I am not a big fan of taking photos... of myself. Never have been. So what do I do? I set up a photoshoot with a friend who is great at taking photos and I push through it... looking uncomfortable the whole way. Why do I do that to myself?
Over the last few weeks it has become increasingly clear that no matter how successful I am in business, at home, with my children... if I don't get reallllllly comfortable with the uncomfortable things my life will not be as fulfilling as I desire. I remember plopping on a couch feeling the whole weight of my body, my spirit and my story bang into the cushions. I remember looking up through tears of glass and saying, "Either we are gonna find out what is going on with me or I am jumping out of the window." That was at minimum 3 years ago. Erva Baden (she is dope. You should definitely check her out.) sat across from me and held my hand through unraveling decades of trauma.
That was three years ago and I am reminded of an old church adage..."Another level, another devil", except this time (and likely every time) the devil is ME. NO! I am not saying that I am the devil! Relax! Put your annointing oil away and breathe. What I mean is this: with every new level I ascend, there is a new level of ME I need to conquer, love and understand.
Some things need to be conquered, processed, expressed and stood upon. Some things need love, care, soothing, shit, a hug! Then there are some things that need to be understood, validated, heard.
I hate this place. Hate being defined as really, Really, REALLY not liking something. I hate this place because it forces me to move to and THROUGH so many hurtful places that I instinctually retreat from. Who WANTS to stick their hand in a fan? Who WALKS toward the fire? Even the Pheonix would retreat if it could.
So because I don't want to, I write... about some of the hardest, most destructive and defining moments of my life. The lump in my through tells me I am moving in the right direction. Until then.
New challenge: to be open, vulnerable, and expressed.
I have been painting or creating just about all my life...
Even the 15 years or so, from about 20 to 35 years old, when I put the paintbrushes, charcoal and canvas down and stopped creating through visual art, I was creating programs, curriculum, and events at work. There was this incessant need to create, to make something new that I hadn't seen before... to see what could be made from the components given to me that invigorated me.
It was kind of like the "When life gives you lemons" saying... I would, throughout the years, take what life threw my way and do all I could to stay afloat and make SOMETHING, anything, out of it that resembled a palatable creation. Sometimes the creation was too bitter and others it was just right but, all in all, my creative drive was always there. That is not to say that it was always easy to create, to get in the zone.
I remember dark times, very dark times, when the most I could create was a dark room with me on the couch and tears, lots of tears. There is a strange thing that happens when you are depressed (and I was- very much so), the music you select (let me correct that) the music I (underlined "I") selected was somber, sad, dark, melancholy... I couldn't talk about what was going on with me. Hell, I didn't really understand what was going on with me and it was like the songs helped express it for me. The songs helped me cry more which seems like a bad thing but, I have learned in the almost 20 years since that time, it is good for the soul; the actual expression of trauma, pain and grief. Of course, I had no idea that is what was going on or that trauma, and grief were the culprits but the songs helped none the less.
There comes a time in every soul's life when the self begs the question... "What I ought... or what I AM?."
Those are the words I wrote on January 17, 2017... I wrote those words then stopped writing... until today.
It seems the answer to that question was too heavy for me at the top of this year. I am not so sure that it is any less difficult now or if I am just up for the challenge of seeing what the answer might be... or maybe it is in pondering the question that I can figure out the oughts and AMs of my life. Are there overlaps? Things that I ought to do that are also part of who I AM? I hope I am not getting too deep...
So, I was encouraged to read "The ONE Thing", by the founder of Keller Williams, Gary Keller... through this amazing connection with The Circle of Greatness, I was on a call with Sean Gagnon, owner of The Abs Company (and a dozen other companies)... and I posed the question, "How do you prioritize when there is movement in many areas of your work?"... and then he shared about this book, The ONE Thing.
Now I am only on the 3rd chapter and there are questions that are popping up all over the place. I have learned that magic is not found in answers so much as in the right questions. Any question can get an answer; the brilliance lies in asking the right questions for the right reasons at the right times...
I shared my thoughts with Sean via email and there he goes again!! Posing the right question!... here it is,... are you ready?
"What is the ONE THING by which doing everything else becomes easier or unnecessary.
BOOM!!!!!! ...the one I couldn't live without...! I told Sean in my email that my passions lie in visual art (making stuff...painting, greeting cards, etc.) and personal development, coaching, speaking, etc. ... and he goes and says ...the one you couldn't live without. I thought I was doing something extra deep by sharing briefly how I put down the paintbrush for over 16 years only to pick it back up (through the power of personal development) and my skills are event better!... but then he says...the one you couldn't live without... and I am floored.
I sit with it a bit, ... the one I couldn't live without,... I think about those 16+ years, and ponder what wasn't diminished?, what part of me wasn't silenced? I think of high school and 'The Knowledge Fest' picnic I lead and hosted. Preaching (yup... that is a topic for another blog post), and teaching; encouraging and healing...the one you couldn't live without...
Then Sean writes...
I think at the end of the day we all know what our ONE THING is. We just have to have the courage to go after it. -- Sean Gagnon, via email Jan. 17th, 2017 (highlighted for emphasis)
...and I begin to ponder...what would require courage for me to go after...? Becoming a personal development leader.
There. I said it. Oh, shit. I said it.
Keisha "I Make Everything Beautiful" Whatley
BEHIND THE BRUSH