the background,  unacknowledged  and  unrealised.  But  here  I  am  now,  with  almost  a  full page  of  words scrawled,  I’ve  found  my  flow  and  I’m  wondering  why  on  earth  I  didn’t just  sit  my  arse down and do this two hours ago? It’s like when I put on my yoga pants and sit at the end of my bed, debating whether or not to go to class until it’s too late to make it in time. And so,  this  is  resistance.  The  act  of  avoiding  our  work.  Keeping  our soul’s  calling  at  arm’s length. Not doing the thing that we’re here to do. Not giving the thing that we’re here to give. Maybe even wanting to give up.

Steven  Pressfield  tells  us that   “the   more   important   a   call   or   action   is   to   our   soul’s  evolution,  the  more resistance  we  will  feel  toward  pursuing  it”  and  so,  I  want  this  lesson  to  serve  simply  as soul-encouragement;  may  you  remember  that  you  are  not  alone  in  this  journey,  that you are completely enough and that you CAN do this.

Keep going.

Maybe  you’ve  been  told  that  your  expression  isn’t  very  good,  right,  foolish or  it’s unprofitable. Maybe   others   have   questioned   your   dreams   or   doubted   your   capacity.   I  clearly remember  a  conversation  with  a  friend,  in  her  car,  mid-2012  when  I  told  her  I  was thinking about starting a blog. “A blog? You?” she asked, shifting gears. “How on earth are  you  going  to  get  anyone  to  read  it?  There’s  already  so  many  blogs! What  would you even write about that’s different to what’s already out there?” Ah, bless her. You may have  heard  similar  things.  It’s  likely  these  kinds  of  comments  are  the  insecurities  of those  from  whom  they  came.  Let  them  bounce  off  you.  “If  you’re  not  in  the  arena, getting  your  arse  kicked  too”  says Brené Brown,  “I’m  not  interested  in  your  feedback.”

Keep going. 

You have the power to choose your beliefs. So will they limit or empower you? Limiting beliefs cultivate behaviours that keep us small. They feel restrictive and tell us all the  things  we can’t do  or  be.  Empowering  beliefs  are  nourishing  and  uplifting.  They cultivate behaviours that allow us to expand feel ripe with possibility. They tell us what we can do and be. Choose beliefs that encourage you to keep going.

You have permission to take your time. Remember when you were a child and there was so much to learn about the world? We give babes all the space and time — and naps! — that they need to learn how to navigate and integrate new things. Maybe you have kids of your own and hold this safe space for them.  Why  do  we  stop  doing  this  for  ourselves?  We  might  get  older  and  a  teensy  bit wiser, but our brains and bodies and hearts still need room to grow. Let yourself screw up.

Let yourself take all the time you need to try, grow, heal, learn, live and love. Go gently.

Keep going.

You have the right to celebrate your accomplishments. No matter how big or small, press pause and enjoy the fruits of your work. You have the right  to  say  ‘I  did  this,  I  feel  amazing,  this  is  great,  this  is  enough.’  I  want  you  to  take yourself out for your favourite dessert, get a blow dry, buy yourself flowers or simply soak in  the  tub  tonight.  Maybe  it’s  sharing  a  bottle  of  champagne  with  your  best  friend  or dancing in your undies to Beyonce or simply sharing your big news with the world via an inspiring and excited Facebook status.

And then keep going. 

You’re allowed to feel afraid. You  might  have  fears  around  partnership  and  parenting,  family  and  fertility,  careers  and creativity, sex and social anxiety. It’s normal to have fear about speaking in public, money, mental   illness,   death,   disappointment,   loss,   love,   weight,   world   travel,   food   and friendship, being a fraud or a fear of missing out.

Just keep going.

Here’s a few things I know to be true about fear: 

Fear wants to quiet a curious heart. Fear goes hand in hand with creativity. Fear shrivels in the  light.  By  getting  it  out  of  our  body  and  onto  the  page  or  into  a  conversation  with  a trusted friend, the fear feels less scary, smaller, more manageable. Fear has many layers — with  each  one  we  peel  back,  we’ll  find  love,  insight,  power  and  flow.  Fear  might  tell  us that  we’d  never  recover  from  our  worst  case  scenario,  but  I  challenge  that.  Should  it happen, and it might, nothing is certain, but you’d be okay. You’d keep going. Fear often points us towards the thing that we desire the most. “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator.” says Steven Pressfield, “Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

So keep going.

Here’s a few things I know to be true about courage: 

Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage gives life to creativity — living our life as art is sharing  our  soul  with  the  world  and  this  means  being  vulnerable.  Courage  is  always available,  even  if  it  doesn’t  feel  like  it.  Especially  when  it  doesn’t  feel  like  it.  You  have already shown courage through pain and loss and struggle and lived to tell the tale. You know in your heart that there is a well of strength inside of you that you can turn to, even in  the  most  chaotic  and  confusing  of  times.  Thankfully,  courage  is  cultivated,  nurtured, learned, grown through the act of being courageous. Courage is cultivated by leaving the bank  and  stretching  out  on  the  river  of  change.  Breathe  in,  straight  back,  look  ahead.

Keep going. 

Here’s one of my favourite stories. 

On  the  25th  of  April  every  year,  we  acknowledge  Anzac  Day  in  Australia;  it’s  a  day  to honour  and  pay  respects  to  those  who  have  and  still  are,  serving  our  country  in  the defence  force.  One  year,  I  was  watching  a  documentary  on  the  creative  activities  that soldiers  in  the  First  World  War  were  engaged  in;  specifically,  journalling,  photography, watercolour,  drawing  and  writing  and  playing  music.  As  these  men  were  interviewed about their experience, there was a recurrent theme of having found solace in their art. In the despair of war these men found themselves on the page, in their photos and in their music. They came back to their heart and their identity through expression, though their environment  was  tragic  and  uncertain.  And  their  creative  endeavours  have  lived  on! Listening  to  their  symphonies  and  journal  entries  reminded  me  that  no  matter  what  our circumstances are, we can always choose to connect and express ourselves in some way or another.

Keep going. 

Remember the honour and privilege that you have to create as a woman in the world today.

My Nanna was in an abusive relationship for the majority of her life, and finally left in her 70’s. She  used  to  show  me  how  to  make  roses  out  of  paper  and  was  always  dressed  stylishly, even as her eyesight began to fail her. But it was only recently that I found something she had  written  and  was  moved  by  how  articulate  and  quirky  it  was.  She  was  a  creative  soul who lived in a time without the freedoms we can take for granted today. And her mother? And  her  mother?  We  don’t  have  to  look  far  back  down  our  maternal  lineage  to  find women who weren’t free to be seen, to stand up, to tell the truth of their lives, to create.

Do it for them. Keep going. 

“The more you become your own best champion, supporter, cheerleader, and trusted confidant,  the  better  able  you’ll  be  to  fully  and  joyfully  express  your  blessed  creativity,” says Cheryl Richardson, “that’s when your art becomes more and more successful in the world.  It  begins  with  treating  yourself  with  love,  respect,  kindness,  and  compassion.”  In your workbook, you have space to declare your fears and work through them. Flip them. Love them. Burn them. Stretch. Evolve. Grow.

Keep going. 

And if you’re still feeling sensitive, take some time off social media. It’ll help. Log out. And keep going.

Claire x

Ps. This post is an extract from my online course Wild, Well & Creative. The next (and final) round of my beloved five-week course and community starts next Monday 1st May 2017. Details and enrolments happening over here. I’d love to have you join us!

Pps. Listen to this post below!

I’d love to send you some love.

Join the tribe!