Self-Transformation: A 4-Letter Word or Your Birthright?

ntuitive Portrait: Anni

I adore this quote by Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So powerful!

I shared this beautiful quote with my 84-year-old mother the other day. She’s not a huge fan of change or causing a stir because of her fear of what others might think. She said she tends to shrink back to not cause what she perceives would be negative attention. So, when I first told her that I had resigned from my 11-year, tenured professor position to dive full time into life coaching and offering art workshops, she was shocked and disappointed. She said that she’s embarrassed to tell people in the small, rural Texas town I grew up in that I’ve gone from begin a professor – something she’s quite proud of – to this unknown entity.

This type of reaction has been a common thread in our relationship when I’ve decided to act outside of the “norm” and forge my own path (i.e. – not wanting to have a child, moving solo from Texas to Connecticut).

She usually comes around…eventually.

But, I can’t let those obstacles stop me from following the path that I know is right for me. Do I wish she could be more encouraging? Absolutely! Is it difficult to move forward toward a dream in the face of negative feedback? Yes, it’s caused more than a few tears. But I have to do what my heart is compelling me to do – to continue the journey of fulfilling my life’s Purpose – or I know my soul will shrivel within me, and my Light will be extinguished by “playing small.”

Tim Storey, author of Comeback & Beyond: How to Turn Your Setbacks into Comebacks, says when we think, “Is this all there is to life? There has to be more to life than this!” we’re experiencing Divine Dissatisfaction. That nagging tug in your heart is the Universe’s way of nudging you to grow into your True Self, shine your Light, and play BIG.

I recently read a fabulous book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, by Elle Luna. She offers a hypothesis that really struck me: what if your job = your career = your Calling? In other words, what if your job/career/Calling were one in the same, and there was no distinction between what you do on a daily basis and what your life’s Purpose is?

As I describe in my Honor Your Purpose mini-course (sign up here free!), after I discovered through meditation that my Purpose was to use my art in some way to inspire others, it became clear that my job/career had nothing to do with my life’s Calling. This became extremely painful and frustrating. As Steven Pressfield states in The War of Art: Break Through the Block and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, the pain of NOT following your Calling becomes more intense than the fear of taking the leap toward your Calling. That’s when you find yourself at the crossroad of Should vs. Must. Will you continue to live the life your family or society thinks you should be living, or will you take a chance on going against society’s grain and let your Light shine, play big, manifest the glory that IS within you?

Looking back, it’s astounding how I’ve begun to make the shift from playing small to following my Purpose. In 2002 after my divorce, I briefly dated a guy I’d met in a singles Sunday school class at church. I showed him the first three of my visual diary portraits that I painted as a purging emotional release after divorce and while going back to school for my doctorate: Inner Beauty Blooming, Defiance and Sea of Hope. After I described the life circumstances depicted in each piece, I immediately felt hot and heavy regret. So vulnerable and wishing I could shove the words back down my throat! I swore then that I’d never again show anyone my portraits or explain the very personal messages behind each one!

Fast forward to December 2013. After discovering my life’s Purpose through meditation, it finally seemed natural and necessary to share my portraits and their stories beyond the walls of my home. That’s when was conceived. Fast forward again to January 2015, when I knew in my heart that I could not sign another contract at my university. The drumbeat of my Purpose had become too loud and too constant to ignore. I had to take the plunge, resign from my stable job and take the blind leap of faith into this new era of job = career = my Calling. Scary – yes – but the most joyful and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done!

And a new venture is bubbling to the surface. Creating my memoir portraits has given me comfort and joy throughout the years, depicting snapshots of my life at certain moments in time. But, what if I could do that for other people with paintings of loved ones or images they regard as dear and that hold meaning in their lives?

So, I’m dipping my toe into the new pool of painting Intuitive Portraits that capture people’s essence and vibration. The first I’ve painted is a portrait of my BFF’s daughter, Anni, who recently graduated from high school and is going into college this fall. Her intuitive portrait includes positive messages at this young crossroads in life – a quote from Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman,” a quote about following your calling from Danielle LaPorte’s book The Desire Map, hidden butterflies for transformation, feathers for freedom, birds taking flight, and a reminder to Shine.

(If you’re interested in an Intuitive Portrait, let’s discuss possibilities! Email me at

So, where are you on your Self-Transformation scale? Are you resisting inevitable change or has your drumbeat become so loud in your heart that you know you must create a shift to begin the journey toward your Calling? The unknown and lack of certainty can be terrifying, but from where I’m standing, the light is brighter, the air clearer, and the joy deeper and more true.

The world is waiting for your unique gift. Will you take the leap? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Tweet: Shine your light. Play BIG. Fulfill your purpose. Serve others.

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