Tag Archives: success

If you’re never afraid, you can never be brave.

I love a challenge. Testing myself. Curiously pushing further, stretching my limits. Investigating new possibilities. It’s not about adrenaline. Not about the thrill of danger. My challenges are always about improving my life. Improving my strength, courage, compassion, skills and wellbeing. Becoming more real. More ME.

This means I’m on a constant journey inside my head. Sometimes it’s a leisurely walk under sunny skies. Sometimes a challenging adventure. True, some of my so-called adventures would probably underwhelm you. Things that others never think twice about might take all of my willpower to overcome or achieve.

On that note, this week I went back to my yoga classes after two weeks of absence. Sickness and travel had kept me away. Now, I was nervous. Not so much because I felt out of shape, but because I knew that they had started doing part of the class without instructions. I would have to perform the initial fifteen minutes of Surya Namaskar on my own, at my own pace. This stirred up a whole flock of butterflies in my stomach.

During the last few months, I had overcome my first anxieties and hesitations about doing yoga at all. I had even come to love it, realizing that it’s the effort that counts, not the result. (In other words, being unable to place my leg behind my head does not make me a failure.) However, now the challenges have been cranked up a notch. Like having to do things without someone telling me what to do. Naturally, it wasn’t a big deal, once I did it. And I knew beforehand that I would be just fine, which made it fairly easy to ignore the butterflies, take a few deep breaths and just do it.

That was a purely mental challenge. The next one was both physical and mental. And more difficult. And unexpected. And I panicked.

Sirsasana.

If you are a yoga devotee, you know that this is a headstand. Getting into position, I was probably a bit like a rabbit that just heard a twig break. Alert, anticipating disaster, but absolutely still and calm on the surface. I planted my forearms and head on the floor. Then with my butt pointing straight up, I started easing my feet closer to my head. Meanwhile, my whole being screamed silently: DON’T DO IT!

Of course I didn’t do it. I just sat back down, shook my head when the instructor asked if I wanted help, and stared at the floor in front of me until we moved on.

Every yoga class ends with a few minutes of relaxing flat on our backs. I’m usually a master at relaxation. Honestly, I can fall asleep wherever, whenever. This time I kept taking shallow breaths, staring at the ceiling, listening intensely to the incoherent thoughts of nothingness rushing through my head.

I hated this experience. But I love the challenge it places before me. I hated the sudden fear. But I love the opportunity it offers me, to be brave and conquer myself. Once again.

 

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The Maker

Making believe.
Making a mess
Making something out of nothing.
Making a change.
Making it work.
Making it up as I go along

Making love.
Making a living.
Making a precious moment last.
Making an effort
Making mistakes
Making my humble dreams come true.

Life is always in the making.
I’m the Maker.
So are you.

The color of 2011

I started Flowervalley Stories exactly one year ago. (True, posting has dwindled to a halt lately. But that’s another story.) My first post was about the year to come. About envisioning the character of 2010, through my choice of a new diary.*

You see, I believe we need rituals and symbols. As I once wrote, “I have no god, no religion”, but I have a strong belief in the power of love and the human mind. So I choose and create my own rituals and symbols. And for me, picking out a new diary towards the end of a year is a symbolic act of closure and evaluation, of vision and new beginnings.

Last year’s color was red. “Red for passion, courage, sex and fire. Red for love.” I could have added red for pain. Don’t get me wrong, I have no self-pity. I believe this stage was necessary in order to move forward. To break old, safe habits. To start saying yes. Taking risks. Exposing my true self. Sacrificing some to win more. This new habit of mine has been both painful and rewarding. And I’m ready to move on.

So, yesterday I bought a pink diary. Shocking pink, in the words of the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. I discovered her creative genius and inspiring attitude at the Musée de la mode et du textile in Paris, in 2004. Schiaparelli was a strong woman with a mind of her own. She challenged old aesthetic truths, experimented with fabrics, patterns and shapes, and was at least as much of an artist as a fashion designer.

I challenge the general image of success and happiness. Experiment with myself, both on a professional and on a personal level. In 2010, I quit my job and started my own business in order to start exploring my creative and intellectual needs and potential. I entered into a number of relationships which were all doomed from the very start, in order to acknowledge myself as a sexual being.

And on that note, I even challenge the division between professional and personal. Is it possible to be always professional, always personal? I think so, and I will continue to test that hypothesis next year. Like Schiaparelli, I want both worlds. I want to add value to the business and brands of my customers. But I also want artistic, intellectual and emotional growth for myself and for people around me.

The color of 2011 is shocking pink. Pink for creativity, kindness, curiosity and fearless energy. Pink for love.

*You can read “The color of 2010” here, if you wish.