Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Compass is Broken/Finding New Direction

I have always thought my life was well mapped out.  I knew what I wanted.  I knew how to go about achieving what I wanted and I was journeying on the path just as planned.   My compass was pointed in the right direction and all I needed to do, was stay the course.  Then the inevitable happens.   The uncomfortable groundlessness beneath my feet lets me know, without a doubt, that major life-changing events are happening that may have me changing course.  My compass is broken.

Change is never easy.   With every breath I take, a change occurs.   What makes it difficult is when I convince myself that I am not ready for the change.  Over the years, I formed a lot of ideas about what life is, oftentimes based on unrealistic hopes and standards.  I learned that what I thought life was supposed to be like, was not always the case.   I often found myself frustrated when reality set in and it fell short of my expectations.  

Never have expectations played a more significant role than in relationships with others.  In any healthy relationship there are certain expectations, like being treated well and being respected.   Those are realistic expectations.  But sometimes I have found myself in a relationship that did not mirror what I anticipated would happen.  At times like this I experience sadness, hurt, remorse or betrayal.   

Finding new direction, for me, means changing my perspective.  If I cannot change the circumstance, I need to change my perspective.    This means seeing the perfection in the relationship, just the way it is.        

With eyes full of clarity, I am capable of changing the relationships in my life by adjusting my point of view.

'When you are lost in the rain, search for a rainbow.".


Pushed is what happens
Pushed is losing balance.
Pushed is stretching boundaries.

Pushed is searching. Pushed is falling.
Pushed preceded falling.  Falling is losing balance.
I am pushed

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coming Back to Balance

A quiescent mind is a bit of an oxymoron.  One may have the appearance of being in a state of ‘quietness’ or ‘inactivity’ however, the mind keeps firing.   In any new initiative there are moments of doubt.  There will be days when one flies high and days when everything seems to be falling in on you.  Those ‘falling in’ days are a blessing because it affords us the opportunity to sit up and take notice. We take notice of things that make us feel bad and things that make us feel good and we take notice when we experience some measure of fear with both of these perspectives.

There are times when we don’t move forward with the things that make us feel good for many reasons but the common denominator is fear; fear of feeling good, fear of pleasure, and fear of bliss, fear of failure.

The most rewarding things our lives can come with great difficulty or great ease.  How we deal with transformative steps in our life is a choice.   We can chose to step in to the change with trust knowing that life will always provide us with what we need.  Or, we can fight the change and cling to a painful past, thus letting fear overtake trust. 

Transformation is like a mini death.  Any life-changing event is like a mini death.   And when this mini death comes in to your life it can rattle your bones.  Our vision becomes quite clouded at this point.   We may choose avoidance or denial rather than going forward in to the unknown and trusting that there is a better path for us.  A path that can lead to untold bliss and happiness.   We just need to step up and follow it. 

I trust that there is a cosmic rhythm and I resonate with it.  Everything always comes back to ‘balance’. So even when I seem to get out of sync, it will bring me back.  

Life will not always be a waltz, but it will always be in harmony.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Struggle Surrounds You, Remember This

When I approach a new blank canvas I attempt to establish a dialogue. That dialogue is with me and the canvas; me and my inner perception of my world; me and those who stop to view the work. I open conversations with signs and signifiers. I give clues.   I try to reach into the recesses beyond what we see with the eye alone. I journey to the bare essence of a moment in time. With each canvas I hope to create a sense of anticipation. I want people to feel that "something" is happening outside of the scope of what you can see. I want the viewer to participate. And most of all, I want to remain a participant myself.

Creating, whether it be with paint, textiles, or sculptures, gives me my voice. When words alone are not enough, I paint. When I establish this dialogue with a canvas I am given permission to speak in many more languages than just the language I use for words. It is that ‘unifier’ that reaches across all barriers to convey and idea; a story; my story.

I wrote those words some time ago in response to a question from my artist friend Katherine Treffinger.  Today, I revisit those words and what stands out in my mind is; ‘I journey to the bare essence of a moment in time. ‘   It is those moments in time that can be life-affirming, life-changing, or a moment that can bring us to our knees. 

Once or twice during my life, something has happened to push my ordinary mind out of the way, and partially open a little door into an entirely different knowledge; a most lovely, satisfying knowledge.  During those rare moments one knows, that even the most painful and miserable moments that life throws at us, it is still worthwhile.    It is worthwhile because of the joy and beauty which comes after and before it, and indeed, all around it.  

Our lives are an act of invocation.  Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we like it or not, every act and thought, the taking up of an attitude of mind, is a mystic act of invocation, and draws unseen powers to our aid or our undoing.  So our position is really one of immense power and potency at all times. 

Each moment, each day we are faced with new struggles; we battle with our limitations and we make difficult choices.    It is my wish that we all come to a place where we see these moments, these struggles, as the most beautiful things. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Embracing the Crone

There are several major turning points in our life such as when we pass from child to teen; from teen to young adult; from adult to senior. In addition, there have been spiritual turning points for me. The most significant turning point was reaching that age when we no longer understand the music of the younger crowd; when we think that the young dress odd; when we look in the mirror and we do not recognize the face looking back. 

There was a time when I thought reaching a certain age was an event not to be celebrated.  However, now that I am officially in the 'senior' category, there is an overwhelming peace that comes with it. 

In Neolithic times the Crone stage was a time of mastery.  Crone women were the tribal matriarchs. Their heightened awareness of human nature yielded great insight and they were the source of wise counsel for important decisions.

In our society, ageing is met with denial and condemnation. Many industries exist to support our obsession with looking forever young.  Plastic surgery has become almost expected once the first wrinkle arrives to mark the face.  Age related medical procedures reinforce the notion that looking old is beyond undesirable. 

Once we enter the Crone stage of life, we re-visit our body image issues.  At every turn we are reminded of what is considered beautiful; in magazines, on runways and television and movies.  We look in the mirror and do not recognize what we see.  We see wrinkles and sagging flesh. But in those wrinkles, we can also see kindness, and a gentleness and beauty that radiates from within.  We see years of living life the way it should be lived; diving in to the good and the bad moments and coming through with dignity and wisdom.  

Many modern women have consciously chosen to reject the negative images of aging and to reclaim their rightful role as esteemed elders. These ladies are stepping into the Crone stage of life with joy and dignity.  No matter where you are in your process, embrace it, embrace yourself, love your process. It is yours and yours alone.   And, there is no greater gift than life, at every stage.  


She came from long unquestioned places where metallic glare
and smell of asphalt baste the skin to darkness
and whiten the opened eye.
The bones beneath the skin form sharp angles
where once there were soft curves.
She reaches up to touch her cheek,
wondering if a touch of blush here or there
would make her look more presentable.
It all seems so distant.
She seems like water,
whose surface has been disturbed.
She sees her reflection,
distorted; ripples on the surface.
You can no longer see beneath the surface.
She closes her eyes to the image that she sees.
In her blindness, the ripples pass
and once again she becomes water.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Residue: Beauty in Simple Things

The foil was crumpled and charred with the residue.   I was about to throw it in to the garbage when the simple  beauty of the crumpled mass caught my attention.   Too often, we rush through life and miss the beauty in everything surrounding us.   This moment; this foil; this residue, was satori.

In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to the experience of kensho.  'Seeing into one's true nature or essence."   Satori to me can also mean seeing into the true essence or nature of  all things.

Residue as Satori Art

Painting Satori

Book of Ashes #1


Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Bad is Good

Another sale!!!! Once again, an online artist I know has made another sale. The work itself, by all standards is bad; her training in the arts, non-existent. That is not to say that self-taught artists do not produce and sell excellent work. But, they train. They read books, practice and take workshops. They apprentice with other artists. This artist is proud to state that she has been painting for a couple of years and has never taken a class, nor does she read……anything. 

So what is it that draws people toward her work, enough so that they put out hard cash to own one? . After several months of reading, visiting galleries and watching traffic on the internet, I have concluded that one huge factor in the success of any artist is not necessarily the quality of the work, but the person/artist themselves and their story.

People do not just buy the work; they buy the artist first, and then the work.  We have instant access to all sorts of quality art, music and writing today through the internet. We don’t even have to leave the couch to find it, purchase it, and have it delivered right to the door. No one is really venturing out their door in search of good art. Well, very few anyway. What they want is the story. This story may be about the thought process in the making of the art or the motivation behind the making of the work. Or, it may be your personal story; the story of YOU.

The latter type of story is the one that is not necessarily told by you, but by others telling a story about you. All you do for the storyteller is provide the fuel. And here is where the artist needs to be so very careful.   Be intentional and attentive with the 'fuel' you are providing.

I can mention a few names here and a ‘story’ will immediately come to mind for you. Names like Joplin, Garcia, Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Lennon and Dylan. These musicians do not even need to use their first names for us to know their story.

For the visual artists we have Picasso, Warhol, Van Gogh and Hirst. All the stories that we tell about these artists were fueled by the artists themselves.

‘So how do I get these buyers to like me  and my story?’ you ask. Well I am no expert on this but I will offer my ideas.

We need to share something of value with them. We need to give them more than a sales pitch. We have to bring it to a personal level. In the case of the artist mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is her vulnerability; her victimization. A week seldom passes that there is not some huge tragedy in her life. And we all like to be the rescuer. So, we buy a painting because that will cheer her up. That will bring some positive into her life.  I do not mean to suggest that these buyers do not like the painting they are buying.  But they like the story first and then go in search of a painting they like and can live with second.  And she graciously offers up gratitude for those who have stepped up to purchase her work. And I believe she is truly thankful and sincere. We love a tragedy and we love to be the rescuer. The something of value here is that she has given us the opportunity to step up and save the day, even in a small way.   She sets up as a victim.

So, back to my thought that we need to SHARE something of VALUE with them. Value comes with the connections we make. We all like to know that others are experiencing the same things we are experiencing. It gives us a sense of community. So, stop always presenting yourself as the successful hero/heroine.  Show your vulnerabilities and your weaknesses. Everyone needs to see your humanness.  I am not suggesting you hide your success either.  But balance it out so that a potential buyer can see your humanness.

Every now and then, show your willingness to step outside the box. Do something that makes you uniquely you. That could involve your travels and sharing through writing about your adventures. We have a local artist who travels extensively and paints and writes about his adventures. Through him we can become armchair adventurers. And…….we buy the work. because we love the adventure.  Somehow, that gives us ownership to being part of the story.

Promote other artists whose work you admire. And the opposite of that is to NEVER tear down the work of other artists. (I say this after last missive, offering up negative comments about Hirst). As I painter I do not only promote other painters but musicians, dancers and actors who I admire and know.   Some artists do not like to do this because they may perceive the other as competition. Competition is GOOD.  

Disempowering others never serves you well. I have heard of many artists giving workshops and telling the participants that so-an-so is not a good artist; a good instructor. 

Get involved with your community. That is, your actual community and your virtual community. Be willing to help others on their path to success. There is more to this than money. Share your knowledge, be willing to help, offer yourself as a speaker to community groups. Most of all, be authentic.

Be careful with your artist statement. Potential buyers do read them. Making yourself sound overly erudite will not serve you well. My favourite artist statement comes from an online friend who says, “I paint. Sometimes I use cement.”

How do you know what type of reputation you are building and if it is headed in the right direction for you? Listen to what others say about you. Recently, when asked if I would teach a workshop quite a distance from where I live, I asked how she had heard my name. She said she had not seen my work, (very honest of her) but another instructor told her I was an expert at painting on synthetic papers and with encaustic. Why I tell you this, is that I am far from an expert encaustic painter. I paint mostly with cold wax, not encaustic and I remain far from an expert at either. . I started to paint on synthetics long before they became popular and used cold wax long before it became well known. That doesn’t necessarily make me an expert, just an experimenter. This has become my story. Because I was willing to experiment and take risks with new materials, it has helped to brand my name in a certain way.  Participants in my workshops often comment that I motivate them to play and experiment and I make painting FUN.   So, that seems to have become part of my story/brand.  
 And that, in turn, helps potential buyers to understand my story and make a connection. 

And those, my friends, are my thoughts on this subject.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Slow Dance and a Welcome to Spring

Things get out of sync for me in the winter months.   This is especially true when we have a harsh winter such as we have had this year.   Suddenly, without warning, we find ourselves thrown in to the middle of weeks of furious winter storms.   Buried in snow we are house bound and things begin to break down; we run out of food, the water pipes freeze and we have little time for normal activities that bring us pleasure because we are too busy surviving.   We lose patience and curse the weather and all that it brings with it.

What if we were to surrender?     What if we were to have a ‘slow dance’ with winter?   What if we take time to truly engage in the experience?    I suggest we approach winter like one would approach a waltz.   First become aware of the rhythm.   Then move in to it with grace. 

The Waltz beat gets its name from a dance, based on three steps and a three-count measure.  According to Webster, the term originated from Old High German ‘walzan’, meaning to turn or roll.   Paying attention to this three-count measure we adjust to winter by following the beat. 

Beat One:  Have an awareness of the grandeur of winter: the beautiful way the wind sculpts the snow; the gentle manner in which the snow falls to the ground; the way your skin tingles when you walk outside in the blustery wind.

Beat Two:  Become mindful of your frustrations and impatience and how they place you ‘out of step’ with your true nature.

Beat Three:   Step in to the dance and be patient knowing that Spring is on the way

A Welcome to Spring

Greening finger caress earth’s blackened thighs
And slowly trace the contours of a thousand seasons.
Warming to a touch, tender with experience
Earth submits again, and once again.
Spring’s seed spills in to summer
And a honey wind blows the joy of silver Birch leaves
To a waking Thrush on a Sunday morning. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Hope and Fear and Giveaways

‘Apekkha’, a Pali word meaning ‘hope’ and ‘bhaya’ is a Pali word for ‘fear’.  Both are ways of thinking that pull us away from being totally present in the moment.   Fear is a fixation on the likelihood of bad outcomes and hope is a fixation on the likelihood of good outcomes.  Neither can exist if the mind is focused on the present moment. 

Life may deliver some blows that seem to have us tumbling into a vortex where uncertainty thrives and threatens to overtake our minds. We begin to focus on  hope for something good to come or become fearful about how bad things are for us.

 But life asks us to be brave and embrace the moment, good or bad.   Life asks us to remain present and aware and have faith that there is no conspiracy against us. 

Life does not give you answers easily.  One has to dig for them.   Sometimes you need to dig in the mud and sometimes the answer lies on the surface waiting for you to reach for it.   And often we are not even sure of the questions we need to ask.

But, this I do know.  When you are low the best way to lift your spirits is to give something away.  So, for this reason, I am giving away three paintings.  All I ask is that you pay for shipping and the frame.    If you would like any of the following paintings, please send me a private message and I will let you know the framing costs and approximate shipping costs.   

The Birth Fields
mixed media on board with black frame
24" X 28.5"

Water Song
Cold wax and oil on board with black frame
14" X 14"

Blue Water
Cold wax and oil on canvas in black frame
24" X 24"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faith, Trust, Serendipity and Chasing Rainbows

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” —Lao Tzu

You may be wondering what these concepts have in common.   I believe that trust stems from the brain and faith from the heart and that there is a very distinct difference between the two concepts, although, we often use those words interchangeably.  In the Pali language, which is the language of the original Buddhist texts, the word ‘faith’ translates to ‘sraddha’ which literally means ‘to place the heart upon. 
Trust is inherently a component of FAITH.  However, trust does not necessarily have to have a component of faith.   When one has FAITH in something or someone, they have complete trust or confidence in that particular something or someone.  To trust means you have confidence in the reliability of something or someone.  For instance, I know and trust that I cannot see a rainbow without rain.  I trust this fact through observation.   From past experience I see that every time I see a rainbow, there is rain…..the rain is a reliable factor in the formation of the rainbow.  However, there are many other components that have to come together to make a rainbow; more than just the rain.  I may not see a rainbow for many weeks, months or even years.  However, I have faith that, when all the components are aligned, it will once again happen.  I do not necessarily need to understand all the other components, but I have FAITH that they will align and I will see another rainbow at some point.

Faith is what allows us to function without really understanding how and why.   We just know what IS.  When we have faith in the dharma, we have faith that the universe is not conspiring against us, but conspiring on our behalf.  Faith is the ability to trust something from the very core of our being. When we are bound together by trust that touches the deepest aspects of who we are… we are living in FAITH. 

Faith gives us the strength to endure hardships with the knowledge that our efforts will produce a positive outcome.   In the absence of certainty, trust assumes that truth and fairness will prevail.

What most of us look for in life is a pattern of repeatable thoughts and actions that will direct us toward a desired outcome.   Then how does one explain those serendipitous moments that do not seem to fit in to the pattern?   I mean those moments that magically and unexpectedly appear to light the way to a desired outcome.   

Setting things in motion is the reliable factor, like the rain is the reliable factor in the formation of a rainbow.   Serendipity is that component that is not understood or known.   However, when that serendipitous moment happens we have an overwhelming sense of oneness with all that is.  We may not understand it, nor can we explain it…..we just know it IS.  We have faith in what IS.   There is no push and no pull, simply a flow that is undeniable.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Letting Go of Struggle

During the last few months I have felt like I was renting someone else’s body.   I know this because if I was in my own body, I would not have a butterfly mind.  I would be focused.    I would be able to sit in meditation for more than five minutes.  I would be able to concentrate on a project for more than five minutes.  I would paint because that is my voice.   And that voice has been silent.

It is more than just not being inspired.  Inspiration surrounds me and I take note.  But I had entered a downward vortex of self doubt and struggle.  I had lost the ability to trust in the process.

In order to trust the process wholly and completely we do not need to know what is unfolding or why.  We simply need to be in the present moment to experience it.   It is not until you are totally exposed and vulnerable, that you are forced to live and breathe that moment of struggle with a profound level of trust and know that, without doubt, your struggle will end.

 I am reminded of this quote by Ray Bradbury, "Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it."   

Monday, January 20, 2014

Return to the Rabbit Hole and Quantum Wierdness

 A core belief is the lens through which we view our world.  A core belief is quite often hidden from our awareness deep within our subconscious.   For instance I may have the belief that I am not good enough and therefore the work I do is not good enough.   The beliefs we have about our place in the world are clouded with strong emotions.  In order to change a belief from a negative one into a positive one, we have to visit the emotion associated with the belief.  So, you are thinking we just need to come up with a succinct affirmation and repeat it daily and the magic happens.   Maybe so.   If you are a person with a strong sense of self and high self-esteem, it just may work.  But, you say, I am not that person.  I believe that I am not good enough.  Repeating a positive self-statement most often will backfire for the very people who need them most.   Canadian researcher, Dr. Joanne Wood at the University of Waterloo recently published this same conclusion in her research.  You may repeat the same positive affirmation without fail daily and if you do not firmly believe you are truly worthy of this positive outcome, you will continue to reinforce the undesirable core belief. 

Change is instantaneous.  It takes no longer than a fleeting thought, in which you truly believe to be true, to change how you view yourself and your circumstances.    Every thought we think, every word we speak is creating our circumstance.   If we desire change we have to first become mindful of how we are contributing to, and giving power to, our core beliefs.   We must carefully monitor every thought we think and every word we speak aloud.   If these thoughts and words do not support the change we desire, change it.   Be mindful of the emotion associated with the thought.  Ask yourself; ‘How does it feel when I speak like this, or think like this.’  Feel the emotion.  Do not bury it again.  Once felt, let it go.  It no longer serves you. Core belief thoughts are stubborn and letting it go may take much effort.   If it feels anything less than good, then change the thought.    If it feels good, then the thought or spoken word is feeding your authentic self.  

Take ownership and responsibility for your thoughts.   Understand that you control your thoughts and do not allow them to control you because they are not a part of your true nature.  Your true nature, personality and character is what you choose to make it. 

So let’s return to the thought ‘I am not good enough so therefore the work I do is not good enough’.  One circumstance that may have fed this thought is that you are not selling your art.  From this we attach the ‘I’ to the equation and reflect that I am not good enough.   More fodder may come in the form of a statement by someone such as; ‘I see that you paint but what do you do for a REAL job’.  From this, we come away feeling that what we do does not matter to the ‘tribe’.  And since we inherently want to belong to the tribe, we come away feeling betrayed by what we do.   If this happens –and I am sure it has happened to you- we need to remember the words of Brene Brown: “Your critics are not the ones who count”.   Remember your tribe is made up of many characters.  Surround yourself with those who feed your soul and support your efforts and remember:

  • ·         Thoughts are things
  • ·         You are not your thoughts
  • ·         You are not your emotions
  • ·         Thoughts and emotions come and go of their own accord
  • ·         You are a soul inhabiting a body and experiencing thoughts and emotions
  • ·         Cultivate a non- judgmental awareness by being mindful
  • ·         You are the space in which thoughts and emotions arise
  • ·         Cultivate the space between the thoughts, that is, the ‘primary consciousness’ that underlies all thinking. (It is that "space between the notes," said Claude Debussy "that makes the music." If there were no spaces between the notes on a sheet of music, the sounds you would hear would not only be unintelligible but meaningless, even annoying.
  • ·         Change is instantaneous
  • ·         Slow down and everything you are chasing will catch up to you

Inspiration is just a thought away.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coming Out of the Rabbit Hole

Coming Out of the Rabbit Hole
by Sharon Barfoot
  Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most. When I was a teen I recall having a conversation with a friend and stating that the most powerful thing in the world is 'a thought'. I had no idea of the science behind this, I just knew it to be true.  Then I went on for the next three decades allowing life to live me and not truly understanding that my unconscious thoughts were guiding the direction in which my life was taking.    Oh, it wasn’t all bad.  There were fleeting moments of bliss but they were just that; fleeting.   These moments of bliss seemed to be more frequent when I entered into deep meditation.   Meditation brought me to a deep awareness of the reality of things.   ‘Reality’ being an often misunderstood word.  You may, at this point, declare that you clearly know the nature of reality.  Reality being something that is tangible, quantifiable and observable.

To understand reality we must venture in to the world of quantum weirdness.    According to ‘quantum weirdness’, reality is an illusion.  What appears to be tangible only becomes real when observed or experienced by the observer.   Until observed it remains within the realm of possibilities.  That is a powerful statement for me.  At one time, it was thought that we were nothing more than passive observers in the reality of our world.  It was thought that fate is the predetermined reality of our experience.   Are we actually living a scripted life or are we the author of the script? So, is there such a thing as free will or does fate govern what will occur in our lives? I can only answer this from my perspective.  

The way I see it in very unscientific terms, is that there are things that I am supposed to do while living this life on this planet.   I was born into a particular place, time and culture with a specific purpose.  I call this fate.  I envision my life as road map with many crossroads. The map represents my circumstance; where I was born, my parents and family, my culture and my purpose.   I think of the crossroads as markers along my life path.  When I come to a crossroad, I can choose in which direction I want to go. This is where free will enters.

    My subconscious belief system will act as a guide as to what path to take.  The signposts represent all the events in my life that build this belief system.  Based on my belief system I have the free will to make a choice on which road to follow.  If the choice I make takes me down a road that does not feed my true purpose, then those moments of bliss I referred to earlier will not occur.  In other words……shit happens.  This opens the question of how we make those life choices that will take us down the ‘bliss trail’.  Once I come to a crossroad the realm of possibility is open for me.   This is where our ego mind enters; the all-powerful thought.  Both roads exist, in that quantum weirdness kind of place, where all possibilities exist simultaneously.  Both possibilities exist and only become my reality when I make the choice.

Ego mind is a fierce warrior.  Once we have a belief system firmly established in our subconscious, ego mind resolves to make it so.   So let’s say one of my core beliefs is that I am not worthy of success.  Remember, these beliefs may be so far hidden in your subconscious that you do not even realize you have them.  So, I have made an agreement that I am not worthy of success, however you wish to define that obscure word.  Once I reach that fork in the road that leads to success, I now have a choice on which path to take.  My ego mind jumps in to remind me that I am not worthy (because I have made an agreement about worthiness with myself) and I will choose that road that leads to non-success.  Along the way I will see markers that add credence to my agreement.   Our core belief has taken us on the road away from bliss.   In order to reprogram our core beliefs we need to first identify them.  Identifying a core belief is like solving a mystery of the illusions in your mind.      

In order to identify our core beliefs we have to look beyond our thoughts.  We have to look at the emotion associated with the thought.  It is the emotion behind the thought that gives it strength or power. 

I will talk about identifying core beliefs and what that has to do with being an artist next week.