July 13, 2011

Right now, the economy is so bad that it’s tempting to give in to fear. I could easily sit home worrying about finding work and protecting my investments. But there’s really only one option: I have to celebrate my life.

My whole outlook has changed because of a month-long online class called “Blast Off.” I took it in June with art consultant Alyson Stanfield. Her specialty is helping creative types to successfully pursue their passions.

She was just what I needed because as a writer and painter, I sometimes feel like a double fail. I mean, really — could I have picked two more unstable fields? But at the end of the course, I was surprised to find myself transformed.

The class covered budget planning, getting organized and ways to keep growing artistically. The material also challenged me to step up my game as an entrepreneur. So to stay on track, I now do three things every morning:

What do I already have?

Here’s a thought for the day:

“Remember that when you are in a state of appreciation and gratitude, you are in a state of abundance.”

Is this quote a wow or what??! It’s from “The Success Principles,” a 2005 bestseller by author Jack Canfield.

P.S. – I just noticed that there’s also “The Success Principles for Teens: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.” I’m going to order it for my daughter and will let you know if she likes it.

By the way, if Canfield’s name sounds familiar, it’s because this guy is a major player in the inspiration publishing world. He’s co-creator of the phenomenally popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series.

What you have in the life you want

Every morning, I think of five “gratitudes.” At first, the process felt forced. But now I look forward to starting the day with a quiet, grateful reflection.

Today, my gratitudes are:

  1. My new shoes look so good on me.
  2. The new family dog keeps me company when I’m driving around on errands.
  3. Counting calories on is actually fun.
  4. Thank God that the dishwasher works.
  5. I got such a good night’s sleep.

What’s next in the life you want 

In addition to gratitudes, I have affirmations. Unlike the gratitudes, these don’t change every day. Instead, they are eight key things that I want to continually acknowledge about my life. It took a while to figure out what really matters. I wrote and re-wrote many times.

I keep my affirmations on some old, unused postcards that my parents had saved. With both of my folks dead, this is a nice way to keep them close on this new journey.

Reading the postcards out loud to myself every morning has been a trip. Some of my initial affirmations sounded cheese-y and defensive. The one that really kicked my butt had to do with defining myself professionally. Here’s what I went through:

I am always true to myself.

I am an artist who makes beautiful paintings.

I am an artist with an irresistible vision, unique vision.

I am a hot new artist.

Bleh, bleh, bleh!

I recently hit on something that sounds okay — for now: I am a beloved writer, painter and teacher.

Here’s the postcard, both the front and back views:

In these next two affirmations, rewriting gave me the confidence to be more engaged:

There was only one affirmation that I wrote with no hesitation. At 54, it’s annoying to be in an obnoxiously youth-fixated society. Women my age are treated like invisible, neutered old ladies. I refuse to be taken for granted. That’s why I say this:

Being real

Eventually, I soul-searched my way to a full list of eight affirmations:

  • I am a beloved writer, painter and teacher.
  • I am making a difference in the world.
  • I enjoy the moment.
  • I am a MILF.
  • I always make time to love someone who needs it.
  • I am a money maker.
  • I am mixed-handed.
  • I am a fulfilled romantic.

Okay, so tell me honestly….how ridiculous do I sound? Well, I don’t care. The affirmations are already helping me. Just the other day, I was negotiating a business contract. During a tense moment, I started to feel overwhelmed. To keep myself from caving, I suddenly thought to myself, “I am a money maker!” and took charge.

My love life has benefited too. After a great start 10 months ago, the bf and I had a difficult winter and nearly-disastrous spring. Then over the last month, my affirmation went from “I am a romantic” to “I am a fulfilled romantic.” Seeing myself as already fulfilled in my own life made me appreciate what we had. The magic is back! Sweet.

I’m even resolved about being being a lefty who was forced into right-handedness. Now I see myself as “mixed-handed.” It’s a description that  eliminates the sense of deficit while being totally accurate. Yessss!

How fast does this work?

If you want me to show you the money, that might take a while. At the moment, I am not quantifiably richer financially or creatively. But at least I wake up feeling great. And that’s an excellent place to start.

Soooo, if you feel like playing, feel free to brainstorm and think out loud in the space below. Is there anything you’re grateful for as you read this? Any truths about your life that are worth celebrating? The act of getting them out of your head and seeing them on this post could be quite magical.xoxoxoxo