Stop being so fixated on comfort.

Let’s face it, nothing about being a woman is comfortable. From puberty to menopause and all the pms in between. Uncomfortable.

Bras, heels, stockings… Uncomfortable
Honestly for most of us being in our own skin… Uncomfortable.

It’s no wonder we seek comfort in our lives and daily routines. But does that daily routine make you happy, or do you go through the motions everyday just accepting that’s the way it is?

Let’s talk about a different kind of comfort, the one we call our “comfort zone”. The one we hold on to with all our might and then proceed to complain how we don’t have what we want in our lives. The comfort zone that keeps us in dead end jobs and relationships. Keeps us in our proverbial rut.

Well, sorry to say but if you want things to be different for yourself then you’re going to have to get intentional about growth. Your going to have to leave that comfort zone behind.

We may have to deal with pms and menapouse as a fact of life, but so much more in our lives is up to us.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, always wanted to accomplish? Those “wish I could” moments are usually the result of us staying “comfortable and not exploring what’s outside that comfort zone.

Until 3 years ago, the idea of painting in front of people was terrifying to me. Alone in my studio, my comfort zone, that was just fine, but you couldn’t even sit in there with me while I paint, no less me set up an easel to entertain you so you could watch, or climb a wall to do a mural so you could see me possibly fail miserably. I could actually hear your voices in my head saying, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing”, “She’s really not that talented”. And why in the world at the age of 45 would I start doing things differently when it came to my art? I had been accepted as an artist and was doing well showing in galleries and around town. Why would I risk “looking bad”, when I was finally doing “it”. Being an artist.

Because I wanted more, because I had dreamed since I was a little kid about setting up an easel outside while music pulsed my veins and creating something, anything. I dreamt since I was a teenager of making a difference and sharing my work.

So, I did it. I accepted an invitation to paint with three other artists, live. Yes, in front of people. I was a nervous wreck and I was convinced my painting would be horrible and everyone would see me as a fraud. Instead I had fun, and created a piece I was actually proud of. What I took from that experience wasn’t that I had made a nice painting but that I did something that terrified me and I was ok. There was no reason for me not to be ok. Even if my painting wasn’t good. I showed up, and I did it. I would decide if I was ok, not the opinions of the people watching.

Isn’t that what typically holds us back? What we think other people will think? I’m starting to realize I’m not all that important to other people. They may have a fleeting opinion about me, but those who judge are too busy looking for the next person to judge to be worried about me and what I’m doing. Those that care about me will admire I took a chance and encourage me. I choose those people. Yes, I get to. I get to choose to surround myself with those people. And I get to make the decisions in my life that point me towards growth and acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Maybe then that skin I was talking about earlier will feel a little more comfortable.

Now I look for opportunities to paint live in front of people all the time, and it’s shaped my career as an artist. It’s one of the most fulfilling, spiritual things I do in my life. To think I may have never discovered that had I not been willing to get out of my own way.
What in your comfort zone holds you back? Who do you surround yourself with, critics or cheerleaders?

Take off your bra and let yourself get uncomfortable in the ways that matter.
Happy Monday.

Peace

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How can we have it in the world, when we’re constantly at war with ourselves? By the age of 11 or 12, I had had an ample amount of experiences where I felt judged, embarrassed, shamed or less than to figure out I didn’t need other people or outside forces to make me feel less than, I could do it all by myself. Through negative self talk, I’m not popular enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough, smart enough, organized enough the list goes on and on, and as a result, I developed my self worth.

By the time I was in my early twenties it was clear, I surely wasn’t enough. At 23 I was already married and had given birth to my twins, Grace and Gianni. This would make me enough. But now I had new shortcomings to add on top off my ever growing list. Now I wasn’t a good enough wife, I didn’t want sex enough, I didn’t keep the house clean enough, and my skills in the kitchen certainly weren’t enough. As a mom I constantly questioned, do I discipline enough, do I teach my kids what they need in life enough, do I give enough of my attention, do I nurture enough, do I encourage enough? As a professional do I work enough, make enough, know enough, blah blah blah.

Good lord it’s exhausting, no wonder we can’t find peace. And I say we because I know this list is not all that foreign to you and you can probably add several things to it. But let’s get back to the word “peace”. When was the last time you felt like you really had it? A day at the beach, a spa day, a good book in a quiet place? How about everyday peace? Is that even possible?

Ok I have to share… I’m writing this in the airport and sitting across from me a little chihuahua just went nuts barking and scared half of us out of our seats. The owner, an elderly lady, pulled out a water bottle long after the dog had calmed down and holding the dog like a purse pointed it at her face saying quite sternly “no bark, no bark”. Now we all know that wasn’t to really discipline the dog, especially since no water was squirted. That was to show all of us she was in control. She needed to make a statement that she was completely capable of controlling the 6lb ball of ferocious fur. I’m sure it brought her some peace the smiles a few of us gave her that it was all ok, but the glares from the other passengers had her completely unraveled.

Do you have peace stealers? Worrying about what other people think? Saying yes when you really want to say no? Worrying about paying your bills? About loosing weight? If your partner is cheating on you? Or do they love you at all anymore? Are the kids making the grades, behaving? It’s an endless list when it comes to our kids!

I don’t have a magic answer to slay the peace stealers, but what I do know is we can begin to take our peace back. One of my biggest peace stealers is that I procrastinate and put things off I’m not comfortable doing, often making what isn’t a big deal turn into one because I’ve put it off for so long instead of just dealing. Guess what, there’s an answer. I could just do it. Oh that’s silly, I’d rather stress myself out, put it off,  loose sleep and suffer the consequences.

What’s stealing your peace? What peace do you steal from others? Can you change it? Or maybe it’s just accepting its out of your control and you just have to let it be? Trust it will all be ok.

I’m coming home from a trip to see my mom. It’s been two years. My mom stresses me out. She steals my peace. Actually NO, she really doesn’t. Just like when I was a kid I’ve learned to do that all by myself. I want to control and change things, and because she doesn’t become what I want her to be, I live in a constant state of “no peace” or stress when I am around her. Was this visit easy, not always. Was it stressful? Sometimes. Did I loose my patience? No. Normally I would have, but this time I said I’d accept my mom exactly the way she is, the same way I expect and want her to accept me. I can’t tell you how much peace that brought me. We were probably both a little less stressed because of that simple decision.

I’m a constant work in progress, but I’m learning the work doesn’t have to be so hard. We make it hard. I do want peace in my life. So I’m willing to work towards it, I’m willing to trust that what I can’t control will take care of itself. I do the next right thing and other things seem to fall into place. Then and only then I start to feel better about myself. I’m finally figuring out this self worth thing. We give it to ourselves. No one else can give it to us. That means we are in charge of just how much we have.

Today measure your self worth, find your peace. Once you’ve found it, then you can share it, and one by one we just might make this world a better place.