Today’s shared stories come from Cris Gladly and Veronica Funk.
“Once upon a time, not very long ago …
I was living a very different life.
It was a small life.
A lonely life.
I was a bird in a cage.
A million different stories begin like this.
Mine. Possibly yours.
So many great adventures seem to begin in dark places.”
This is how the story of Doing What I Love begins.
Because I have been afraid my entire life.
All of the time.
Of just about everything.
Then, I woke up one morning (after 18 dark, disconnected years)
and decided: I’m tired of that!
So I kicked open the cage door of my old life,
and flew out on untried wings into a world entirely new.
And now my days are spent pushing past fear.
And doing this is “doing what I love”.
Not because it is easy or comfortable.
Oh my gosh, it is soooo NOT remotely either of those things.
But because it is honest.
And living an honest life is the only way to live that makes any sense to me.
So in this new world, I live into this honesty
by using my love affair with words to tell my story.
After years and years of calling myself “a writer” without actually writing,
I finally launched a blog, called Gladly Beyond,
where I share the story of this newly unfolding journey.
The ups and downs of it.
What is beautiful and difficult about it.
It’s a story about what is real, for me.
The world as I see it through these brand new eyes of mine.
The process of sharing my Self in this way
has been powerfully transformative for me.
There was something about fully and unapologetically stepping into
the truth of my Self
that prompted all of the bullsh*t in my world
to simply crumble and fall away …
Projects that did not nourish me creatively …
Connections that depleted my energy …
Relationships that did not honor me …
Just blew away on the wind.
No fighting. No fuss.
Just “bless you, but be gone.”
It’s scary some days.
It has been lonely.
But I am more authentically and loving tethered in my Self
then I have ever been before.
My happiness is honest.
My grief is honest.
And what I share of my Self with others is more deep and true.
I am my real Self now.
And this, I love!
Because when you give up trying to be your “best self”
and embrace being your “real self”
everything that is beautiful about you shines through.
There is an element of breathing room that manifests.
A breeze of possibility that blows in.
The sky itself expands for you.
And so now, what lies ahead, as my wings strengthen,
is even bolder and more playful exploration into that expanse.
As my business organically evolves and grows
I have taken on two new “fear” sub-projects under its wing.
The first is an unofficial research project exploring the attributes of true love,
called Solo Me. The second, which I am ridiculously excited + scared out of my mind about
is an exploration project about exploring the very world itself,
called The Terrified Traveler™.
And so the path ahead holds much the same as the path behind:
Pushing past fear.
Opening up and being honest.
And doing, as bravely as I am able, with heart wide-open, what I truly love.
[All images courtesy of Cris Gladly.]
Find out more about Cris on her website.
I’ve always felt ‘different’. During my school years this was a challenge. Academically I was doing just fine, physically (gym class) not so much. Though I got along well with others, I was skinny, small, shy and to top it all off, I received my first pair of glasses in sixth grade at a time when glasses were not fashionable at all.
But I was fortunate that, even though our northern school did not have an organized art program, the teachers incorporated art in as many ways as possible. They introduced us to a variety of professional artists with whom we had the pleasure of meeting – cartoonists, weavers, poets, photographers, and musicians.
In our language arts class, one area in which I actually excelled until I had to make a public presentation, we created maquettes of the theatres that were utilized during the time of Shakespeare, and we listened to the beauty of the words in the ballads of the Beatles and Bob Dylan. We were taught to stitch, bake and knit. And those of us who were interested in woodwork, leather and metal had the opportunity to learn to work with tools such as a lathe or an arc welder.
Our public library was also our school library with an attached community exhibition centre where we experienced art in all genres. It was in these spaces that I initially found my home.
Hours disappeared as I was exposed to a great variety of art and craft, and to the kindness of the artists and artisans who created them. Then, in eleventh grade, we moved across the country. It was a challenge to move at that age, but because I was in a larger school, I was able to study drafting, fashion design and ultimately fine art. I began the formal study of line, composition and colour, and was introduced to a great variety of media including clay, printmaking, ink, and paint. I was finally in my element.
As I grew up I was often told that I would not be able to make a living as an artist and as a ‘growing-up’ I have learned otherwise. Originally I followed the direction of others at a huge financial and spiritual cost to me but I have realized that each one of us needs to create our own path by doing those things we love.
For me, it is in painting and exhibiting my work, in writing and sharing my words, and in encouraging and supporting other artists as a Curator in my local public library and as a Director on a Board that supports the growth of the arts in my community.
I have learned that others respond to the passion of my heart and support me in this journey as long as I remain authentic and true to the core of my being. I am still growing and learning to trust my voice in this journey. I am learning to surrender myself to stillness so that I can be open to opportunities that lie ahead and that excites me.
[Images courtesy of Veronica Funk.]
To find out more about Veronica visit her website.
Want to get closer to doing what you love? Why not join the transformational Do What You Love e-course, to identify your passion and make it a greater part of your everyday life? Class bustards soon. Find out more and register here.