“Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss-off and terrify lots of people – including yourself. One minute you’ll pray the transformation ends, and the next minute you’ll pray it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time…brave, afraid, and totally alive!” I LOVE this quote by Brené Brown, researcher and author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.
And man, oh man, have I decided to live with my whole heart as my compass and commit an act of defiance! Talk about a Black Sheep Evolution! On February 24, 2015, I resigned from my 11-year, tenured professor position to take a leap into the unknown with seemingly no safety net (although I KNOW the Universe will catch me!).
I’m currently following my passion of art by creating a curriculum for art workshops – not to teach technique – but to inspire women who may feel stuck in circumstances that society told them they belong in or that they’ve outgrown.
Raise your hand if you’ve been there (or are there now). I know I have – twice! The purpose of these art workshops is to help you identify and honor your life’s Purpose, just as I’m striving to do now. The end result will be a juicy art journal and a canvas piece – a Vision Canvas – to symbolize your True Self emerging! How powerful and cool is that?!? (Don’t worry if you’re not artsy – no art experience required in this safety zone!)
Taking this huge leap into the unknown abyss may seem like a knee-jerk reaction to my friends, colleagues and family, but really it’s been incubating within my heart for several years – like a bird preparing to hatch. And, my 2015 Libra horoscope actually predicted a huge life flip was on the horizon.
I’m not one to live by my astrological forecast, but I do believe some people have the ability to read the stars. Plus, this particular forecast has proven eerily accurate in the past. My horoscope stated that 2015 brings a once-in-every-12-years life changer that is a result of the foundational work laid in 2014. For me, 2014 brought about the creation of vickiworldart.com, a memoir draft, and a seedling idea for a workshop mapping my life events with the steps of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and illustrating those steps with my memoir portraits with the purpose of helping others to follow their inner calling. Kind of a “my candle has been lit/let me light your candle to pay it forward” movement.
But, let’s test this 12-year-life-changer theory even further. In 2002-2003, after my divorce, I graduated with my doctorate, landed the assistant professor position at my now-former university, and moved from Texas to Connecticut solo to begin a totally fresh existence – shedding the skin of a nonworking wife who had lost a baby I was not meant to conceive.
Twelve years prior to that life transformation in 1990-1991, I graduated with my master’s and married my hairdresser husband. This relationship, which evaporated, actually started the journey toward my current life position. The inner turmoil caused by the abrupt shift from wife to single professor was the big push toward creating my visual diary of portrait paintings that symbolize major life events at snapshots in time. Today, I realize that I can use my story, memoir portraits, and art to help others find their calling. Life is coming full circle in a super cool fashion!
(PS – I ran into a friend at a party recently whom I’ve known since 2006, but never knew the details of her life. While discussing this 12-year-life-changer theory, we discovered that she’s also a Libra – her birthday is one day after mine – and that every 12 years, she’s also experienced a major life event. We were married on the same day in 1991, and her husband passed away and she retired in 2002/2003! She’s currently deciding what to do with her long-time family business this year. WOW!)
Looking back, it’s clear that everything that has happened in my life has been part of a Divine Plan. We may not be able to see the reasoning for what happens to us in the moment, especially when some events are difficult and scratchy. But I believe the Universe is always gently urging us to move toward our life’s True Calling. Pema Chödrön, Buddhist teacher, confirms this by saying that difficult events happen so we will evolve toward True Self and not remain the same.
Transformation is the concept depicted in my portrait, Black Sheep Evolution. Rainn Wilson, actor and co-created of Soul Pancake, believes that creating art is a form of prayer. In January before I made the definite decision to turn in my resignation and follow my Purpose, Black Sheep Evolution was a fervent prayer that I’d have the guts to be “brave, afraid, and totally alive” all at the same time, eager to shape shift once again and allow my life’s calling to burst forth.
Do I know what the future holds or what the outcome will be after taking this leap of faith? Nope. Does that scare the poop out of me occasionally? You bet! Do I know yet who I am in this new life role? Taking it one baby step at a time. But, I know in my heart this leap is the next right step of my Divine Plan. If I had ignored my intuition and taken the safe route (aka – ignored my life’s calling, stayed in my secure job and continued doing art as a part-time hobby), I would be living with regret and deep self-disappointment. To me, that would be the polar opposite of being “brave, afraid, and totally alive.”
I believe in Joseph Campbell’s quote, “Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
So, what about you? What transformations and/or obstacles have you faced? How have you overcome? Especially my Libra Soul Sisters – how is this 12-year-life-changer theory happening for you? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
And, if you would like to receive updates about upcoming art workshops, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the scooby of when this creative goodness begins!
Shine on! The world needs your light!
Vicki – xo