I listened

Change and growth isn’t easy. It is one thing to talk about it, and to think about it, but it is another to take action. Taking action is hard. It isn’t just setting aside time to work on changes that I want to make, it is all the mental and emotional roadblocks that come up in trying to move forward. Growth is good, right? I used to think that if I am doing something that would lead me to a better place that I should feel good while I am getting there. I should feel happy as I finally take the steps to follow my dream of creating art and showing it to the world. And I do feel happy, just not all the time.

My art show is less than a week away, and the last few months have been a journey of self discovery. About 3 months ago, I called a local gallery to find out about renting the space for an art show. That is an easy sentence to write. Yes, I called a gallery to reserve the space. What is so hard about that? I make phone calls all the time, what is the big deal? But this phone call was different because I knew it would change me. And, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the change.

Somehow my mind knows when an action is going to change me, and it resists. It does this first by fogging over and slowing down to a snail’s pace. All of a sudden I can’t think very clearly and I feel groggy. It is almost as if my mind secretes a numbing drug that makes me want to sleep when challenges arise. My mind has helped me survive and has propelled me forward, away from an abusive childhood. My mind got me through college and got me a job so that I could support myself and live the life of my choice, so I trust my mind. So when it slows down and sends me warning signals I listen, because I know it is trying to protect me. Growth to follow my dreams isn’t important or necessary to my mind, it only cares about growth for survival’s sake.

But, I have learned to be respectful and gentle with my mind over this past year. My mind didn’t want me to make the phone call to the gallery to book an art show. That is a risk that isn’t necessary. I don’t have to put my art out into the world to physically survive. I am ‘fine’ where I am. My brain knows this, and tries to stop me from taking unnecessary risks. But I have learned to tell my mind that I respectfully disagree with its opinion.

So, I made that call to an art gallery and booked my art show for July 25th without having one single piece of art to hang on the walls. I posted on Instagram and started telling my friends that I am having an art show. I went out and bought large canvasses and started sketching ideas of what I wanted to paint. I bought pink and gold acrylic paints because I knew I wanted to create beautiful feminine Queens with crowns. My Queens would represent the energy inside that propels me forward even when my whole body and mind say no.

When I was a young girl I used to spend hours drawing fashion women with exaggerated bodies and beautiful faces. I used to look through magazines and see women that seemed like they had power and a sense of self, and I would try and capture that through drawing them. It made me feel powerful and connected to create them. But as I finished high school and went off to college other things became more important to me. I wanted to fit in and do what everyone else was doing. I wanted to be accepted, and I wanted boys to like me. So, I starting using my creative energy to change and mold myself to attract what I thought I should have, and to be someone I thought I should be.

From the outside, all my efforts to change and mold myself to ‘fit in’ worked. I eventually got married, bought a house, had a beautiful daughter and I was living a nice life. My creative energy went into creating a home and raising my child. This was energy well spent, and my daughter and family is by far the most important aspect of my life. But through all of this, there was a small part of me that felt sad and disconnected. I did my best to ignore it. But, when my daughter went off to college that small sad person inside of me stepped forward and took over. ‘Is it my turn yet?’ she kept asking me. I felt her sadness and her anger and it scared me. She was unpredictable and didn’t want to ‘fit in’ anymore. I knew that if I let her speak, she would completely disrupt my life. My brain shut her down because she was a risk, and my brain doesn’t like unnecessary risks.

It didn’t work though. She didn’t give up. She came into my thoughts all times of the day and whispered in my ear so that I couldn’t focus. She came into my dreams at night and chattered at me and wouldn’t let me sleep. It got to the point that I could no longer go on ignoring and disregarding her. She was determined to speak. So, I found the strength to step through every impulse that I had to shut her down, and finally let her speak. She told me that she had an important message for me. She told me that it is okay to do something just for me, and it doing that I would serve others. I didn’t understand. It didn’t make sense. Doing something just for me felt selfish, so how could that serve others? But she was insistent, she was convincing, she was relentless. So, I started to believe her.

So, I am doing an art show in 5 days because she believes that in putting my art and my story out into the world I will help others. And she tells me there is more to do, and that this is just the beginning. She whispers in my ear about showing my art in different cities, and doing this full time instead of on the side. She has some of the craziest ideas!

My mind was right, it read the warning signals correctly. In letting her speak she has absolutely disrupted and changed my life. But, one of the best things I have ever done is listen to her.

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  1. This was sooo good and really resonated with me. The inner voice of an empty nester can be very powerful. I am glad you listened and I know that your art show will be incredibly fantastic!

    1. Thanks Laura! That voice that doesn’t leave you alone can push you out of your comfort zone, right? Like you have done too! So proud of you. I am so curious to see how my art show will turn out. I will be showing it on Instagram, so you can see too. Love you, Peta

    1. Hi Jess, my art show as more than I could have hoped for. It was just 3 hours and went way too fast!! It was so exhilarating to stand up for myself, and say, Yes I created something and I am not embarrassed to show the world. It has given me such confidence!! Thanks for your support! Love, Peta

  2. Peta, I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! You’re really a role model to me of what a woman can do when she gets out of her comfort zone and trys hard with all her might to turn a treasured dream into a reality. One day — some happy day!– I hope I can be at one of your openings in person.

    1. Hi Suzana, stepping out of my comfort zone has opened a whole new world to me. I say yes to pretty much everything now, and I say NO to those things that take away my good energy. Life is so much better than it has ever been. I have let go of so many thought patterns and ways of being that were holding me back. Thank you so much for your support! Love you, Peta

  3. Peta, thank you for your authenticity! I totally understand about feeling resistance every time you feel like you’ve got something great to contribute. I feel similar resistance sometimes, too. It’s hard. One book that really helped me is called The 12 Week Year. It was instrumental in helping me break through those times. Congratulations on your art show and I imagine it will be amazing!

    1. Thanks Patty, I will check that book out. I don’t know why I feel that way when I am doing something for me, but when I am doing something for others I am confident and move forward. It is almost like when I am doing it for myself, I am looking over my shoulder to see who is going to stop me. But no one has so far, so that is good!! Thank you for all your good vibes and energy, it helps me and the world!! Love, Peta

  4. Oh Peta! What a beautiful post! I know that process, when you talked about how hard that phone call was to make. I have been there too, and am in a way there right now. I am cheering you on from Michigan! Best wishes with your show! I am so excited for you!

    1. Thanks Amy, my show was more amazing than I ever could have imagined. The only issue was is that it went too fast! It was so amazing to have my art on the walls, and all my friends there. And they brought friends too, so I met some new people. It was so exhilarating to stand up and say Yes, I created this!! It has given me such confidence as I move forward!