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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The Mind of the Soul

I’ve just finished reading The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis.

My favourite quotes are:

“You cannot gain strength from choices that do not stretch you” on page 193 and “The greatest gift you have to share is your presence” on page 170.

Here’s some other things that resonated with me:

About choices:

  • “What you choose, is what you create” (p. 4). They say that until you see that your experiences are consequences of your choices, you’ll belief that things are good or bad and then basically have the attitude of a victim (p. 7). Related to a quote from King Fu Panda: “There is no bad news. There is only news.” 🙂
  • “… a temptation is a chance to choose responsibly.” (p. 188).
  • “Every choice you make brings a possible future into your reality.” (p. 195). I’m sure Terry Pratchett wrote about the trousers of time somewhere!

About power:

  • “Powerlessness is the fear of not being lovable, not being valuable, not being a part of Life, and not being able to contribute to Life.” (p. 106).
  • “Authentic power cannot be lost or stolen, and no one can take it from you.” (p. 153).

About harmony:

  • “Harmony only with those who look, think, speak, and act like you is not true harmony, but the maintenance of a clique.” (p. 131).
  • “Creating harmony requires the courage to fail the expectations of others, to object when you feel an objection is appropriate, and to say no, yes, and maybe, without expectation.” (p. 137).
  • “The more you need people to agree with you, the less open you are to what they think, feel, and believe.” (p. 162).

About hoarding (e.g. eating too much):

  • “The parts of your personality that are frightened hoard anything they feel will benefit themselves, whether it is knowledge, affection, spare parts, or food. No matter how much they have, they fear not having enough ‑ for example, enough time to complete a project so they become angry when interrupted, or enough affection so they become jealous when others receive it, etc.” (p. 164)
  • “The solution is not to increase our accumulation, but to assess more accurately what is needed ‑ this is difficult when you are frightened.” (p. 164).
  • “Internal abundance is realizing you are worthy of your life, recognizing the potential for spiritual growth your struggles offer you, and trusting the Universe.” (p. 166).