Friday, April 4, 2014

A Call To Arms: Find Your Voice

Artwork by Alisa Steady, 24 x 24,  Copyright 2014
I can tell you what being an artist is not...
It is not easy.
It is not always fun.
It not a hobby, or a way to kill time.
It is not unimportant.
It is not for the faint of heart.

Let me tell you what being an artist is...
It is immensely rewarding.
It is highly disciplinary.
It is fucking hard work.
It is heart breaking.
It is joyful beyond words.


And one of the hardest things an artist will ever do is find his / her true authentic voice.

What is a true authentic voice? Well, that's the hard part. What is it exactly?

I'm learning that your true authentic voice is the creativity that is wholly yours. Unencumbered by other voices you admire, and uninhibited by what others might expect from you as an artist (and mind you, this applies to anyone following a passion, be it art, writing, photography, merging businesses, buying stocks, owning a horse ranch...everyone).

A true authentic voice is YOU minus the expectations the world and society puts on you and your chosen dream profession.

And it's hard to combat all the external "you shoulds" and "past historical evidence says" and and and and....
In my artist world, I see too many artists NOT painting with their true authentic voices. Instead they are painting the backup chorus to another artist's true authentic voice. It's easy to do. I have done it as well. You see an artist you love, admire, and want to "be" like - and bam. Next thing you know you're painting like 'em.

It's human nature.

But, it's also human nature to say, "Fuck this. I'm going after my own artistic voice, move over...." But that's the really really really hard part, guys. Digging in DEEP, tunneling down through all the shit, past the images of favorite artists and paintings, right into the DEPTHS of your soul to quietly hear your own voice sing. And then, after a time of searching for it, you find it and slowly bring it up through the depths and out into the world - and it's scary as hell. Because - what if no one likes the sound of your true authentic voice?? Oh, shit!

But I'm here to reassure you that - if you truly paint from what is wholly YOU and only you (and this can take years, guys. Anything worth sacred is worth the blood sweat and tears to find it), the world will embrace your voice, and will want to hear it all the time.

So, that is my latest breakthrough. I'm in the midst of it, but I'm getting there.

I am embarking on the most wonderful adventure of my life - finding my true authentic voice.

Want to join me? Let's find our voices!!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Do You Believe In Manifesting Your Own Reality?

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com
When I was in my early twenties, I lived the typical early twenties life living in the big city and sharing apartments and Friday nights out with girlfriends. I worked and went to school, and dated. A lot. I had a good time.

In 1998, my sister gave me a book that changed my life. I was going through a difficult time (ending things with a boy), and she thought it would help. And it did. That book was Conversations With God (CWG), by Neal Donald Walsh (and one of the greatest gifts I've ever received).

I learned a lot from the book, mainly that I was responsible for my own happiness. That statement alone encompasses a huge circumference of deep thinking, pondering, and asking lots and lots of questions - which transpired over the years, through my 30s, right up to today. Right up to *now*.

That book was the kick off to years of finding and studying spirituality and personal growth. I understand I'm a student of all spiritual explorations, not just a subscriber to one.

Another principal of CWG that I have studied and employed to a great degree in my life is the creation of my own reality, or 'manifestation'.

Sure, it sounds woo-woo - enough to scare a few people away. But. Being a practical thinker and an evidence-based rational-izer, I can say with 100% certainty based on my own life experiences since 1998 that it is true. That we are (you and me) the creators of our own realities, and that we do indeed manifest our thoughts and images.

When I look back over the past sixteen years of my life, I see physical evidence of what I put out to the Universe, and what the Universe delivered. My husband, for example, is one of those manifestations. I knew what I desired in a partner, and put it out there, no if ands or buts, and - poof. Along came Addison who is not only my husband, but my best friend and hero. I have many more examples of deliberate manifesting (and not so deliberate). But recently - as in since the beginning of the year - I have been actively manifesting my heart's desires. The end result is a heart full of gratitude, and wider circle of creative friends, and big steps into creating a very successful art career.

This is not a new concept - manifesting your reality. In fact, the concept is as old as the hills. Many cultures and religions speak of it, and is evidenced in our modern vernacular with phrases like: 'Careful what you ask / wish for' and 'Just Do It'.

It's a very positive concept, too. Encouraging. A beacon of truth that constantly reminds us that we don't have to live a life that is less than spectacular, and devoid of daily joy.

So, if you're on the fence about being the creator of your own life, and having the power and ability to manifest your dreams - I encourage you to rethink it. And if you need a couple of books, I have some to recommend.






Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dear Me, May My Heart Always Be Happy


24x24 Acrylic, by Alisa Steady
I was skyping last night with a dear friend of mine. She's an artist (an amazing one at that!) and person I look to for advice on art and spiritual guidance. She says she's knows a little about a lot, but I sense she knows much more than she thinks she does....

...because we got to talking about how stepping into yourself, becoming who you really are, actually benefits the world. How? Because when you are your authentic self, you are *happy*. 

How many people can truly look at themselves in the mirror and say, "I'm really happy!" Not a lot, unfortunately, though - there is change in the air. 

Something is beginning to stir in the hearts of mankind.

Back in September, I had a sudden urge to start painting hearts. Yeah yeah, I thought. So girly. Why hearts? But I kept doing it. And collaged hearts eventually turned into gigantic hearts on big huge canvas.

But still, I asked, "Why hearts?" Part of that question was answered in January. I have a big heart and a lot to say, so naturally, my message is in the heart. But last night, in speaking with my friend, she explained that I have a calling to paint hearts. It's what I'm supposed to be doing because there is a message in each heart that is meant for someone out there....someone who will get the message, and find their 'happy.' 

It is so vitally important to the human spirit to find and exist in a space of HAPPY. Happy is one of the end results of PEACE + LOVE. When people are happy, magic happens. Hate subsides. Love grows. Fear dissipates. Hope emerges.

We need more happy in our lives, in our society, in our world.

I am a soldier for Happy. And my hearts are my Message.

Soldier on, beautifuls.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What if....


Love Letter, 12x30x2, Acrylic
by Alisa Steady



....we lived in a world where everyone was doing what they loved to do? Instead of schlepping through the workweek with a glazed over look in the eye?

What if we didn't live for the weekends, and actually looked forward to Mondays?

What if people stopped what they were doing long enough to self examine who they are and where they are right *now*, and ask themselves, 'If I'm not happy, what would I rather be doing?'

We live in a world full of opportunities and new adventures. We exist alongside a Universe that is loving, and provides us everything we ask for...

...so why are so many of us feeling trapped in our jobs? In our lives?

What if we weren't frightened by the 'All Mighty Pay Check' and really deep dived into ourselves to discover an old dream - the one that used to keep us excited about rockets, time travel, colorful drawings, and visits to exotic places?

What if...?

and what would life look like if we changed it?

Friday, February 21, 2014

'Fake It Til You Make It' - And Everything *Wrong* With That

I have clocked many day job hours in the corporate world, and one of the anthems I hear in casual conversation around the water cooler is "Hey, fake it til ya make it, you know?" And that <<whole>> icky ju-ju surrounding this statement is *so* negative, and *so* indicative of a mindset - it's like driving a poisonous spike into the rich soil of personal growth. 

That's why I want to talk about it. This mindset is not just limited to some of the cogs in Corporate America, either. It's everywhere. I hear it all the time - out in the world, on t.v.  That whole 'fake it' mindset is dangerous. I mean, if you take a sec to really think about what this means - what it's implying - doesn't it make you feel kinda, gross?  I mean, what is the message that's being sent? 

First message: A big huge hot steaming pile of expectation and instant gratification, please. Hey, I don't have to work hard where I am now if I'm eyeing that end goal down the road. What should I? I don't care about 'now.' I care about 'then.'

Second message:  Non-investment in current situation. Why should I waste time investing knowledge and subject matter expertise right 'now' if I'm aiming for that over there?

Third message: Total disregard and lack of respect for self, and others who may (or may not be) affected by mindset.

And I could go on. And on. And on.

Frankly, it's disappointing to hear those words flow so easily out of someone's mouth. 

You won't hear it coming out of mine. I don't want to fake like I know how to be an artist in order to BE the artist I aspire to become. Besides, the big glaring 'DUH!' at the end of all this is:

If you fake it til you make it to your end goal, how the hell are you going to stay there if you have no fucking foundation or firm grasp on understanding HOW you got there in the first place?

So, please - if you use that expression? Think about it before you let it fly out of your mouth. It makes you look bad, and it leaves a really really long lasting bad impression on other hard working people around you.






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How Do You Unfu*k Old Beliefs That Are Fu*king Up Your Mojo?


Photo courtesy of morguefile.com
Oh, I have lots of old beliefs about all kinds of things I need to actively unfu*k. (On a side, can I just say I love the whole concept of 'unfu*king' something? It's like a verb wearing a jogging suit).  We all have 'em. These old beliefs that have become like hard wood flooring on the inside of our minds. Always reminding us they're there every time we walk around.One of the beliefs of mine that I am going to unfu*k is my belief system surrounding money. And it's a big one.

A little background: I grew up in a very affluent town, surrounded by people with lots and lots and lots of money. The kind of money that bought BMWs and Mercedes on 16th birthdays (not me. I got the lawn mower). The kind of money that bred ungrateful kids who made fun of those who didn't have gobs and gobs and gobs of it (---> me). The kind of money that mattered if it was 'old' money, or 'new' money (said with a sneer). But for every uber-wealthy family in my town, there were equal parts middle class families. And families struggling to make it through each day.

I was very blessed to fall into the middle class arena, though I was looked upon with pity by the parents of my bffs who were from 'old money' and lived in mega mansions along the lake. Both my parents worked and taught us the value of working hard, and how 'money isn't everything.' In fact, most of the bastards I knew with money were downright, mean, cold-hearted, sneering asswipes who would sooner run you over with their Ranger Rover (equipped with the 'rhino' package because you never know when a 'rhino' is going to charge you in the parking lot at Nordstroms) than allow you to cross the road safely.

So, growing up, even though I was blessed to have a loving set of parents, two beautiful sisters, and a safe place to come home to at the end of the day, my perspective on real life and finances was completely fu*ked up. I understood that whatever me and my sisters had was *not enough* and that because my parents were not multi millionaires, we were second class citizens. Not worthy of being noticed.

Okay, so those of you who are really observant....what does my belief system about money tell you? Let's break it down:

1. People with money are assholes.
2. People with money are cold-hearted and buy unnecessary African Safari packages for their cars
3. People with money pity & hate poor people.
4. I, under no circumstances, was going to grow up to be an asshole.

And guess what? Because I wanted NONE OF IT and was so fed up with the crappy rich-attitude I grew up with, I actively sought a life that was anti-wealthy because I didn't want to become an asshole. I dated men that were broke and couldn't hold jobs. I avoided any male wearing a suit. I spent my money when I had it rather than saving it. I bought what I wanted when I wanted it, regardless if it might cut into my rent.

Not only did I not want to have money because it meant becoming an asshole, I also had no respect for it. And all of it has shaped and impacted my life greatly.

Now that I know what I want to do for the rest of my life, I need the tools and fuel to do it successfully. And money is one of the fuels I will need. So, this nonsense towards feeling bad about money has to stop. Money is the key to my freedom, and for pursuing and realizing my dream of being a full time artist.

So, how does one unfu*k this perspective on money that has been the norm for my 40+ years?? Well, it's not easy, but first things first: If you want to be successful in your endeavors, you need to go deep diving into yourself and find those nasty jellyfish beliefs floating around that will sabotage your efforts. My big ole' fat jellyfish is money.

My mentors have all struggled with the money thing too, but they have successfully overcome their old beliefs and replaced with new beliefs that allows them to feel good about money in all aspects of having it, spending it, and sharing it. This is a good thing because - if they can do it, and have done it successfully, that means I can too!

How'd they do it? By reading books, working with coaches, meditation, self reflection.

And guess what? I'm going to do that too. In fact, my first book on 'money' and changing one's relationship just arrived in the mail. It's called 'Happy Pocket Full of Money' by David Cameron Gikandi.

It's time to be an adult and stop thinking of useful things - like money - as bad evil things.  And fix the relationship.

I will follow up with a post about what I learned from 'Happy Pocket Full of Money.'

And if you are also fu*ked in the head about money, don't be a stranger. We can share ideas, and talk about it, and help each other through it. I'm open to it. Are you?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Stories We Tell Ourselves...What's Your Story?

We all have a daily narrative we tell ourselves - it's our "story." The story of who we are and how we came to be. It's an intricate story too, rife with characters who show up and reliably say their lines, then disappear as the story goes on. In fact, we know this story so well, sometimes we don't even 'hear' it anymore. 


But we live it. Day after day after day.

What's your story? Is it a good one? Or is it a bit like mine - pathetic and a real tear jerker? Hard to believe I've lived all these years with this pathetic story about myself running along side my daily routines. The root of it steeped in my early years in a school setting which, sadly, seemed to affect me negatively despite all the reassuring and confidence building my parents instilled.

 In the spirit of being honest about my story so that we can all grow from realizing we need new updated stories, here it is:

My daily story goes like this: I’m smart, but not business success smart. Even the teachers in elementary, middle and high school saw that and did little to encourage me to shine with what I was good at: CREATING. Only the popular kids, or the really really smart kids got to shine. Not kids like me -I was introverted, shy, and wondered why my brain wasn’t like the other kids. Especially when it came to math and science. Lots of ‘F’s on quizzes and tests, and struggling to understand in a classroom setting made me believe that I didn’t have the DNA for success. That I was different. Strange. A loser. I struggled with feeling sub-par all my childhood, not really being good enough at anything to get the recognition I wanted by my teachers that the others kids got.

This is part of the story that I tell myself over and over again like a broken record, that: I’m just not good enough, and will never be as good as *them* and that I will just have to make do in life. I was influenced into believing I was nothing more than below average. Never really going to amount to anything. A struggler. A quitter…..

Until now.

How many of you have similar stories circulating daily? These ridiculous stories steeped in bullshit? Do you know that the story you tell yourself can deeply deeply affect your successes and accomplishments? These stories are very dangerous - like putting a cap over Old Faithful. Explosive, untrue, and if Tom Cruise had any say in it, he'd be suing the shit out of your personal stories for slander, falsified information, and defamation of character.

I'm not saying it's easy to rewrite your personal story, but you should. Starting right now. Even if it's just one sentence, or even one WORD. 

We are amazing people, people. We are geniuses. We are massively creative. We are fiercely loyal, exquisite lovers, fantastic writers, fabulous sculptors, life changing teachers, amazing leaders, fist-pumping counselors - I mean, c'mon. Enough with the shitty story-telling.

Time to rewrite our inner stories to reflect who we are today, highlighting all the accomplishments we've made (big and small!), with Madden announcing them ALL in a sweaty ball of shear unbridled excitement!

We are not our past. We are the now. Take what works from your past, but let the rest go. 

Time to tell a story about you that is REAL. That is *true.* You are a fucking mad genius who can make anything happen!!

So, what will you start your story off with? How about...


I'm a genius and I fucking Rock!


And yes, profuse swearing is absolutely permitted. If it takes the f-bomb to rewrite your super fantastic new story, then f-bomb away. You have permission. 







Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Does It Mean To 'Align With Your Higher Self'?

We've all heard it before, somewhere in our reading or meditative pursuits about "aligning with your higher self." Or maybe not? Honestly I've only just come across it and it sounds pretty deep. Mysterious. Exciting!

But, what does it mean exactly?

I know it's a deeply spiritual concept, and one that might leave some people feeling oogie. Not me. I'm ready for it. But I *need* to understand this concept a bit better. So after doing some reading, here's what I know.

Your 'higher self' is that part of you connected to and is a part of the Universe. That's my definition at least. Anyone can substitute the word 'Universe' with their word, like 'God' 'Source' 'Xanadu.' The important thing is that we understand the 'higher self' means the part of us that is deeply connected.

Here's what triggered the quest for aligning with my higher self - an all too brutally honest mid-life crisis. I woke up one day at the beginning of last summer and had a bad case of the 'mehs' proceeded by a lot of 'is this it? Is this all there is? Is this <<sweeping arm across bedroom>> the pinnacle of my success?' And then promptly swan diving into a major depression. Good times. Happy Birthday to me.

Fortunately, and with the help of a wonderful therapist, I was able to staunch the mid-life crisis before it lead to an irrationally based divorce, new boobs, and a red hot car. Something deeper was going on. Much much deeper.

Frankly, I think mid-lifes are the siren calls from our higher selves saying, "Hey, hello? So, you've cruised through your teen years being a dick, your twenties being a dick with a job, your thirties a dick in a marriage or relationship and a job (maybe kids), and now you're in your forties and you realize being a dick isn't *all that.* Time to reconnect."

Here's how I picture aligning with my higher self. It's like my life now is a pool of water. The higher self is the large rock in the center of the pool. To connect with my higher self, I must swim over to the rock, lift myself up and out of the water, and climb that rock to the top. It's not a big rock, but it is a step up from  life in the pool which is comprised of pre-conditioned ideas about suffering, the need for drama, and all the bullshit a life entails that is not connected.

Here's how aligning with my higher self *feels* (especially when I am painting - that gift which keeps the passion fires burnin' hot and heavy): When I'm in my studio painting, I feel good. No, I feel great. My mind is filled with good music, happy thoughts, and all the challenges creating a painting entails. I feel no pain. The aches in my knees, or in my head, or along my lower back are blissfully silent. And my heart - oh wow - my heart is wide-open to receiving anything that comes from love. It's a beautiful experience, and tells me that the time spent in my studio not only is necessary for my professional career, but it's a temple for my spirit, too. For my higher self to consciously plug into the Universe and all the possibilities that simply are.

It's a complicated concept this whole aligning with our higher selves. I think about it a lot. If I knew how to meditate, I might meditate on it (still working on that part...). Yet, as complicated as it seems, it's really a very simple concept. Why shouldn't we be at our happiest all the time every day sans all the bullshit we place ourselves into on a daily basis?

And it's the 'well, because!' that hinders this beautiful alignment from occurring all the time. "Well, because reality is tough, life is hard and my cat just puked on the new carpet!" I think we prevent ourselves from aligning with our higher selves because we feel like ultimately we're not worth it (a grave human condish), or don't have time in between dropping the kids off to practice, making dinner, and squeezing in a couple hours of work on the lap top after the kids go to bed. Honestly - can you hear the fuzz of friction? And the big picture being disrupted with ugly lines of [insert self ordained suffering]?

So, here's the deal: I'm going to spend more time aligning and figuring out how to do that outside the studio. Because when everything is aligned and plugged into, I feel like a rock star. And anything I dare to dream about with my art business has an opportunity to manifest itself into my life. Pretty righteous if you ask me.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Straight Talk

I want to write about following your gut, instead of your wallet.

No flash here. No accompanying pictures. Just straight talk only about what it means to grow into who you really are by listening to your intuition, instead of being head-driven by the wallet, or the "bottom line."

I'm talking to those of us who *aspire* to take our passions and turn them into full time creative lives.

This is a very important topic, and one I have only recently stepped into and contemplated. I have manifested a close circle of people I listen to and take advice from, people I trust based on where they're coming from and how they tie into who I am aspiring to become. These people are artists, coaches, spear-headers, and shit-kickers.

Not too long ago, I thought being able to live in my passion full time meant I had to put money first - the powerful green engine at the head of a long string of train cars filled with art, thought, ideas, concern, worry, discomfort, and fear chugging along a single track that would eventually get me to my end-goal.

But guess what? It's all a bunch of head space fuckery. The putting the bottom line first and working backwards from there. The 'hard sell' and the rah rah rahing from multiple business gurus telling you how to map to your success. Listen closely: Crumple all of it up into a tight little ball and toss it away.

Brazen?  Yep. 2014 is the year of 'Open' for me, and lemme tell you - so far, I have been *opened* way up. Yes, there is great advice out there. Yes it's okay to take what makes sense to you and apply it to your growing thriving business. But, honestly - if you think about it - the real success stories of companies and small businesses stems from those organizations putting their customers FIRST. Not money. Not numbers. Not marketing.

It's all about the people, people.

Putting your people first is so vitally important, I'm learning. Because instead of looking at your peeps as a number on a spreadsheet and how much money they spent on your product (the "bottom line"), you are - instead - caring for them, catering to them with your own brand of love and the magic you have to give, putting it out there with heart FIRST.

I'm beginning to get that success comes to those who are in alignment with their higher selves. What does that mean exactly? Tell you what, I'll address it in a new post. But for now, just know that when you are doing what absolutely feels right to you in every way, your people *find YOU*.

Does that take a heap of stress off your shoulders? I hope so. When you build your passion organically putting your people first, and listening carefully to business advice but only taking what works best for your special business (built by YOU), you'll find that running a business can be a deeply spiritual, wonderful endeavor calling forth those people who are drawn to you and what you have to offer because they know intuitively that you put them FIRST.

To me, realizing this (with the help of my circle of fantastic peeps) has made me totally re-approach how I'm building my art business. In fact, strike 'business' from that, and insert 'Life'...how I'm totally re-approaching how I'm building my Art Life.

There are some great books out there on this....when I finish reading them, I'll make some recommendations.

xoxo




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clap Along If You Know What Happiness Is To You

(Photos courtesy of Keith Dixon and Ren Allen. Jeanne Bessette 2014 Artist Workshop, Raleigh, NC)


I realize how powerful we all are as creative beings. Seriously. Did you know you can do and be *anything* you want? Bet they didn't tell you that a lot growing up (I know I didn't hear a lot of that as a kid outside of my family).

Well, it's true. And I'm just now - at the ripe age of 43 - beginning to *realize* it.

Guess what? I want to be an artist. A bright shiny star orbiting around life with color and creativity. And guess what else? There ain't nothing wrong with that desire, not one tiny little bit.

Man, if I could just go back in time - knowing what I know right now - I could replace all that bullshit brainwashing we're fed as kids about making money and living the 'American' dream, and fuel my confidence into believing (regardless of what "they" tell me) that I can do it! I can do it and I will and no, I won't believe anything otherwise!

Here's the thing: Being squashed into a conventional life is not for me. I hate it. It makes me feel confined. Claustrophobic. Anxious. Not knocking that life if that is someone's true happiness. But it's not mine. And that is one big huge takeaway from my workshop in North Carolina a couple weeks ago - that it's perfectly okay to be a creative person, and that as a creative person, I can make a wonderful living being creative! (How many of you are envisioning some authoritative figure in your childhood looking stricken by that notion? I'm picturing three at the very least....)

Thing is - whatever it is that you are and believe yourself to be - you are denying yourself a real shot at unbelieveable crazy happiness by stuffing your greatness into statements like, "If only, but it's too late for me now," or "Yeah, but you can't make any money doing it," or "Too risky. I'll retire first then go after it."

NO! NO NO NO NO NO!!! 

Wrong.

I think so many of our dreams (which really translates into the truth of who we really are) are dashed when we're young by bitter grown ups who march to the conventional tune but really don't want to (and, I'd just like to point out that it's never too late to pursue your dreams, your desires, even for bitter grown ups. Important ask: Why are they so bitter? I bet some arrows point to stuffing dreams in small shoe boxes that get shoved under the bed...).

So, part of the important equation for me to be the artist I know I am, and to make a beautiful life living my truth about me, is to let go of all those old belief systems and voices in my head denying me my RIGHT to pursue my dream. Can I hear an *amen!*? Not saying it will be easy to let go of all those old beliefs looping around and around inside my mind, but it can be done. It's all part of releasing what you're NOT, and embracing what you ARE.

Honestly wasn't sure where this post was going, but I think I got my point across. 

And you know what? I may preach some more on this topic. It's so important to me - to let YOU know that YES! YOU CAN! So, get steppin' and show the world who you really are.