art / career / creativity / learning / transitions / travel / yoga

Day 10/28: The Challenge of Celebrating Victories

For my 10th post, I wanted to delve into celebrating victories and why it is so difficult for us to take ownership of our accomplishments. It’s one thing to stand behind the achievements you created for a company or for other people, but to me, it’s a whole other thing to celebrate the victories in what I call your passion projects. Passion projects are things you create on your own that are life-giving and light you up. It’s the work you do that lights up your motivation and reflects your highest self and talents.

As I clear my head from this reverse culture shock fog and work on this #1blogpostdaily project, I’ve realized that there are so many small victories I have never celebrated and so many accomplishments in my passion projects that I never thought of as being a big deal.

Why do I do that? On a bad day, my Type A perfectionist can’t accept failure and can get so impatient and frustrated. I’m not gentle with myself and oftentimes sense that things are not progressing or resulting in the  way I want it. That’s unfortunate because it robs me of my true joy and my worth. Luckily this blog project is helping me sift and sort through this patch-work of experiences so I can reclaim some unrecognized victories.

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Back in 2009, I spent two weeks in the Philippines. The experience changed the trajectory of my life path. I walked away from my crazy overbooked and burned out life in the States, and embraced this time off. My routine on that trip was stripped down to some very basic activities. I’d wake up and walk to this beach from my grandfather’s home. I’d work on my sketches on the shore, jump in for a swim, and finish it off with a run. In the afternoons, I practiced yoga, read books (St. Ignatius, philosophy, and Tolstoy), and wrote in my journal.

Even before I stepped on that plane, I realized that my life was lacking experiences that enriched my heart. I knew things were going to have to change, and to make sure I didn’t lose the inspiration from my vacation, I signed up to attend my first drawing fundamentals class at an art school in Houston. I somehow knew that coming back to the States would depress me and I needed to have something to look forward to doing when I got back.

Somewhere on a beach in Boracay questions and crazy ideas started to come up at an overwhelmingly rapid pace. Why can’t I continue living this lifestyle? Why couldn’t I live in a naturally beautiful place? Maybe I can live a life where I practice yoga, work on my art work, and explore new places? By the time I came home, I remember telling my colleagues that one day I want to teach art and yoga at a bed and breakfast. One co-worker stared at me and said, “Well, couldn’t you essentially do that now?”

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I’m going to fast-forward this story to 2016 at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I’m standing on a platform which extends out onto the shores of the lake. You begin to get lulled by this splashing waves coming up to the shore. The volcanoes and the sunshine provide the focal point for my students . And, here I am. I’ve been given the opportunity to teach an art and yoga class at a hostel. I remember leading a very powerful and vigorous practice to students from various corners of the world- the UK, Israel, Russia, and Guatemala. Afterwards, I remember chatting with my students as they creatively worked on their art projects a little nervous about the task, but eventually really getting into it and very appreciative about the class. By the end of the class, I walked away feeling like the experience was anti-climatic.

Looking back on this day, why would it feel so anti-climatic? Am I insane? Am I ungrateful? I really don’t know to be honest, but this is a horrible way for me to view this experience at the lake. As I write about this juxtaposition of these two experiences, the person who I was in 2009 and the person I became in 2016, it’s time for me to take ownership of those two experiences and celebrate all the moments, actions, and obstacles that got me there. It’s time to reclaim that day as a victory that should be celebrated.

I want to recognize my courage for seeing this vision for ARTYOGAPLAY through from that minuscule idea in my head on a beach to the circuitous series of leaps of faith, late nights filled with hustling, and the collection of supportive people I found on my path. It was a slow crawl and there was a lot of questioning and doubt.

There were caffeine fueled late nights working on sketches and art school projects. There were evenings when I was afraid I’d miss yoga teacher training because I was busy with a project deadline at work. There were days where I knew without a doubt I just had to create a company that combined my creative skills and passion for yoga. Then there were days where I wondered where was this going especially on the days when you had only one student show up to class or even more humbling, the days when NO students show up to class.

I want to also acknowledge the behind-the-scenes work: the time spent in doing the Artist’s Way, the hours I put in learning Spanish, and the investment and faith it takes to have confidence in your passion project. The next time I create a victory in my life I really want to take more time to cherish the accomplishment.

Is there an area in your life that needs to be recognized? Where can you celebrate the victories in your life? 

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