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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This Little Word Called “Courage.”

As you may know from my post here, the word “courage” asserted itself as my word for 2014 during a meditation.

And as often (always?) happens, as soon as you make a true choice to want more of something, the universe goes, “ You want more of that? Really? Hurrah!! Here you go!” and it presents you with opportunity after opportunity to learn more about it, to apply it, to have your butt kicked by it and so on.

And the cool, and slightly terrifying, thing is, that once you are fully conscious about something, once you “know” something on that level, you can no longer “not know” it, you can’t go “Ahhh, never mind, I’ll go back to sleep after all!”

You can make a different choice, you can add and subtract, you can confront or hide, you can allow it or fight it every step of the way - but you can not un-know it!


So, here I am with my word “courage,” and yes, I have already learned a whole lot more about my little word. Mostly, I have learned that I don’t even know the half of it!

When “courage” came to me, I was quite sure what it meant. Of course I know what courage is, I said to myself! It’s when you feel the fear and do it anyway! It’s when you overcome your fear! It’s when you are brave, it’s when you overcome, when you stand up and  fight. And mostly, in my definition, courage had to do with overcoming fear.

And really I think, it does for most of us, in it’s purest definition. It’s what we’ve been taught.

What we are afraid of and in what areas of our lives these fears, that we then courageously overcome, show up, is different for all of us of course! But essentially courage and fear pretty much go hand in hand by definition.

Well, turns out, there is just so much more to it than that!


It all started when I came across this quote:


Another word for creativity is courage! - Henri Matisse

That really hit home for me! I’ve been trying to play it safe for so long in my art, and just recently have I let go of that a little, been more courageous, more vulnerable, more from my heart!


And then the next thing I came across, really rocked my world a little. Not only was she saying a lot of the things I was discovering, she also added so much more to my discoveries and brought it all full circle!

These two videos speak to me so much on so many levels, that I will probably come back to parts of them over and over.



It helps that she is also quite funny and a really good speaker!


It seems they came along at the absolutely perfect time for me, right in this process of stepping out to be more authentically me,  daring greatly and more wholeheartedly so!

THIS definition (Brene Brown’s) of courage IS truly what I felt that my word was for 2014. THIS definition of courage is what my vision is for 2014. This start of something where there is no turning back from on a certain level. This finding my way home to a “me” that I never allowed myself to be.



So, here is my latest painting.

It is kind of special to me. It embodies a lot of this whole learning about courage for me. I came up against so many of my fears while doing this painting, so many “Oh no, I’m going to ruin it!” and with each one, I was able to feel not only the courage of doing it anyway, but also the vulnerability of giving myself very little control in the outcome of this!



There was a lot of gesso, and smearing, and splattering, and stamping, and rubbing, and dripping, and splashing, and each and every time I got to a point where I actually liked it (after almost ditching it several times in between,) I challenged myself to go and do something to it that would potentially “ruin” it again!


{I used the “puffy Gesso” method again for texturing the background!}


I think it is done now, but I’m not sure! It has gone through quite a few evolutions along the way, so there might be more!

Have I “ruined” it along the way? Maybe. In fact, it’s entirely possible that it was “nicer” in the beginning. However, the process that followed was so important to me and the painting I hold in my hands now, is much more wholehearted ... much more ... courageous?

Whichever way, it IS a very tactile piece, somewhat raw in places, quite smooth and delicate in others, sparkly and shimmery, subtle and in your face all at the same time.


What does courage mean to you?

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  1. So beautiful Birgit! I really resonate with that Matisse quote as well! Creativity certainly is courage and so is vulnerability. I commend you on this beautiful courageous journey and look forward to seeing what you create next! Much love, Nicola xxx

  2. That quote is perfect! I love love love what you did with your image... and I applaud you for continuing to work on it. That is certainly something I need to work on!!! (oh! and I have to check out the puffy gesso technique... totally cool!)

  3. One of my words for the year, "courage" was chosen before LB2014 began. I find it interesting that Brene Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability" spoke to you as it did for me. I posted about it at http://seekingquerencia.me/2013/12/16/its-courage-in-2014/. In particular, I loved the old definition of courage! It truly spoke to me. Anyway, your piece is amazing, and as a beginner, I strive to do work like you've done here. She is absolutely beautiful! Blessings, Lydia

  4. I think your painting is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! You are VERY talented!
    Keep being courageous.......... that is what REAL artists do!!


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Birgit Kerr