The Art of the Start… or the start of art… or revving up your creative power. The answer is yes! You do have it in you!

Theoretically it’s not great to write long titles like the one I wrote above. Theoretically. Theories are just begging to be tested and retested, refined and rewritten.  I say, never (or almost never, as in the case of ‘theoretically you shouldn’t walk out in front of a bus,’ but we’ll not take this to extremes now, shall we?) take a theory at face value. Never take your self image at face value either, pun definitely intended ;-)

Find out for yourself. Throw caution to the wind,  the waves, or over your right shoulder if you so desire.  Test, try it out, push the boundaries and evaluate for yourself. Get your hands dirty and take a risk.

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That’s what the participants at the Opening Doors workshops have been doing over the last few months: testing out their personal theories, scratching away at the flimsy and flawed verity of those self-llimiting images and beliefs they have of themselves. Underneath the surface they reunite with just how resourceful, talented, creative, brave and amazing they really are.

I say reunite because it’s not so much a discovery as a rediscovery. Deep down inside, an essential part of you already knows you’re BIG. And capable. And strong. And immensely, infinitely innovative, resilient, resourceful, determined and creative. Should I go on? …

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We’ve recently finished two Opening Doors workshops, one in French and one in English, so go check out this gallery and inspire yourself with some of the cool ‘Words on Wood’  the girls have made up to keep their flame burning and their focus on feeling strong.

Now it’s your turn!
What’s one limiting idea you have about yourself and your talents that you could put to the test today? Go on! Look it straight in the eye and give it a nudge.

Then come back and tell me what you discovered!

Love Ange

Getting close to your edge (it’s Life Jim, but not as we know it!)

You want it to be easy, don’t you? Life. I mean you do all the right things…go through the right motions.

You’re a great person, nice to your neighbours, you mind your own business and you’re respectful of others. You worked earnestly at school and you still try hard now to be great at your job. You’re a devoted mother/sister/wife/friend.  You do your best and maybe you even go to church on a Sunday. You keep your house clean(ish) sometimes obsessively so and your washing’s always up to date – mostly. You don’t make waves… you fit in. You don’t laugh too loudly or make inappropriate jokes. You dress for your social circle and try never to offend anyone.

You deserve to be happy. Yes!

You do.

Of course you do.

And you keep thinking that, one day, soon hopefully, you’ll have all your ducks in a row and life will be just peachy perfect. You just have one or two more things to ‘fix’ and then you can relax – and be truly happy.

Except that life is unpredictable. Life doesn’t fit into your pretty picture scenario at all like you want and expect it to. Life is answerable only unto itself. Life can’t be restrained, confined or shaped to fit. Not in the way you intend anyway.

Life lives through YOU!

It’s Life that will call you forth – stretch you, test you, shake you up and challenge you. More often than not, this will happen right at the very moment that you think you’re bordering on getting it all together. Murphy’s Law strikes again ;-)

Paradoxically though, the quicker we truly integrate the fact that Life isn’t linear, or meant to be easy, the easier Life becomes.

Not because it stops presenting us challenges, oh my Lordy wordy wordy no! On the contrary my dear Watson!
But because we fully recognise that all those ups and downs and challenges ARE Life. As the old saying goes… ‘Zat’s Life!’ C’est la vie babes!

There’s just no getting around it.  That simple acceptation on its own makes things a whole lot easier. Life just plain hurts less when we stop expecting it to be anything other than it is. When we neither brace ourselves for the fall, nor fall into resigned complacency, nor curse nor scream that it’s not fair.

Life takes on all its fullness and vibrancy when we accept the challenges that are thrown at us and take them on with optimism and curiosity. When we stop the doubting ‘whatiffery’ the whiny ‘OH GOOOOOOOOD WHY MEEEEEE’s’. When we stop the ‘I don’t have time‘ and ‘I’m not ready‘ excuses. (Excuse me but when don’t you have time and when are you ‘not ready’ to embrace life? You live every day! )

When we look for ‘hows’ rather than ‘why’s.’ When we step up and stop the dead-end, stomach churning angst and start replacing it with real, intentional, heartfelt soul searching. This is hard. It takes courage, strength and stamina. However, that’s our work!

It’s worth it! Yes it is!  This is YOUR LIFE! And it starts right at the edge of your comfort zone –  often at the most inconvenient of times !

There is no right time. There’s nothing to wait for. Embrace it!

Love Ange

IMG_2684P.S. My funky postcards giving 15% off the Opening Doors workshops have arrived!! OOHWEEE Youplaboum! That’s my surprise for this week. If you need a bit of a nudge to embrace life then come to Opening Doors! Artfully embracing life is our specialty!
Next workshop on March 21-23. Click on this page for details of how to sign up. Hope to see you there! :D

 

Don’t believe everything you think ! Relax into 2014

Think you should have made your resolutions by now? But you’re not overly inspired…
Think you should be bouncing out of bed to reach the goals you’ve set already? But it’s dark in the mornings and it takes a will of steel just to drag yourself out into the cold, dark early morning (for us Northern Hemisperers) to wake the kids in time for school. Trust me, I know… 
Think you’re not as effective, productive, interesting, artistic, creative, fun, loving, proactive, daring, organised… (insert your ideal quality) as  you should be? As ‘other people‘ are?
Think you should already ‘be there?’ Wherever ‘there’ is…

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You talkin’ ta meeeeeee?

Maybe… most likely… you’re just talking to yourself the wrong way. Would you listen to (and keep hanging out with) a friend who always compares you unfavourably with other people? Please say No! 

Topsy turvy thinking leads to stuckness.

Maybe… probably… you’re getting this back to front and outside-in. Yep – outside-in.

When you try and fix objectives and make goals with the ‘outside-in’ approach, you’re in pirate territory. Gets a bit doldrummy in those parts. Flat, dingy, oily waters. Not my favorite waters to be in personally.

I used to have dreams (when I was crashed out on the sofa after working and studying full time) that an invisible force was sucking me down into the crack in the back of the sofa and I couldn’t for the life of me pull myself out. Or sometimes I would dream I had a finish line in a few metres front of me, but my legs were ankle deep in chewing gum and I couldn’t  pull my legs up out of the icky sticky stuckness, without a superhuman effort.

The outside-in approach works a bit like that.

It’s shrouded in ‘shoulds,’ gottas’ and ‘musts.’ Thinking in terms of ‘shoulds’ (Pirate speak… completely 2013!) is self-defeating because it’s built on negatives and consequently often finishes in feelings of frustration, inadequacy, discouragement and general, all round stuckness. Like being sucked down the back of a couch, or not quite crossing the finish line because your body is weighted down in sticky stuff.

The inside-out approach isn’t powered by thinking. It runs on feeling, listening to your heart, and creating space. Everything a self-respecting pirate hates!

When you act from the inside out, your goals, wishes, objectives… dreams… future plans, personal transformations etc, are tethered in your soul. And if you get very quiet, listen intently and feel into what your heart is leaning towards (or in my case, racing full pelt into ;) ), you’ll feel a faint, but insistent pull in that direction, naturally. You’ll float towards it.

That’s when you start putting the structure underneath it.

Ditch the negative thinking, the shoulds, the whatiffery and the doubt … and all of a sudden, you won’t have to force, push, heave or yank yourself out of bed to greet the new year, or the new day for that matter. Ok – that was an exaggeration… It’ll still be a bit of an effort to make the transition from cosy dreamland to a cold, wood floor in a dark room.

But by then you’ll have a woollen carpet down and a bedside light handy to help you out! Because, more than anything else, you will want to!

Personally, I’m enthusiastically easing into January, taking my time to listen, breathe, take stock of last year and gently put 2014 on the maps, ready as always to circumnavigate and ward off my pirate thoughts.

If you need any help doing the same, give me a call. It’s easier and much more fun as a team.

Fabulous 2014 to you all!

Love Ange

PS. The 2014 dates for the Opening Doors ‘beat your pirates’ workshops are going up tonight. Even that is still in 2013 for the moment!
One of the lovely participants from last years workshops waxed lyrical about her thoughts on transitioning into 2014 here. Give it a squizz (check it out)!

 

 

What’s YOUR impossible? Now redefine it!

I live in a country whose favourite catch phrase is, ‘Mais c’est IMPOSSIBLE madame!’ (Translation: Are you outta your mind? That’s impossible lady!)

Beans instead of French fries? NO WAY!
Cheese and port? Blasphemous heathen ! Out of my house! ;-)
Leaving your day job? Are you CRAZY? (The last straw: French person faints in horror)

Many French people will tell you…’You can’t do that (insert your goal/dream) here, it won’t work! You don’t know France, it’s Impossible.’ And at times, I admit, it certainly feels and has felt like they are right. The French public sector has turned paper pushing and red-tape into a laborious, pernicious art form that is barely only trumped by countries like India and Russia.

So when the French told me things were impossible, I fell into the trap of believing them, for a while. Until I woke up to myself.

As I said to one gorgeous French friend of mine a couple of weeks ago… all humans are made the same, only our education differs. It is our ‘nurture’ that subtly defines what we believe to be possible or impossible, not our nature.

When the Earth was catapulted out of the Big Bang (Don’t go getting all scientific and literal on me now, will you), in all its infinite possibility, all those eons ago, the Almighty did not draw a line around France, or any other country for that matter, saying ‘Thou shalt NOT have as much possibility as the others! Thou art punished and thou shalt sit out the rest of Eternity within a narrow set of predefined and very limited possibilities while the rest of the world innovates, discovers itself and generally has a whale of a time expanding it’s own boundaries.’

HELLOOOOOO! Come on now, that just doesn’t make sense. It’s also a cop out, albeit a legitimate one to latch on to. It happens to all of us… Until we wake up to it!

It doesn’t matter where you are, what country you were born in and what country you grew up in, the laws of the Universe and the fundamental workings of the human mind are the same.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

The only one truly stopping you from doing that, is you!

Will there be sacrifices? Yes. Which ones you are prepared to make, will be your choice. Every instant you have a choice.
Will it be easy? Probably not! But it certainly won’t be as soul destroying as sitting around justifying to yourself why your dreams are impossible to achieve.

While it’s a tad too late to ask Nelson Mandela about that in person, it’s not too late to take a leaf out of his book! Possum, that man had every excuse under the sun to give up. Do you? Really? Think about them… hard.

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If you need help redefining YOUR possible and living it, I’ll be doing more ‘Opening Doors’ workshops in gorgeous Lavaur as from March 2014. Contact me here to find out more and organise a chat about how you can open some of your own doors and live the ‘possible’ life!

Don’t waste your life in a self-imposed prison.

Whatever you believe in, can be achieved!

Madiba says so :D

Love

Because really, burnout only keeps you down longer…

Burnout… it’s a sneaky bugger that rears its ugly head at some stage of our lives, whether it be in our careers, our busy family lives, a combination of both, and more. It’s both exhausting and soul destroying when you finally realise, too late, that you’re gripped in its clutches. Seriously not fun.

This sound like you?

Trying to be everything to please everyone (not least your internal judge). Trying to fit absolutely everything in and then some. Struggling to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife the perfect career woman, the winning employee, the perfect friend, the perfect dinner guest… and sex kitten! Trying to  - stay slim, stay fit, be witty, be funny, have dinner on the table on time, clean house, grow happy kids, maintain balance, keep cool, calm and collected… I’m exhausted just typing it all out!

Sure, life is all about finding balance in the imbalance as well as testing our boundaries and discovering our limits.
And sure! Burnout is definitely one way of finding and defining them.  But what if there were another way…

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What if you just took time every now and again to make some space… Rest.

Allow yourself a moment to become fallow ground: just hang, sit back, take stock, and regenerate BEFORE you leech all the goodness out of your own soil.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Once you get around your pirate brigade telling you you’re lazy, that you’ll never have the energy to start again, that you will morph into a sloth and everyone will lose faith in your capacity to do your job; you might just find that under all that struggle to be more, do more, have more is something you’ve overlooked.

A wiser part of you.

The intuitive part that knows how to test your limits and redefine your boundaries, without completely exploding the speed limit.  The part of you that will lead you to your edge without pushing you straight over the precipice! Your inner sage, who knows that resting BEFORE you crack, gives you the strength and clarity to move on with greater confidence.

It’s only Tuesday, but we’re pretty unconventional round here, why wait till Friday for a pause?

Take a breather :)

Love