While I was volunteering a few weeks ago with Girls Rock Charlotte, a positive and yet intense experience, I asked myself this question: "Amy, why as a self-employed business owner of two start-up companies did you decide to give over 50 hours in one week to this group?"
In a weird way, it was the same question I asked myself in 2016. As I prepared for a French artist residency, I asked:
"Amy, why as a self-employed business owner of multiple start-up companies are you taking time off from your life and work for 30 days at a French artist residency?"
I throw in the whole business owner and start-up thing > because when you work for yourself, it's tempting to work and work and work. I don't have a trust fund > so I depend on my work and it can be addictive and weirdly comforting.
I often think "Hey, if I fail > then at least I worked." Work has been my go-to coping skill. Yikes :(
So in the midst of working a lot, what would compel me (there's that word again) to take so much time off work and volunteer for another organization or take an artist residency?
It all hinged on the decision to choose 1 new thought.
While reflecting on how oddly similar Girls Rock Charlotte and my French artist residency felt, I realized it was truly one thought that had moved me into a "work less and joy more-filled" life.
Here is the one thought:
"I decide that the Universe/Divine Consciousness/God has to support my heart's desires."
What believing this new thought has meant for me is less gut wrenching, constant working and fear-based choices. I made this choice because it felt so much better than thinking I was constantly drifting alone in the ocean and never sure I would make it to any shore... ever. Ever ever.
One day, I decided to believe Life all had to work out somehow and some way... and even if I wasn't working so hard all the time.
Going on a French artist residency and being a volunteer at Girls Rock Charlotte are both aligned with my purpose of practicing and sharing self-care and self-love, and especially through creative expression!
Over the years, I've been increasingly drawn into the focus of self-care and self-love from my own necessity. I spent a good chunk of my young adult life loathing myself ~ this is true. I would berate myself so much I would even close my eyes in disgust at me.
At the very same time, I sought freedom and peace. This deeper seeking compelled me to keep doing my work to find this inner freedom and peace. I was also blessed with family, friends, guides and Wanda Petunia for leading me into the awareness and experience of self-love.
Girls Rock Charlotte reminded me, in a weird way, of my artist residency trip to France because they both were NOT what responsible people would ever do. They were definitely not what fearful people would do. And they were both profound experiences I chose for my own self-care and self-love.
When I decided to go to France, some part of me didn't even know if I really wanted to go. I'd talked and talked about it for a few years, but it had never happened. Also, I would have to go by myself. Could I really take a month away from work to create art and stories about Beefy Parisian Pig? This sounded truly preposterous! Even after language lessons, I really couldn't speak French either. What if there was a terrorist and I didn't know what they were saying ~ I know, but this is what I thought.
Girls Rock involved being a band manager and helping 6 girls (who had never met or played an instrument) create a band in one week. It also included being a ukulele teacher, even though I had just started playing myself. I was also going to teach girls to listen to their hearts and sew plushies - and this was the only thing I felt comfortable with.
But I chose to say "Yes" to all the above because I decided that I had to be supported in indulging in self-love and sharing love this way.
As I have chosen to believe I had to be supported > I have been more aware of how I always am supported. A natural worrier for-ever, it seems I am able to worry less and less about life.
Yes, I still have to file my business registration and insurance and pay taxes and all that earthly fun stuff. Believing I have to be supported doesn't mean there's no work to do. And when I decide to leap into a dream, there's still the organizing and planning to be done.
But housekeeping and list making and planning and doing aside, in the end I just had to make the choice to believe I would be supported somehow and some way. When I did (and actually after I did), doors opened and both large and small blessings flowed.
It seems we humans (at least me) like to make things difficult and complicated.
What if there's really just one thought that will help you step even more fully into self-love?
What if the one thought is the choice: "I believe I have to be supported!"
What would you do if you believed this?
Photos: (top to bottom)
1) Girls Rock - check out this organization in Charlotte, or wherever you are, to volunteer and send a girl you know!
2) My working studio at Laporte Peinte in Noyers, France! This is where I painted pictures of boars and wrote the story of Beefy Parisian Pig!
3) Beefy was so happy to be home in France!
4) I wept when the metro train came around the corner and I saw what I had only imagined before ~la tour Eiffel!
5) Keys for Life ~ our 6 member Girl Band with my co-Band Manager extraordinaire April :)
6) At the end of GRC camp, everyone in our band shared a complement and a wish with each other!!