Finding your power and getting out of your own way

Have you ever felt sick to the stomach before doing something that scares you? And if you then gave into that fear, how did you feel afterwards? And if you didn’t give in to the fear?

The week before last I experimented with doing scary things. I rode my new bicycle for the first to the beach. I exercised with the senior karate class (most of them black belts and everybody taller than me). I participated in a Skype taebo-karate class with Funakoshi karateka in Belgium. I drove to hubby’s work in the city with its hurried drivers, four lanes going in the same direction and taxi drivers with no regard for the rules of the road. I attended the senior karate class for a second time. I attended an art class conquering my fear of the blank page not to be filled up with words, but with shapes instead.

The great thing about doing things that you’re scared of is the amount of energy you get from having done it – a sense of power.

Danielle LaPorte wrote an interesting piece related to this sense of power. She proposes that instead of focusing on fixing what is assumedly wrong with you, you should rather see the issue as a way of accessing your power.

I learnt something else at the art class: to get out of my own way. Try the following: prepare yourself some sort of still life. You know: a few pieces of fruit, an assortment of glasses or a vase of flowers. [A beginner like me would prefer something simpler, maybe a bottle and a book :-D.] Then proceed to draw only the outer contours without lifting up the pencil and without taking your eyes off the physical objects. Do not look at what you’re drawing.

OK. So I’ll wait for you while you go and do it.

Ag, OK, I know you’re busy. I’ll tell you what happened to me and then when you have nothing better to do, you can test it yourself: The proportions and height and shapes of what I drew were more correct when I didn’t “watch” what I was doing.

When I was trying hard to get it JUST right, my shapes leaned, for some reason I could not explain, slightly to the left. And well, although you would have been able to recognise it as a glass, it did not really represent the glass I saw in the display.

My analytical, judging, overthinking self was in the way. Time for me to get out of my own way: artist coming through!

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