April 18, 2010
I came to Holland as an established professional in my field. I had made a name for myself in calligraphic circles in the US as well as designing several books that had been published internationally.
In 1988, however, Holland’s art scene was in the grips of avant-garde ‘Dutch Design’, and calligraphy was looked down upon as belonging to the (lesser) craft arena. Computers were supplying acceptable calligraphic typefaces, DTP was on the rise, and suddenly my expertise was not only inadequate, but also irrelevant.
During the period that followed, my self-worth and identity as a respected calligrapher, artist and designer imploded. Partly this was because they were no longer serving , as my friend Jeff commented on the last post, my deeper life commitments. Painful as these years have been, they opened to search for a new heart’s path.
I must have worked through every ‘Find your passion and the money will follow’ self help book on the market.
‘The Artists’s Way’, The Self factor, ‘Creating a life worth living’,’Do what you love and the money will follow’, and ‘What color is your parachute’?, are only a few of the guides I methodically studied and put into practice over a 15 year period.
It has been an amazing time, when I consciously started to change the course of my life.
This post is actually just an introduction to the one I want to write next about what happens when your dreams start to be realized. Scroll down to next post.
So what happens when your long held dreams start to be realized?
You find out what you really want to create in your life by how you feel when it appears. Some intents and desires are ego wants. Getting them supplies a short-lived satisfaction before the next object of desire presents itself. And the whole frustrating process starts again.
But when your goal or wish is truly aligned to your heart’s direction or life path, when it starts to materialize, the joy and opportunity begin to multiply. One fulfilled goal simply prepares the way for the next series of related goals and thing start building up a momentum of well being and a sense of being perfectly on track; in ‘flow’ you could say.
Example: a long-held dream of mine, to give creativity courses in which people experience and learn to harness the healing and transformative power of art, recently was set into motion.
Aafke believed in me and with Martine, got the whole thing rolling. They organize, cook, network and cheer the whole thing into being. We’ve started gently with exploration of materials, a few self-reflection exercises, and gradually, the workshops are growing naturally toward my original goal. We are giving the third one next month and there are plans for more. Not only one dream has been met with these workshops, but my desire for more collaboration has also happened. I’m no longer doing it all by myself. So far, we are a good, harmonious team and we are all growing through organising these days. Not to mention the people who have been touched by participating. During the last workshop, one woman recently found the courage to follow her own creative dream and has begun her own catering business. So it keeps rippling out.
That ‘s how you know if your dreams are aligned to your soul purpose, they don’t quickly bloom, peak, and die; they are more like seeds in fertile ground which if you nurture them, go on bearing sweet fruit. And more often than not, they benefit others as well as yourself.
April 16, 2010
Today a friend and I decided to embark on an adventure together. She is at a crossroads and I have the time, a quiet sunny space and vested interest in seeing her shine. So we are going to get together regularly and do creative discovery exercises until she finds what her heart wants to tell her.
People in transition are so beautiful. They have taken the risk to let go of whatever wasn’t nourishing them, even if it was safe, and they have leapt without any assurance that there will be a net there to catch them. Their identity is in shreds, especially if they identified with their former activities, they are vulnerable, a little lost and therefore wide open. Whenever I get the chance to work with someone in this chaotic period, it feels like a present has just been delivered into my lap. Because this is what makes me light up— seeing the creative potential in people, often before they do, and accompanying them through the dark period that comes before they start believing in themselves again. This work is what I have always been moving toward, so my new companion on this journey has no idea how much she is giving me by letting me do what I’m good at and love to do.
And of course, now I am grateful for the years here where I too felt lost and like a failure because I wasn’t listening to my own heart, and as a result nothing I did led to structural income generation or lasting fulfillment. Through those lonely years, though, I gained the tools to help myself; and now they can be applied to others in the same situation.