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UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST YOU.....


I grew up in a household where I was encouraged to think for myself, question and follow my passions in life. So whenever I hear the sentence, "under no circumstances must you..." I can't help question what I've been asked to do (or not to do), and ask myself, is this reasonable or not?


I was only 16 and had just started college when I had a monumental and epic life experience, where I found myself in a situation where, I was told to do - something that didn't match how I was feeling.


Me and my friend Rebecca when I was about 16 in France


A group of us from college went on an outward bound adventure and were given a very experienced guide, Brian, to look after us. After two days of him guiding us through a range of daring activities, we all trusted him with our lives. He was gentle, funny, engaging, supportive and encouraging when each one of us hit an obstacle.


On the third day, Brian took our group to the entrance of a cave and gave us a "under no circumstances must you" talking to. We were instructed to go into the cave in single file with our left hand on the wall and our right hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us.


The reason for this he explained, was that about 5 minutes into the pitch black cave, there would be a long drop to the right of us.


Some of the girls started whimpering before we even went in.


I was at the end of the line as we set off into the blackness of the cave.


About 5 minutes in, Brian shouted out to us that we'd reached the point at which the path would become narrow and under no circumstances should we deviate from the wall. He told us sternly we'd fall off the edge if we were to venture to the right.


Some of the girls started sobbing quietly.


I said to my friend in front of me, "Tracy, this doesn't make any sense. Hold onto my arm, I'm going to put my foot out to see if there's a drop. I don't think Brian would put us in a dangerous situation." She held on to me as I tentatively took little steps out to the right. Sure enough, there was just solid ground.


I'd just cottoned on to the fact there was no danger and feeling perplexed, when Brian's friend leapt out of the dark with a torch underneath his face growling, scaring the beejeepers out of all of us!


The girls screamed and some started crying. And of course, as soon as the torch lights were turned on inside the cave it became apparent to the rest of them, there wasn't a dangerous drop to the right.


I remember vividly standing in the cave experiencing a deeply profound moment. It's quite an ah-ha experience when you get such a strong affirmation that you can, in fact, trust yourself.


MANY moons later, and many experiences such as this later, it's now second nature for me to question when situations don't make sense to me. This isn't about rebelling for the sake of it, but following a logical thought process to get to the truth. I just like to understand how things work, I like things to make sense and when they don't, I can't help but put my foot out to the right (so to speak!) and do a little testing!


This way of living has inevitably weaved it's way into my art practice, the classes I run and the books I've written.


I'm asked A LOT about my creative process and it's hard to explain how going more deeply into oneself works, especially when it's such a personal process (not a one size fits all).


But I do advocate curiosity, exploration, adventures, experimentation in art where you can. My dyed and gone to heaven class is testament to this.


If you're in a dark cave right now, frightened and afraid to follow your own light, what do I recommend?


If it's too big a step to light up the way for yourself, find a light (person) who inspires you and who you feel you can trust. Learn from them and their mistakes. Copy them if that's what it takes to begin a journey of learning to trust yourself. As you take those steps you'll begin to feel a connection with the light within yourself. And the more you do this, the more you can explore your own style of creativity and art. Before you know it, the training wheels will have fallen off and you won't have even noticed!!


I can guarantee more joy and happiness than you would have ever thought possible when you let your own light shine the way forward for you. AND it's something you can start doing RIGHT NOW!


You don't have to wait for art supplies to arrive, or the right creating space to appear or for your family to leave you in peace etc etc. Take one small step and set the intention to live a light filled life and you're off! FIND A WAY!


BUT, under NO circumstances must you......hahaha, JUST kidding!!!

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