Inner Strength

Inner StrengthThis painting is one, of twelve, I did in my creativity coaching with Michelle James in the earliest days of HeartStories.  My task was to paint Inner Strength.  I wasn’t to plan it in advance, but to let it reveal itself to me one color at a time.

This is what emerged.

It’s wild-looking to say the least.  I remember Scott seeing it when I was finished saying, Cool, it looks like the top of a head with a sweat band and sunglasses.

That was especially funny because while I was painting it, I felt like I was painting fire.  There was something about a flame that felt like strength, but oddly, the colors were all out-of-order.  The hottest part of the flame is supposed to be blue, in the center and mine wasn’t.   It didn’t quite end up looking much like fire.

I never really could explain what it was and I still can’t.

But now when I see it, I see more.  

It’s open.

It’s bright.

It’s not hiding.

It’s vulnerable.

It’s passionate.

It’s celebrating.

It’s moving.

The best part is, now I see all that wild, purplish, blue color as a huge crowd of people, dancing in the fire.

Maybe they’re dancing because it’s hot.  Or maybe they’re dancing because they’ve learned it’s the best way to deal with the heat.  Or maybe they’re dancing because it’s making a difference.

I think it’s all three.

Without them the painting might be a little boring.  Lifeless.  Drab.

Those dancers are the icing on the cake.

They’re waving their arms in the air, like they just don’t care.  Shaking their booties and getting down.  They’re having a big, fun party.

It’s because now, two years later, strength looks like being me.  Without apology.

Dancing in the fire is hot.  It’s hard, it’s scary and makes me want to run for cover sometimes.  It’d certainly be easier to quit and blame the heat, but learning to dance as myself, right in the middle of it, makes it all worth it.

It’s the only thing that can make a difference.

What does strength look like to you?

If you were going to paint it, what colors would you choose?

What does it look like for you to dance in your strength? 

Does it look wild and hardly recognizable?

That’s okay.

You have to start there.  Start somewhere.  

Just start bopping your head.  Then maybe you can stand up.  Your toes might start tapping.  Your knees bending to the beat.

Don’t quit when you wobble.

Wobble big, for the world to see.  Wobble like only you can.  Pretty soon you’ll start to feel that beat.

You can only get stronger when you allow yourself to feel weak.

You’ll feel more open, more courageous, and more passionate.  

You’ll start to feel your strength.

To more love,


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