Hello and Happy (and very late) August!
Apologies for the very late post. This summer has been intense. How has this summer treated you?
I wasn't really sure what I was going to write about, and I've been so busy and wrapped up in client projects (Hooray!) that I haven't given this blog (and newsletter) much thought and I've felt confused about what to write because everything has been shifting so much just from my last blog post. What felt important an hour ago is old news, you know what I mean?
While creating this month's blog illustration* which was inspired by a late afternoon trip to Rockaway Beach back in July, I remembered how I felt like things were shifting and re-aligning. Things felt pretty good in that moment. I have been doing a lot of work on self-improvement. Not just in the artwork that I do, or improving business skills, but personal development. I'm always open to improving myself, because who couldn't use a little fine-tuning in life? A constant practice for me is to become a little bit of a better version of myself than I was yesterday. To shift my perception so that challenging moments aren't such a roller-coaster. It is hard at times, I have varying degrees of success with it, and sometimes what looks and feels like abject, heartbreaking failure turns out to be part of the process of growing. I'm pretty sure I will be working on this for the rest of my life.
Anyway, back to this idea of alignment. I've been doing this program on the Law of Attraction with Natalie Ledwell. I really recommend it if you find yourself feeling "stuck", because she shows you how changing your outlook to an attitude of gratitude can really cause some seismic shifts in your life for the better. I was skeptical at first, but I have to tell you, it has made a big difference. It's not just some floaty, "be grateful" advice. You have to work every single day to list all the things you are grateful for, even on your absolutely crappiest day, and work very hard to root out negative self-talk and be aware of using negative words to try and turn things around. For example, if you wanted to quit smoking, saying something like, "I will never smoke again as long as I live!" rarely works because of the word "never" being present in that statement. Saying, "I choose to breathe pure, fresh air" or "I make healthy choices for my body" gives the mind something positive to focus on, and makes the brain want to change. Making a choice sounds really refreshing to the brain; saying never sounds like punishment. In the previous sentence, the word "never" is what your mind focuses on, and it becomes this negative, limiting thing that your mind rebels against.
I have really enjoyed this practice, even when I am not feeling it. And yes, there are days I'm not feeling it. I also realize that as someone who has struggled with negativity for many years (all artists have that pesky "inner critic"), this will be a lifelong strategy that I will need to use. It's kind of like AA for negativity. There is one thing though, that anyone who does this or other Law of Attraction programs should know. Sometimes choosing to change how you think and navigate through life, even for the better, is actually a little painful. It will create change, and some of that change will shift things in your life in a way you may not have expected. It might mean letting go of certain ideas of how your life was going to be. It might mean realizing that some of the situations in your life that you were very comfortable with are not going to be the best situations for you or other people in your life in the long run. You may find yourself growing away from current relationships. Or ideas of what you thought you should do with your life or career. It makes sense, actually, that if a person is "out of alignment" when they start building their life and then become more attuned to what they really want, the bricks they've used to build their life up to this moment might start to show themselves as being a bit off kilter and maybe even a little crumbly.
Nobody knows exactly how the future will turn out, and that can be scary. Maybe we grow away from jobs, situations, and people for a little while and then find a way back. While that may sound really appealing and hopeful when going through changes, it also shouldn't be the focus. Every person has their own path to happiness; let them find their way and if the fork in the road meets up again, it's meant to be. Better to focus on your own growth and positive change, and let things flow from there. Get out of your own (and other people's) way.
* in about an hour, just this morning; I can work fast, if I keep things simple.
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog! If you enjoyed reading it, say hi in the comments!
Have a great day!
"In Alignment" Illustration by Michelle Bocklage