If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death. - Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Inner work can be scary. Imagine holding a mirror up and asking that person in the reflection if they really, like realllly like what’s staring back at them. Expressing who we truly are inside is something that most of us are good at as a child but as we grow up societal programming tends to take over.
I’ve been teaching a workshop on this at retreats and here I’m sharing one of my favorite exercises for self-discovery.
My personal mission is to inspire women to find their most authentic self and true confidence through holistic practices, creativity & experiential travel.
Most of you know me, but just in case you’re new here, or need a little refresher about who I am here’s a bit about my story.
The Counterfeit Innovator
I spent 10+ years as a senior executive for a beauty brand. I began with that company right after college, hustled to move up the corporate ladder, worked 80 hours-week, and traveled non-stop. It was a life many fashion-loving, career-climbing women in their twenties live for. I worked for a brand that I believed saw value in me, and so I behaved how I assumed they viewed me. While it was truly my dream job at the time, my job and promotions defined me. 10 years in I began to realize that my satisfaction often came in the form of material things, shallow relationships, night after night of parties and I was missing something.
That something I was missing was a connection to myself and my higher purpose. I read Stephen Pressfield’s book for the first time around that time, and in regards to that quote, well - I realized I was probably more of a counterfeit innovator than I’d like to believe.
Remembering My Inner Child
I reflected: what was the inner child of my youth like? When I time traveled back and went deep into my memories I recalled that she was a delightful, playful, charming little person, who loved to be with friends and was eager and curious to learn. She loved colorful travel maps, and had globes in her room. She organized neighborhood fashion shows and photoshoots.
Fast forward to adulthood: I never considered that there were ways to create a job doing the things I was interested in at that young age. However, in 2014 I left the security of my six-figure corporate job - opened myself up to vulnerability and potential failure and booked a one way trip to the Mediterranean with little more than my camera and a journal. (If you dig back far enough in this blog you’ll find the early stages of that new chapter of my story unfolding!)
My intention once I arrived?: to check in and see if there was more to me - a hidden away creative side or some sort of intuitive wisdom I didn't know was there. Doing this freed the artistic entrepreneur inside of me, and released extraordinary possibilities.
An Exercise to Uncover Your Authenticity:
Before we begin: I developed these exercises after taking a variety of healing workshops, spending hours and days on podcasts and reading piles of manifestation, actualization and self-help sort of books. If you want a list of healers, I’ve got several to recommend and send gratitude to each of them and those workshops, books, podcasts and more for inspiring me to create these exercises!
The first exercise in my latest workshop for uncovering your authentic self involves some time travel and serious reflection. It starts with getting into a meditative state. If you’re already great at that, skip ahead. If you need a little help getting into that state keep reading:
Finding A Meditative State:
1. Get comfortable. I like to meditate in child’s pose. Maybe it’s not the usual picture of how people meditate but honestly it doesn’t matter how you’re sitting as long as you are relaxed, but not sleeping and free of bodily distractions. For me, while I’m in child’s pose I roll my forehead side to side, feeling a slight pressure of the ground, focusing on my third eye center and nothing else.
2. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly grounding into the moment. If you find that your mind is leaving the focus of your breath count 7 breaths in, 7 breaths out focusing on each spinning wheel of chakra energy running down your body as the breath travels. If that feels like too much, just count the breaths in and count the breaths out while letting go of tension.
3. Get Present. Consider each section of your body, consider the sounds around you and the temperature of the room. Notice how you’re feeling throughout your body.
4. Set Your Mental Intention. Say to yourself something like: “for the next 10 minutes I’m here to be in this meditative space. Mind, please don’t disturb me. Thoughts, if you arise I ask that you come back at a later time. I am abundant with clarity now.”
5. Lastly: visualize. As you begin to consider the questions below try a few visualization exercises seeing what arises into your mind and how clearly you can hold a picture, sound or sensation in your imagination when it arises. The longer you can hold that visual the clearer the outcome of the exercise.
Once you’re in a meditative state we’ll enter into a guided meditation.
A Guided Meditation to Discover Your Story
While in your meditative state, let you eyes drift up, read each of the 5 questions below and focus on the words you’ve read deeply and fully. Close your eyes again, ponder the question and allow a visual to arise in your mind. Hold that visual for as long as you can. Once it starts to leave you allow your eyes to come back up and journal what you saw, felt, heard, and imagined:
Time travel: what was the inner child of your youth like?
Imagine: what does your magnetic, most luminous self look and feel like?
Visualize: what images, words or sounds arise for you when you consider your soul essence?
Reflect: what stories are you telling yourself that doesn’t serve you?
Recall: What comes to mind when you consider the dreams of that inner child and that luminous version of you?
Once you’ve worked through the visualization and journaling around each of these questions - consider the word list below. Take your time and read through each of these words. Which ones leap off the page at you? Consider the essence of you and which of these words you’d like to incorporate into your essence.
That’s it! You’re taking the first steps toward calling your authentic self forward. If you found that not many mental pictures came up for you or it was difficult to find the answers through the journaling process, keep trying. Come back again tomorrow and the next day and do the exercise again. Once you’ve had an opportunity to really process what arose for you within the visualizations and journaling, commit to going back into this same mind space and spending time calling that luminous version of you, and your true inner child essence forward.
When you start feeling down on yourself, go back to the list of words - specifically the ones that resonated with you and remind yourself that you are that. Say it out loud to yourself even. It’ll feel weird at first, but give it a try.
For me, when I say it out loud, considering those words, it could be this:
I am intuitive and visionary. I am layered with candid brilliance, organic conversation and hyper-creative expression.
Sounds good right? Feels good too - and it’s bigger than that “think positive” stuff - it’s about owning the essence of what’s already inside that’s ready to come out. Oh! And one last thing: the reason I shared that story at the opening of this post - when you truly look at who you are, who you were and where you want to go it opens things up wide. I’ve shared that story dozens and dozens of time, and it holds me accountable to who I was, the lessons I take from those experiences and how much growth is possible!
I want to hear from you guys as you practice this exercise! Leave me a comment or send me a DM. You’re the first people I’m practicing this one, so thanks for coming along for the ride and stay tuned for additional exercises to come!
xx, much love -
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