Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Painting a Feeling

3 mini paintings by Rosa Phoenix

Here in the desert, I am learning to make art all over again.

That's because, I'm finding that my artistic language and tools that I use (painting, drawing, photography, collage) are inadequate to express what I see and feel here.

Inspiration is everywhere.

The sense of space, eternity and the scorching radiance of the sun are overwhelming.
Visually, the desert is a stunning place, with sculptural rock formations, mountains and mesas, canyons, prickly plants, unusual wildlife.

Above all this, a great sky constantly unveils new wondrous shows of clouds, lightning, changing colors, light and stars.

I don't want to make "representations" of this landscape. That would result in a poor imitation of Mother Nature.

The great power I find in the desert is not what I see, but what I feel.

How can I put this feeling into a painting?  

These 3 mini paintings continue my experiments with horizontal bands of alternating colors.

These are more "painterly" and loose. These are not literal landscapes or skyscapes, but they suggest that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paxton Gate

Paxton Gate describes its wares as "treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and the natural sciences."

I hesitate to call it a shop. It's more than that. It's an experience.

It's like entering a secret cave, where a wizard lives. 

Here are all the magical stones, herbs, crystals and plants that the wizard uses in his sorcery. 

There are also lots of taxidermy animals, skeletons and fossils. Creepy and fascinating, yet also funny.

The most memorable display was the flying fairy mice, each one outfitted with a fine costume. These enchanting little mice tell many stories. Frozen in mid-flight, it's easy to imagine that they are under the wizard's magic spell. 

Sadly, this display is no longer there, replaced by some punk rock, bride and groom, and priest mice.

If you have a love of the macabre and bizarre, and you are not afraid of the wizard's magic, this is a wonderful place to explore.

Paxton Gate is at 766 Valencia Street in San Francisco.

There's also a Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids at 824 Valencia Street.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inspired by Agnes Martin

mini paintings by Rosa Phoenix

I've returned to the desert where I grew up, in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The desert of the American Southwest has always attracted artists, 
who are drawn to the open skies, raw landscape, sculpted rocks and dazzling light.

A couple of years ago I visited the Dia Arts Center in Beacon, New York. There I encountered for the first time, the works of Canadian-born artist Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004).

Her paintings couldn't be simpler: stripes in the palest colors, painted on a pencil-drawn grid.

by Agnes Martin

In concept, it seems one-note and one-dimensional, but actually, to be in the presence of these paintings is a transcendent experience. It's not something that translates as a reproduced image. 

Paintings emanate with the energy and intentions of the artist.

A painting is a lot more than just colors on a surface.

photo by Bill Jacobson

I still keep Agnes Martin's paintings in my heart.

I learned that she lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, just like another of my favorite artists, Georgia O'Keefe.

The desert is a harsh environment. 
It is a huge, open space that makes a person feel 
very small, insignificant and vulnerable.

How do you capture that sense of space? 

The desert invites a different kind of artistic approach.

Lots of decoration and embellishments don't work. Ornate patterns don't work. Realism doesn't work. 

I think the maxim "Less is more" applies here.

Agnes Martin had a particular genius for this.

Agnes Martin

Here in the desert, I'm clearing my mind.

As an exercise, I created my own works, inspired by my desert surroundings, and Agnes Martin.

Using some small, square canvases, I used masking tape and latex paints to create a series of striped paintings. Here are some in progress, with masking tape on:

mini paintings in progress 
by Rosa Phoenix

I used desert colors.

When I put them together as an installation on one wall of my room, I was pleased with the result. It is a suggestion, rather than a literal interpretation, of desert beauty. 

I wake up and see the colors of the desert. I see the sky, the clouds, the earth, the light. I see Indian blankets. I see the striated colors of the rocks. I see sunrises and sunsets.

 This wall of mini paintings keeps my mind clear and creative.

I like the rhythm of the stripes.

wall of mini paintings by Rosa Phoenix

I feel so inspired by the beauty that surrounds me. 

Like Georgia O'Keefe and Agnes Martin before me, I find myself challenged to create in a whole new way.

Here is a video interview of Agnes Martin, where she talks about the painting process. It is quite enlightening.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mini Minimalist Paintings

grouping of mini paintings 
by Rosa Phoenix

The desert whispers:

Strip away what's non-essential.

Embrace space, sunlight, solitude, silence.

There is peace and beauty in simplicity.

Find the rhythm and the harmony.

Take time to live. 

*more about these paintings in this post here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food for Thought: Blog Action Day 2011

Carlos Candelario was born without arms and legs. 
His mother had been exposed to a cocktail of toxic pesticides 
whilst harvesting tomatoes (photographer unknown)

Today is World Food Day, and it is also Blog Action Day. This year's topic is food. 

We all have different experiences with food and we all need food for life.

As I've been working on being a more conscious consumer, I have questions about food, and what it means to all of us.

Please feel free to respond in the comments!

Questions for you!

Where does your food come from?

Is your food a world traveller? Did it come from an exotic locale? Did it fly on a plane, sail on a boat, ride on a truck?

Or is your food a native, or a local? Did it come from a nearby farm? Or your garden?

Nopales cactus
at Mexican market in Phoenix, AZ
How long is its life cycle?

Who grew or raised your food?

What is it? Animal? Vegetable? Fruit? Fungus? Spice?

What's in your food? Is it GMO (genetically modified organism)? Was it raised with pesticides or chemical fertilizers?

Right 2 Know March
to Washington, D.C.
is a group of concerned people
who want GMO foods to be labeled

How does the food you eat affect your body?

Does your food cause disease? Does it lead to sickness and early death? Do you eat the "Standard American Diet (SAD)"?

Does food give you life energy? Does food heal you?

Do you have a favorite market?

Do you like to try new things?

Or do you like to stick to what you know?

What's your favorite food?

What attracts you to food? Color? Smell? Presentation? Package? Price?

This is my 100th blog post!

I'd like to celebrate with you, by sharing some recipes I like.

Enjoy in good health!

1 small can chickpeas, with 1/2 of the liquid 
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
salt and pepper if desired

Blend ingredients in a blender. Serve with warm pita bread and raw vegetables like carrot, celery, tomato and spinach

Massaged Kale Salad

Wash kale and remove the stems. Tear it into small pieces and put into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and squeeze lemon juice on top. With clean hands, "massage" the kale by squeezing and pressing it. Do this for a couple of minutes and the kale leaves will start to wilt and turn dark green in color. It will release a beautiful floral fragrance!

Enjoy the kale like that, or you can add raw, cut-up vegetables and salad dressing, to make it into a mixed salad.

Green Zinger Smoothie

1 apple, cut and peeled
1 banana
1 celery stalk
1 slice of melon
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut
handful of baby spinach leaves
small piece of ginger root, peeled and cut
coconut water or filtered water

(these ingredients are suggestions, use whatever you have available)
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. If the mixture is too thick, add water or coconut water. Drink immediately.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dave Deppner, Friend of the Earth

Watch the video to learn about Trees for the Future

Dave Deppner, Founder of Trees for the Future, passed away yesterday.

This remarkable man, along with his wife, Grace, and the organization he founded, made a great impact on the Earth, by helping people re-plant deforested regions all around the world. He did this work quietly and humbly.

I was fortunate to meet Dave, Grace and some staff members of Trees for the Future at the 2007 Green Festival in San Francisco. At the time, I was searching for ways to help reverse the damage that humans have inflicted on our Earth. I discovered that Trees for the Future is doing good work with local communities, world-wide.

My support of this organization began with a 2008 Earth Day Art Show in Oakland, California, which raised money to plant 1,000 trees in Senegal. I have been supporting Trees for the Future ever since.

Reflecting on Dave Deppner's lifetime of work is truly inspiring. 


Trees for the Future

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Are you a Visionary? Use Visualization techniques to turn your dreams into reality

 photo by Rosa Phoenix

Are you a Visionary? Are you using the powerful mind technique of Visualization?

Visualization is a buzz word that I've been hearing a lot about lately. It's a technique that visionaries, artists and creative people use naturally to produce great works of art and inventions. It's also a technique that many successful people use to set and achieve goals.

I was searching online for a good explanation of visualization, and I wasn't able to find one easily. So I wrote a short, simple summary of how to use this technique. This is available at 365 Just Show Up, Dr. Audrey Low's blog about creativity and the daily practice.

If you are interested in learning about visualization, please follow the link to the article here:

Are you a Visionary? How to use the power of Visualization @ 365 Just Show Up

Friday, June 17, 2011

June is the Month of Roses

photo by Rosa Phoenix

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
- William Shakespeare

The magnificent Rose! Queen among flowers.

What could be more sensual, sweet and intoxicating, than these soft heavy blooms, gently opening to release their fragrant perfume?

In delicate hues ranging from creamy whites and pale yellows, to pastel pinks, peaches and lavenders, to deep scarlet red, and framed by glossy green leaves, they are among the most attractive flowers in the garden.

Yet one must be careful, and beware of the thorns.

The rose is a symbol of romance, passion, eternal love, and feminine beauty.

Wherever roses are present, they will bring a sense of grace, pleasure and relaxation.

There are so many ways to enjoy roses. Freshly cut roses in vases will beautify and perfume your home. The flower petals can be scattered across a table or a pathway, for a special celebration like a wedding. Or they can be sprinkled in a bath for fragrant and luxurious experience.

You can cook with roses, using candied rose petals or rose water, or drink rose hip tea.

Rose is one of the most blissful and heavenly fragrances, so naturally it is one of the most popular perfume scents, and used in aromatherapy and skincare products.

The rose doesn't only look and smell lovely, it will make you look and feel lovely as well.

There are many wonderful products using roses. Here are several that I especially enjoy:

Edgar Cayce's Rose Petals Rosewater. It is pure rose essence in special water. It comes in a mister bottle, just perfect for spritzing it over the face and neck on a hot day, or whenever you need a mood-enhancing spray. It is pure enough to be used as a flavoring for foods and drinks. It makes me feel happy and beautiful!

L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines perfume. What a gorgeous full rose scent.

Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Creme. A rich and protective moisturizer for sensitive, dry or mature skin. Feels cool and soothing. It is formulated for the face but it is also nice to put on the hands. A precious substance, each 1 oz. tube contains the essence of 30 roses.

Here are some places to visit, that are known for rose gardens:

Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. is known as the City of Roses. It is home to the International Rose Test Garden.

Read about the Rose Festival of Kazanlak, Bulgaria. This region is one of the world's major producers of the highest-quality rose oil. Roses have been cultivated there for 300 years.

David Austin Roses, breeders of English rose varieties, has rose gardens in Albrighton, U.K. and has compiled a list of recommended rose gardens in the U.S.

How will you celebrate the month of Roses?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Connection

a hopeful sprout!
photo by Rosa Phoenix

This little sprouting plant just emerged 
from the dark depths of the earth, 
and got its first rays of sunshine! 

Doesn't it look like a bird with wings outstretched, ready to fly?

Happy Earth Day!

This year, Earth Day has a special meaning for me. I'm enjoying new ways of connecting with the Earth. 

I've planted a small vegetable garden.

I spent many years in cities, living in apartments where I didn't have access to a backyard or garden. This is the first time I've planted anything in the ground.

The little sprout in the photo above is from a winter squash seed. I'm not sure what type of squash it is, I will just have to wait to find out.

I've considered myself a true city girl for a long time.

This year I felt a strong desire to re-connect with the Earth and plant a garden. I don't know why. Now I wake up early each morning and work in the garden. 

I really have no idea what I am doing.

I planted some things without understanding that I needed to first clear a patch of earth, dig up the soil, take out all the grass and enrich the soil. So, I did some things backwards.

I'm learning as I go along. It's an experiment, and I'm just watching to see what happens.

new life

I truly did not expect to see anything come from the seeds I planted.

Seeing the first sprouts emerge was very surprising!

I am awe-struck by the power of a seed.

How much potential is packed within! Roots and branches and leaves and flowers and fruits containing many more seeds. 
My reasons for planting the garden were to connect with the Earth, to learn how to grow my own food, and to have fresh, organic vegetables and herbs to eat. 

As I cultivate my garden, I am discovering so many small joys and satisfactions along the way.

Digging in the ground to clear my garden patch, I felt my body and muscles becoming stronger.

I felt gratitude for having the power to do this physical work. Visiting the garden center and choosing tools, soils, seeds and plants made me aware of the abundance and diversity that is available to us. I feel so fortunate to have so many choices.  

I choose to celebrate and cultivate life! 

I like to observe the creatures who visit my garden.  

There is a black and white cat (does she know about the catnip seeds I planted?) Bees constantly buzz around the lavender plant. The butterflies drink from the soil just after it has been watered. I saw the most beautiful beetle that looked like a flashing jewel. And a couple days ago, a hummingbird hovered in the mist from my garden hose to drink and take a quick shower.

 Early Girl tomatoes

I am beginning to feel more attuned to the cycles of the earth and the seasons.

By planting seeds, watering them and watching them grow, I'm developing patience, hope and faith.

By composting my kitchen and yard waste, I'm learning how the process of decay enriches new life.

When I'm in the garden I feel relaxed and at peace. 
I feel so blessed to be part of this continuing cycle of Life on Earth,
and to observe the magical transformations that are constantly taking place.

I began this blog two years ago, on Earth Day 2009. I'm happy to share this time on Earth with you! Blessings to you on this Earth Day!

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palo Verde in Bloom

palo verde tree in springtime
all photos by Rosa Phoenix

Spring has come to the Sonoran Desert. The palo verde is Arizona's state tree.

The palo verde is a native tree of our desert, with a delicate and feathery appearance. It is completely green, with green trunk and branches and tiny leaves.

In springtime, it covers itself with tiny, golden yellow blossoms.

I spent almost my entire childhood in Arizona. I've seen many palo verde trees. Yet I feel that I am seeing them in bloom for the very first time.

Why have I never noticed this before?

To see the street lined with many of these delicate desert trees, 
adorned with golden flowers, is a special vision.

I was sad to miss the cherry and plum blossoms of San Francisco this year. 

Imagine my delight to see the palo verde trees of a desert spring.

Sometimes, you have to go away for awhile, and return again, 

to see with new eyes, what you weren't able to see before.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Human Heart

Into the Deep
collage by Rosa Phoenix

The tragedy in Japan brings worry, despair, a sense of uncertainty and powerlessness. 

A reminder of how close we are to death, at every moment.

At the same time, it shows us how all people, and all life, are inter-connected.

I didn't learn about the earthquake and tsunami from the TV or Internet news. A woman I met only once sent me a text message, asking if I have family or friends in Japan. Her text message read: "we are all related as a human family."

I was touched that this woman, who I barely know, reached out to show her concern and caring.

I have friends in Japan. They are safe and alive, and for that I am thankful.

How much can change in an instant. 

Tragedies like this can make us feel closer than ever. The truth is that we need each other. In suffering, in times of difficulty, we bond and grow closer. Our ties grow stronger. We reach out for help and comfort one another.

Here is something my father wrote, after an earthquake in Taiwan in 1999:

With the reminiscence of all the disastrous events, natural or otherwise, that happened in the world in the past and present, I cannot help but think that even as advanced as the science and technology of today, we are still very vulnerable to all kinds of destructions.
On the other hand, we, the humans, have survived all those disastrous events for millions of years without any knowledge of modern science and technology. Why? Because we are the humans and have the HEART OF HUMANS.
From this very humans' heart, mutual assistance, sympathy and sacrifice for others were generated and converted into insurmountable forces and energy that kept humans surviving throughout all kinds of catastrophes.
I therefore come to the conclusion that we, the humans, have been and will be suffering from, but will not be destroyed by any extraneous forces.
However, we can destroy ourselves once this very existing humans' heart is lost.

- Dr. John T.K. Wang

The power of the heart, of our compassion and desire to help others, is our greatest strength. I hope that we will keep developing this power. 

Reach out in love, make the bonds stronger and the world smaller. Nothing else matters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

South Mountain Petroglyphs

Dobbins Lookout view from South Mountain
all photos by Rosa Phoenix

Here are some views from South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona.  

South Mountain is a nice place to hike, bike, drive, or ride a horse.

Here you can see the desert landscape and views of the city of Phoenix.

Recently I hiked the Holbert Trail, which features many ancient petroglyphs, made by the Hohokam people.

 rock art

The Hohokam people settled and farmed this area in ancient times.

According to local oral tradition, the Hohokam may be the ancestors of the historic Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'odham peoples in Southern Arizona. (Wikipedia)
The city of Phoenix was named to acknowledge these original settlers, because a new civilization rises from the ruins of the ancient civilization.

rock art

Is that a whale or fish on the rock below the spiraling snake?

To me it looks like a whale.

Where would these desert dwelling people have seen such a creature?

Maybe someone had traveled from the California coast.

This desert was once an ancient sea . . . how things change!

 another human figure
or maybe a bird?

 the four directions
the cross

the Saguaro cactus,
native to the Sonoran desert

All photos were taken on my iPhone using the Camera+ app.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stylish Blog Award

I received a Stylish Blogger Award from Salvatore at Feng Shui Life Mapping. Wow! This is my first ever blog award!

I'm very honored, especially because I really enjoy Feng Shui Life Mapping blog. Lots of great info, not only about the art of placing things within your home, but about living a life of intention and positive direction. Do check it out!

According to the rules of this award, I am to list 7 things about myself. (Hmm, this is hard.)

1.  I wasn't allowed to watch much TV when I was a kid, so I had to invent other ways to be entertained. (Reading, writing, making stuff . . .)

2. I'm very skeptical of people who claim to have all the answers and tell others how life should be lived.

3. My favorite book of all time is the Mahabharata, condensed and translated by William Buck.

4. I love sour candy like lemon drops and Sour Patch Kids.

5. Sometimes when I am outside sketching, birds and other animals will come sit by me.

6. I have never had a cavity or a broken bone. Hope my good luck continues :-)

7. Rainbows make my heart sing!

Now, I get to pass on this award to 15 awesome blogs! (This is hard, because I love all the blogs that I visit, and there are so many of them.) Well, here are 15 that I like, they are all blogs about art, creativity, travel, nature, romance, dreaming, poetry, beauty and magic. You will probably enjoy them too, so please check them out if you have some time : )

1. Spirithelpers

2. The Purple Caravan

3. Quoteflections

4. Alexi Francis

5. Papaya Tree Limited

6. Bethany's Journal

7. Tommy Kane

8. afiori by Maria-Therese

9. Calligraphy in the Landscape

10. TeoStudio

11. Ces and Her Dishes

12. Kayla Coo

13. Lin's Art

14. Malice in Underland

15. Lalipourie

Rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded it to you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their Blog Award!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Follow My Heart

Heart Fire
photo by Abdulhamid Al Fadhly

Happy Rosa Phoenix Day! 

Today is Valentine's Day as well, a time to celebrate love and romance.

Today is also the one year anniversary of launching my business, Rosa Phoenix Art & Design.

It's also time to celebrate a new year (the lunar new year was on Feb 3 -- I launched my business on the lunar new year 2010). 

It's a good time to take note of a change, and the beginning of a new cycle.

I moved back to my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

This was after living for 10 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and prior to that, New York City.

I left Phoenix and my family at age 18, to see the world and live a life of my own.

I quickly adapted to big city life in New York and San Francisco, met lots of people, learned about other cultures, and made great connections everywhere I traveled.

Everywhere I went, I found love . . . in the form of friends, neighbors, romantic partners, and even kind strangers who helped me.

My heart went through its own changes.

It grew with love, it shrank with fear, it broke with sorrow, it strengthened with courage and resolve, it reached out to others when they needed caring, and it even broke others' hearts, through carelessness or cruelty.

My heart has been transformed by all these experiences and interactions with other people. I feel that now it is a stronger and wiser heart, growing and expanding more all the time.

I follow my heart. It constantly leads me to new places that are full of risk and renewal. My heart leads me on my journey as an artist, a twisting and turning path where nothing is known or secure. Yet this is what makes me happy.

My heart also leads me away from my comfortable and familiar life, and many people I love and care about. This makes me sad because I miss them, but I also have faith that my heart is leading me to the place where I need to be.

I trust my heart to guide me.

Now my heart is leading me back home.

I am returning, 18 years after I left, to live with my family again in Phoenix. It definitely feels like a full cycle has been completed, and a new one is starting.

For some time now, I've been having visions of the Arizona desert, its colors and textures and vast open spaces. Arizona is forever a part of me. It called me back, and I responded to the call.

I'm looking forward to the new adventure, whatever is in store for me.

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate the heart and the people you love. I always follow my heart, and my heart led me back home. Love is here with me, where it has been waiting all along.

What does "follow your heart" mean to you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Turn Resistance into Momentum

 photo by Cheryl Empey

In my last post I wrote about Overcoming Resistance.

The flip side of resistance is momentum

What I was surprised to learn is that resistance and momentum are the same energy.  

Momentum is making resistance work for you rather than against you.

Let me explain with an example from my own life. 

I've been learning about resistance from my own recent experience of joining a gym for the first time. 

As we know, resistance means "opposing force." I have a lot of mental resistance to exercise due to my "lizard brain"--the part of me that wants to conserve energy and stay inert.

And we know that there is a physical law for this: An object at rest tends to stay at rest. (Newton's first law of motion)

My lizard brain would like nothing better than to stay at home, lounge around in comfort, and avoid any physical exertion or potential embarrassment that would be caused by going to the gym. 

Remember, I didn't know anything about the gym. I had built it up in my mind as a scary place filled with weightlifters on steroids, aerobics queens in fluorescent spandex outfits and strange equipment that resembles torture devices! As a non-athletic person, the gym is totally out of my comfort zone.

Yet, I overcame my resistance and went to the gym. I went with my mom, who is also non-athletic. Seeing the positive effects of regular exercise on my mom (increased energy and better heath) created the desire within me as well. Going with her made it much less scary.

I was surprised to discover that not only is it bearable to go to the gym, it is actually a lot of fun for me! 

I went to the aqua aerobics class and had fun jumping, kicking and splashing in the water. I had fun in Zumba class. And I even have fun using the "torture device" machines, because I am getting my blood pumping and I get an endorphin rush, which causes a natural high. 

I feel satisfaction, knowing that I am getting stronger every day.

As I learn about exercise, I learn about resistance (opposing force). 

The most effective exercise will use resistance to build up your strength. 

For example, in aqua aerobics, the water provides the resistance. With regular aerobic activity, gravity provides the resistance. With weights and machines, weight provides the resistance. By progressively taking on more resistance or weight, your muscles will become stronger over time.

I learned about momentum by exercising at the gym. Once I get my body moving, I want to keep moving, and it's hard to stop!

Newton's laws of motion

1. Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion unless it is acted upon by external unchallenged force.

2. The body of mass subject to force undergoes an acceleration that has the same direction as the force and magnitude directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to mass.

Momentum is Law #2. Once you get moving, the energy and force gets behind you to naturally keep you moving.  

So, once you overcome resistance, put the initial force or effort into doing something and get the action going, momentum takes over, and the rest will seem easy. It will seem as if it is happening on its own. 

I have found this to be true in every situation where I have experienced resistance. Once I get moving, it almost takes care of itself.

What are some ways you achieve momentum? Do you have examples of momentum in your life?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Overcome Resistance

Did you know that 2011 is the year of personal growth?

The New Year is a time of making resolutions, setting goals and making plans. I have been working intensively on transforming my life for the last couple of years. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the tips that have helped me to create positive changes.

Today I'm going to talk about overcoming resistance. And in my next post I will talk about building momentum.

"The resistance will help find the thing you most need to do, 
because it is the thing the resistance most wants to stop." 
- Seth Godin

What is resistance? 

It is defined as "opposing force." To me, resistance means the feeling I experience when I don't want to do something. 

I often feel resistance to change, growth and taking on more power and responsibility.

Resistance is my instinct for self-preservation. Resistance keeps me in my safe zone, my comfort zone. 

Resistance protects me -- from failure, from getting hurt, from being vulnerable, from being laughed at, from attention, from success.

Even when I felt stuck in a rut, I was unwilling to climb out of that rut. It was my rut. I made it, I knew it. It was my comfort zone.

Seth Godin calls this mentality the "lizard brain." 

The part that wants to be on auto-pilot. Eat, sleep, seek warmth, conserve energy, stay within familiar territory. 

The lizard brain never wants to reach the higher state of potential, because to do so means risking life, safety, comfort and security.

Yet overcoming resistance is essential to challenge ourselves, grow, learn new skills and knowledge, and develop as human beings. 

How can we better ourselves, if we never reach beyond the status quo?

I'm transforming my life by confronting resistance.

Steps to overcoming resistance

Explore the reasons for your resistance

What's stopping you? 

Is it fear? Clinging to the comfort of your routine? Maybe you don't really want to do it, but you feel that you should. Maybe it's what others want you to do. Or you think it's the right thing to do. 

But is it really what's right for you? Look deeper, into the real reasons for your resistance. Ask yourself "Why?" Confront your true feelings. Make sure that this is truly your wish.

Create the desire

Nothing can be achieved without the desire. So if a goal isn't truly what you want, you won't put the work into it. 

To tap into the desire, find the benefit that comes with the action. This benefit will be satisfy something you are currently lacking in your life. It's something you want so much, that you are willing to make changes in your life to get it. Focus on what you want, and know the steps it will take to get there.

Visualize a positive outcome

Picture yourself as if you have already achieved this goal. How does it change you? How does it make you feel? What's different? Let yourself embody this vision.

Ask for support

Ask people to help you. Get a buddy, or two or three. Encourage each other. Check in with your support system frequently and compare your progress.

Give yourself space

If you want to transform your life, you need to make space and time for things to change. 

If you want to make time to exercise, or take a class, you need to eliminate activities that are time-wasters. 

If you want to stop a bad habit, you need to remove everything that reminds you of that habit from your environment.

Believe in yourself

If you don't believe in yourself, why bother at all? You MUST believe in yourself. How? Read every inspirational book you can get your hands on, about people who have succeeded in spite of all the odds being stacked against them. Helen Keller and Malcolm X are two examples that come to my mind.
Affirmations are another tool. Repeat them to yourself, while looking at yourself in the mirror, until you say the words with conviction. Use the energy of your heart to give yourself the strength and courage.

Hold yourself accountable

Make a commitment, to yourself and others. Verbalize it and write it down. Make it a promise that you intend to keep.

Make it fun

Please, don't punish yourself! Find a way to make it fun and enjoyable. 

You will be much more likely to keep it up if it's something you look forward to, rather than dread.

Just do it!

After you make the decision, stop thinking about it, and just go for it!

Start slowly and build over time (baby steps)

If you've never done something before, don't expect to become good at it overnight. Take baby steps to get there, building slowly over time.

Reward yourself for progress

When you make progress, no matter how small: reward yourself with praise, with a visual reminder of your achievement, or a treat that you enjoy.

Build momentum

Don't stop, keep it going! Set the bar higher and challenge yourself.

More about momentum in my next blog post!

What are your tips for overcoming resistance?