A Leap in Perspective

Authenticity, Career, Creative Living, Healing, Life path, Life's Work, People & Relationships, The Self

I used to think that the only way I could fully live a spiritual life and be in an ecosystem of inspiring one another was by somehow working in the healing/intuitive arts. Lately though, probably as part of my spiritual progression, I’ve learned that –

1. If that is true, then that is very limiting. Not everyone is in or even comes close to the vicinity of healing/intuitive arts. How can we reach those/everybody if we just stay there? I don’t think the Universe is designed to be that way. If anything, we should spread out, expand ourselves, immerse ourselves in unfamiliar situations, engage with people who are different from us in some ways. In the process, learn, grow, be more integrated.

2. We are, by default, living spiritual lives because we are spiritual/energetic beings having a physical experience. We CANNOT NOT be spiritual.

3. Where else is best to live this so called full spiritual life other than where we already are doing what we already do?

Now I think that the goal is actually not to be a healer/a guide/a mentor/or just a spiritual person by profession or by being validated by a particular organization or institution, but to be all these things and so much more simply by choosing to embrace our truest self, our essence – which is love and light – and to show up in the world everyday embodying these where we are and with whoever we interact with.

We have all been touched by “common” people in profound ways;

be it a hairstylist who has shown us great love and compassion when we’re heartbroken, a stranger in the bus who radiated joy and kindness when we felt hopeless towards life, a family member who offered us advice we needed at that time, a colleague who we never thought of as a friend but who suddenly got our back during one of our personal storms, a deceased artist whose works have inspired us to take risks and go for our dreams.

To others, we have played these roles, too, without us knowing about it. We’ll never fully know the mark we leave on each other.

We gotta check in with ourselves. If our inquiry and path naturally leads us to the healing/intuitive arts then great and that will surely benefit all of us. If not, we must have the faith that probably where we are right now is where we can best grow and be of service to others.

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Already Living the Dream

Authenticity, Creative Living, Life path, Manifestation, The Self

There was a recent period in my life where I found myself devouring non-fiction books about creativity, authenticity and having clarity about one’s life path. Since I’m the kind of person who is passionate about matters like life purpose and co-creating one’s reality, I doggedly pursued the answers to such questions to the point that I was merely being cerebral about them. That hurt my brain and caused a tightness in my chest.

In one splitting second, though, in the middle of yet another book which was supposed to hand me some clarity, I felt the bigger version of me, who’s all-seeing and being, left a casual remark,

“But you’re already living your dream life.”

I was sitting in a corner of my favorite bookstore at that time. Nothing has changed about the place nor the people there. But that message has made me zoom out of my limited point of view. I looked around to see others who were also peacefully or intensely engaged with the books on their laps. Then I realized, that yes, I’ve already been living my dream life.

I longed for the freedom to be introspective and creative, and I got it.

My obsessive search for clarity died down. There was no need to run along my hamster wheel anymore, in search for answers that were always beyond my reach. The answers I’ve been looking for could be found not in my seeking but in my ability to be fully present in each moment, having faith that where I am is where I need to be.

Put Yourself Out There

Art, Authenticity, Creative Living, Life's Work, The Self

do it

A few years ago, as I was preparing to join my first art market, I remember having a discussion with myself regarding my anxiety on putting my work out there.

I felt soooo self-conscious. I kept questioning the quality of my work, my skills, and whether I deserved to have a spot in the open at all, together with a bunch of other creatives.

I’ve never had a problem creating art and being spontaneous with it. If anything, it’s where I felt the most free. It’s my happy place. On the flip side, sharing my work was something else.

So there I was, walking back and forth, with clammy hands I prepared for my big day. I organized my items and all the publicity materials that I’d be bringing with me the next day, the day of the art market.

I WAS DREADFUL.

I was still unsure if I was gonna join even up to the point where I was done prepping. In the corner of my mind I thought I could still back out, yes, despite weeks of painting for hours and spending all my savings on my hand painted bags.

A voice broke my rumination; I heard her screaming in my mind’s ear:

“Simply go the fucking do it. Put your fucking work out there.”

“You will know what’s gonna happen once you’ve done it. For now, stop ruminating about it.”

So I did. I went to the art market. I put my work out there. And I was able to sell them (I didn’t even believe people would actually pay for them but they did!). I also met many friendly and interested people. I caught some people smiling at my bags. People took photos. The world didn’t break apart and swallowed me whole. No one humiliated me.

Since then I conquered my fear of sharing my work with the world. I kept joining art markets. It didn’t always go well (monetarily, speaking) and many times I felt as though I was wasting my time. But something delicious and unexpected came of out it – the confidence to put not only my work, but also myself out there (’cause when you’re sharing something you’ve created, you’re inevitably sharing yourself, too, especially if you’re also the one marketing and selling them).

This confidence is no longer limited to my hand painted bags but to all forms of self-expression; be it my writing, dancing in public, putting on make-up and dressing myself up the way I want to, making jokes, among others.

That voice might have sounded harsh to me at that time, but she was right for pushing me to just go for it. Now to you my self-conscious friend I say, stop ruminating and go the fucking put yourself out there! Do it for yourself! There’s a space for each of us in this world. Own yours and use it. 😉

You are not lost. We are not lost.

Creative Living, Faith, Life path, Life's Work, Manifestation, The Self

You may be confused at the moment. You may be in a foggy part of your path. You may be feeling lonely, probably you’re running out of faith in your tank, too. While I won’t pretend to know how exactly you must be feeling and what exactly you’re going through, ’cause I acknowledge the realness that each of our journey is unique, I want to extend my empathy and  best wishes to you as a kindred spirit.

Many people have accused me of not knowing what I really wanted with regards to my career and life path. Many people have withheld trust from me because of this perception. Many people belittled me. It went on for so long to the point that I started believing them.

But in the middle of my recent retreat, when the fog started to dissipate and I could have some clarity again, a knowing just sprouted out, like a tiny mouse that has been hiding simply to protect herself from the momentary chaos around her. I knew then with full certainty that it was not true that I didn’t know what I wanted. It was not true that I was intrinsically confused. And in fact, it was not true that those people who have accused me of not knowing what I wanted really believed in that –

They knew very well that I knew what I wanted but that it was simply not what I was pursuing.

Of course, they didn’t have any idea what it was that I wanted, but they’re pretty sure that it was not what they were offering me. They didn’t know why I was not pursuing what I wanted but surely, they’ve got all the reasons to not wanna work with me. My mind was somewhere else. That’s why they rejected me.

My issue was not the not-knowing but the suppressing of my own desires in the first place because I thought they’re too big, too impossible, too far for me to reach. So I put my focus on other things, I reached for the low-hanging fruits instead.

I was playing small. I didn’t even dare speak nor write about my desires. I simply let them float like clouds above my head as I walk through life half-awake.

There was no blueprint that I could use, no map to lead my way, no one I personally knew I could ask for guidance – these were the reasons why I refused to pursue my own path, refused to even own it to begin with.

You might be on the same boat and these might be some of your reasons, too. Yes, we may have forgotten what it was we were truthfully passionate about after pursuing something we have merely settled for, but I dare you to look inside yourself and realize that you know you are not confused. In fact, you very well know what’s gonna make you happy and what’s gonna enable you to live your life to the fullest. Maybe the answers are not what you expect from yourself, maybe they’re not what the people around you expect from you.

But this is the truth we all have to confront – that we won’t ever be able to pivot in the right direction if we don’t own these answers. We can’t move through the path of joy and fulfillment if we judge our own desires to begin with, if we feel unworthy of them, if we think they’re ridiculous or impossible.

We have to stop looking outside of ourselves for validation. We need to avoid comparing our dreams with those around us, or even with the people we look up to.

Each of us has a unique path of becoming. It is both our right and responsibility to claim it – to take it.

The path will unfold and our steps will be lighted once we say yes to it. All the other possible paths collapse through the power of our focus. It will be a path of uncertainty, exactly because it’s a new path – it’s ours alone. There will be ups and downs and bumps along the way like any trail of adventure, but each stone, each broken branch, each puddle of mud will only take us closer to where we wanna be. Even though we’re not there yet and it may take a while we can always rest in the knowing that we are not lost and our efforts are worthwhile.

 

Our Door to the Divine

Creative Living, Faith, Life path, Life's Work, Manifestation, The Self

My Creative Process

Creative inspiration and divine guidance come from the same Source. They are made of the same energy.

As a visual artist and writer, my encounters with creative inspiration go something like this –

An idea, almost always already a full-blown one, knocks on my “energetic door”. It wants to be born into the physical world and this can only be made possible through a channel capable of shaping it into material form. When I say “yes” to it and let it in, the actual work starts pretty quickly afterwards. It translates to a drawing, a painting, a poem, or an essay, since these are the things I am attuned to producing.  This is the same process I’ve been going through for years, which by now, has enabled me to collate a body of work that bears my unique imprint.

I said that it almost always arrives at my door as a full-blown idea because more often than not I feel as though the concept has already been finished even before I do the actual work, for instance, before I even dip the brush into the paint. I know it may sound weird to some people, but I don’t see any other way to put it. Almost always I feel as though I simply give birth to it to material form. Its essence has already been completed somewhere unseen.

 

We are all Channels

There are many channels in the physical world – it can be a human, a group of humans, animals, the weather, nature itself, and even the little seemingly mundane coincidences that happen everywhere, all the time, among others.

The chosen channel only depends on what kind of idea or energy is knocking on the door of the material world.

As humans with free will, when an idea knocks on our door, we can either say “yes”, let it in and do the work, or say “no” and go back to sleep, or to whatever it is we choose to do instead. Due to our signature energy that we emit all the time, we keep on attracting creative inspirations day in, day out.

 

Our Door to the Divine

What many of us don’t realize is that saying “yes” to creative inspiration is actually our door to the Divine. When we let it in our world, when we agree to be a channel by which it gets manifested into the physical, we actually welcome the Divine into our life. We agree to become an instrument for its creative and transcendental power. This is how all things have been made possible – everything that we see, utilize and enjoy around us.

People of different cultures have named it in various ways – some call it God, some call it Source, some call it the Universe, some call it Love, and the list goes on. However we prefer to perceive it, it’s the same Force, and the name we give it is secondary. What matters is how we use it to shape our lives and the lives of others. What matters is who we become because of our belief in it.

When we say “yes” to it and do the work that entails us, we are in for the ride of our life.

It’s where we learn about our creative power and our true divine nature. It’s where we remember the workings of Life. It’s where we remember how to keep our connection with the Divine open regardless of external circumstances. It’s where we contribute to the evolution of All That Is.

 

Our Work is our Anchor

The kind of creative work that we do is our anchor to our divine nature. It’s what keeps us grounded to the Source’s universal purpose of joy, oneness and expansion. This is one of the ways by which we let “love” in our lives, and as a result, we become its dutiful servants.

As we get better in forging this connection, we become more capable of letting it flow through us in all kinds of situation.

We become more receptive to how love wants to manifest and the ways by which we are being called to be its instrument. We could feel it “knocking” on our energetic door/ our heart, asking us to help manifest it into actual form. This could translate into a variety of ways; either be by turning an idea into an actual object, it could be by responding to a stressful situation in a gentle way, it could be by being strong for others, it could be by taking care of ourselves, it could be by sharing what we know, it could be by making a difficult decision or by going towards a certain path, among others.

 

A Friendly Note

This energy is always knocking on our door – sometimes we receive it through our mind, sometimes through our heart or even through our gut. Most of the time, it reaches us as a subtle energy, more like a hint of curiosity. But really, it can come in whichever way that we are most attuned to at any given moment. In these initial phases, especially if we are still getting familiar with the process, we must at least not be so quick in dismissing it as some irrelevant, random thought or feeling. We can take our time – all the time that we need – to immerse ourselves completely into it. It’s more of a journey than an event.

This process, which has shaped my life, has taken me to great depths and heights that have always surprised me. It has ushered my life into the direction I’m in and has transformed me into the person I’ve become, and continuously becoming. Having reached this place in my creativity and faith, I don’t see a better way to live or be.

I wish the same thing for you.

 

xoxo,

sd

If Writing is your playground, take it seriously

Creative Living, Faith, Life's Work, The Self

“Writing” can also be substituted with any creative activity you’re passionate about. Whatever it may be, I’m telling you (in case nobody hasn’t), it’s your portal to your own Divinity. It’s where you can be creative, candid, curious, fascinated like a kid again. It’s where your inner child never grew up to begin with.

The Divine is encouraging us all the time to go back to this place, to keep a part of us always immersed in this state because this is what nourishes us. This is what keeps us connected with our Power. This is what enables us to see the truth in our existence and in life as a whole.

I got this knowing after posing these questions, “Why am I suddenly writing again? Why do YOU want me to write again?”

I have always been a writer. I’ve been writing essays, stories and poems since I was in grade school. The people around me have always seen me as a writer. They read my stuff, they liked my stuff, they liked working with me. I didn’t have to do anything, basically, to make a mark and make them accept me as a writer. I simply wrote. I wrote profusely.

I read a lot, too. I read all sorts of stuff – fiction, non-fiction, texts in English, texts in Filipino, old stuff, new stuff, I devoured books and magazines about writing. I took up writing classes. I got rejected, many – too many – times, too.

I kept a journal quite consistently as well. Writing, to me, is as necessary for my survival as thinking. I think through my writing. I make sense of things by writing them down. I release energy through writing. I come to life by writing.

I access the Subtle, the Ethereal through writing. It is one of my connections to the Divine. It teaches me about forging and strengthening this connection. It enables me to get better at harnessing its force down to our material dimension.

It is my playground. It is where my Spirit can breathe and run wild. It is where my Spirit is unbounded, unhinged by fears and other kinds of limiting beliefs.

I have been questioning my own passion for writing lately. I felt self-serving that I was spending a lot  of time – too much, I would even say – on it. I berated myself with thoughts of playing small, thinking that I was wasting precious time on something silly. People around me no longer cared about my writing. My kindred spirits were all gone.

But then, the Divine explained to me why it was important, why I had to take it seriously. It is my intention that you learn how to honor your passion completely as well. It probably is your smoothest portal to your own Divinity. When you unlock that, my friend, that serves beyond just yourself. We all bask in each other’s light.

xoxo

sd

How is your relationship with Solitude?

Creative Living, Introversion, The Self

s

As an introvert, I know Solitude like my own Spirit – the two are inseparable. I long for it, I devour it. I breathe it. I need it to refill me; to nourish me.

Creative life is fueled for the most part by Solitude. Making pivotal shifts and great leaps are only possible because of Solitude. Healing can only take place in the solitary dimensions of emotions and spirit.

Especially when I’m hurting, lonely or angry – I crawl into my solitary cave like a wild animal. There, I do the internal work as long as I need to. I come out transformed.

In Solitude I connect with the Divine; it’s where I download visions, inspiration and guidance. There, I bathe my inner child with play. There, I conquer my own demons. There, I anchor myself in my own Spirit. There,  I build my core.

Like many of my fellow introverts, I have been insulted and diminished by extroverts and ambiverts all my life due to my huge demand for Solitude and my disregard for their stamp of approval.

I march to the beat of my own drum even if sometimes it means I have to march alone.

Despite this inexplicable torture I go through until today, my belief remains that separation from groupthink is necessary for innovation and revolution to take place. It doesn’t matter what one’s natural temperament is – solitude is the bedrock by which any transformation – and any work of substance – can happen.

On Passion and Money

Creative Living, Manifestation, The Self

giveup

Not everything we’re passionate about are meant to be turned – cannot be turned – into a financial resource. Many things we are interested with or naturally good at are better off untamed, without any pressure to become anything more.

I saw this happen with my art. A couple of years ago I tried to take my visual art “to the next level”. I wanted it to become a financial resource for me and not just a hobby. I had a blast and I felt satiated because I just accomplished one of my greatest dreams.

Along the way I had to admit, though, that I couldn’t turn it into a profitable business not because it didn’t have the potential, but because its sole purpose in my life was to bring me joy. It wasn’t an easy thing to admit to myself, but nonetheless, liberating.

By pressuring my art to become something other than its purpose I was sucking the life and magic out of it. I was also putting a burden onto myself. Eventually, I just had to give it up and kept on with my search for my next day job.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s not so bad having a day job and a separate life of passionate pursuits. Sometimes it’s the only thing we can do, anyway, to keep our passions alive.

I just gave up the vision of turning my art into a profitable career/business, but I didn’t give up my commitment to a life of creativity and play.

I don’t think I’m wasting my skills simply by not turning these passions into a profitable business/career. I keep on creating, anyway. My art nourishes my spirit and to me, that reason alone is enough.

Cheers to an Open Secret

Career, Creative Living, The Self

holiest

When somebody gets credit for something exceptional, we’re all wowed and we couldn’t believe how they could achieve something so well despite their apparent humanity.

What we don’t see are the innumerable hours they’ve spent practicing – and failing. Failing hard. Failing and taking the real blows. The rest of us only witness the glorious outcomes.

I want to make a virtual toast to those hours spent – grinding it out, pulling ourselves together, pushing ourselves forward, standing tall, trying and trying until we get it right – until we get better.

Those are the holiest hours. We are transformed during those moments.

We’re all being chiseled in the fire. We must relish those moments, too, for we won’t be able to handle the successes in store for us, without first becoming the person this process is gonna turn us into.

Musings on embracing the Creative Life

Creative Living, People & Relationships, The Self, Women's Room

To be an artist is to create and recreate. To create and recreate is to be vulnerable. To be an artist is to be exposed, criticized, broken down, blown up in unimaginable proportions, taken out of context, diluted, wrapped in cheap plastic bags, vandalized or simply ignored and erased from memory.

As an artist, you would continuously find yourself caught up in same type of crossroads – Be authentic and please yourself OR bend over backwards just to please others.

Your feelings can range from a simple existential discomfort to soul-tearing agony. It basically depends on how daring you are in stepping up your game. The more you choose to embrace authenticity, the more you’ll get better at it, the less difficult feelings you’ll harbor in return.

To be an artist and a woman is another thing. Combining the two suddenly makes it more complex and intense. Suddenly, others (including fellow ladies) become more critical, too. Layers of standards and prejudices pile up all.

It’s not easy for the people around the artist and the woman as well. Sometimes, things disclosed and exposed can get way beyond their reality and understanding.

To love an artist and a woman needs a certain amount of self esteem, unconditional strength and love.You have to be adventurous enough to not only tolerate, but to enjoy and appreciate all the honesty, contractions, contradictions and ecstasy of living a life of sensitivity and self scrutiny.

Creation, exhibition, humiliation, resurrection – these are all important parts of the journey to self, universal knowing and unconditional love. Embrace the life of your own creation, suck in your temporary fears and march out in the open. It’s all meaningful. Believe that it’s all worth it. It is.