What if You Really Are an Artist?

Artist or Creative was never a skill I would have claimed.  I didn’t see any artistic potential in my bag of tricks.  I could appreciate the skill and talent in others and I loved to be a patron.  At a young age, we are classified and labeled: athletic, artistic, musical, intellectual, etc.  It’s funny that we watch movies where the characters are assigned to roles or jobs and we are horrified at the lack of choice or freedom.  But are we really all that far from it in our society?

But that is a topic for another post perhaps.

My point here is that I am an artist where I never was before.

In September of 2012 a man walked into the store I owned with a couple of black plastic cases.  He opened them and angels sang inside my head.  It was full of this amazing body of work, all in glass: Pendants, rings, ornaments, wine toppers, earrings, jars.  I was in love.  He left the cases with me overnight and I spent a few more hours than I have ever admitted to him studying the pieces trying to figure out how he did what he did to create those things.

I ended up buying much of what he showed me at wholesale prices he gave me.  He shared that he wasn’t actively working at the moment, but looking for studio space.  I immediately wanted to set him up in my office so he could make more of this stuff.  I had the urge to get more of this into the world.

A few months I connected once more with this man over the mutual experience of failed marriages, being veterans of the military, single parents and so much more.  We forged a deep friendship and he began to share this world of glass art with me and all the forms it could take: functional, jewelry, sculptural and whatever one might like.

I would fantasize about watching him work on the torch and see the pieces emerge from the fire and his imagination into reality and we’d talk about the ideal studio.  It was not surprising to me that our visions were similar.

My first time on the big girl torch

My first time on the big girl torch

In late 2013 he found a corner of a space to set up his torch and begin to work again.  He set up a small torch next to it and issued the transformative invitation.  I laid my first rod to fire.  I was absolutely hooked.  To say I loved the experience would be selling it short. It was soul fulfilling. And even that feels insufficient.

Six months later found me in a position to invest some money and I bought my first big girl torch and all the accessories that I could.  I got my own bench in the studio that we had since taken over.  I found my life as a life coach expanding to include a life as an artist.

We took ceramics classes and open studio time to work the medium on the vertical plane and I saw the application on the horizontal.  I learned how glass responds to different flames and I fell more deeply in love.

I realized that I am an artist now and it surprises me.  But I am and I love it.  I love this part of me and I love that I get to work as an artist. I am comfortable with the energy of being an artist and exploring and not getting attached, but creating so that people like me might be able to see it, connect with it and have a spiritual response to it.

And maybe that spiritual experience will awaken their artist within.

Your assignment: take an art class, buy a sketchbook, grab a coloring book and simply create at least one time this week. Let your inner artist energy play a little bit!

5 Reasons to Rebel Against Single Labeling

Labels are not inherently bad.

We view them to find out what is in a food product.  They mark paths and protect us from danger.

We also use them to pigeon hole people and ourselves.

We use labels to answer “what do you do?” “who are you?” “why are you here?”  Our programming says we need to pick one thing.

I was teaching a spiritual entrepreneurship introductory class one night and one of the students had about 6 different areas of expertise and a range of services she could attribute to them.  As we talked about target market, niche and identifying what we are called to do she bumped up against the idea that she needed a single label.

She felt like she needed to be One Thing.  She needed one label that would umbrella all of the skills, tools and gifts she wanted to offer to her clients and would be clients. I disagreed.

The need to pick one thing is archaic. It is old school business thinking where we picked a major in college, got a degree in it and then went into that exact field for our job. I personally have an undergraduate degree in Criminology, a career in logistics and a Master’s in business.  Today I am an artist, writer and life coach.  I refuse to put a single label on what I am or do and it certainly doesn’t all relate in linear fashion.

I recently railed against the idea that my son was or was not “talented and gifted” per the labeling at his school.  You can read the full piece here, but the gist of it was: I think the single label of “talented and gifted” is beyond out of date and borders on discrimination in our schools.

So, if you need a reason to stop trying to pick one label for yourself, here are 5 reasons. Pick one or more and use at will:

  1. It stifles your creativity.
  2. You deny your authentic self and cravings.
  3. You model conformity for the next generation.
  4. It is too safe and lacks courage.
  5. It isn’t true.

Here is your assignment, think about all of the things you are: parent, coach, volunteer, cook, housekeeper, driver, writer, employee, boss, lover, friend and so on.  Pick more than one to use when you introduce yourself at your next social or professional outing.  And feel free to switch them up!

Tonight I agreed to role of soccer coach for my squeaks team. I get to once more add that to my repertoire of ways I can describe myself.  It’s cool.  I love that we are all so multi-dimensional.  Embrace that side of you!

If this is something you want to explore more, you might enjoy my free monthly virtual series The Art Of Living Dangerously.  You can check it out here and grab your seat!

Jennifer Murphy is an artist, writer and life coach (and now soccer coach!) who loves to parent her amazing 8 year old son.  You can connect with her via her website www.nolimitslife.guru and learn more about getting your own inner guru going!

What Did You Learn Today?

Do you realize how many things you learn every single day?  They are not all super big life changing amazing transformational things.  But we learn things every day we exist.  Paying attention and acknowledging them is part of your journey to knowing what works and does not work in your life.

See, we can divide what we learn into two neat categories: what works for us and what does not work for us.

It truly is that simple.

What did you learn today that you can now say works for you?

What did you learn today that you can now affirm does not work for you?

A few years ago, I was one of the drifters through life who picked up learning like dust molecules – not actively aware they were there and mindlessly brushing them off periodically. Feeling of missing something began to appear in my life. I felt like I was just not doing and being exactly what I ought to be, and clueless as to what to do about it.

I found myself at the beginning of an awakening within.

Actively engaging in the experiences already in play in life, learning naturally followed.  And this time, there was no nagging dust bunny sensation.  It was a full color energetic enlightening.

Each day I consider the experiences, sometimes as they arrive, sometimes in the middle, sometimes after they have passed. The gift is knowing my assessment of what I learn is as authentic as it can possibly be from where I am in time and place.

Today I learned that cranberry juice still works to stave off a urinary tract infection.  I also learned that I can watch Trailer Park Boys, 3rd Rock from the Sun and God is Not Dead on Netflix all in the same day and connect with each one of the ideologies portrayed.

I also learned that not eating regularly does not work for me, it gives me a headache. I also learned that missing a class I love and having to listen to the recording is not nearly as satisfying.

Spend some time and ask yourself daily:

What did you learn today that is working for you?
What did you learn that tells you what is not?

Comment below and let me know!

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, artist, writer and single mother to an amazing soccer playing 8 year old boy. Learn more about her at www.nolimitslife.guru and download your free InnerGuru Guide.

Five Dumb Mindsets People Pursue Their Calling With (and how you can be smarter)

Pursuing a passion sounds idyllic and wonderful and I absolutely adore partnering with people who are dedicated to pursuing it.  But in my years of watching people depart societally defined successful lives in the name of passion, I have made a few observations. In chief: People can be really dumb when they pursue their passion.

Digest these observations and use them to become smarter in your own pursuit of passion:

  1. Dumb people don’t invest, smart people do. The resources of money, time and energy must be invested in every single effort put forth once the decision is made to pursue your passion. You cannot go half in, be inconsistent or cheap out if you want to truly do this. You don’t have to go triple platinum on everything from day one, but you need to commit your resources. Smart people wisely budget and allocate their resources to incrementally invest in what they want.
  2. Dumb people believe they know everything they need to know, smart people keep learning. I encourage people I coach to start with an inventory of what they know and then determine what they need to know. This applies to career, money, relationships or any activity they are pursuing. If you are passionate about being a writer, what do you know now and what do you need to know? Smart people will understand what they are working with and know their strengths and weaknesses, then work to make the strengths stronger and convert the weaknesses.
  3. Dumb people are ego driven, smart people are not. Your ego will limit you way more than anything else you have working for or against you. Your ego will tell you all sorts of things that are untrue depending on the situation. You may be an amazing artist, mechanic, parent, leader, or whatever your passion is, but always remember that other people are involved. As soon as your thought process becomes solely focused on you, you lost the bubble on your passion pursuit and ego won. You are in it for you and only you.

Smart people develop an ego check method – an honest friend, a question they can ask, a spiritual practice. Be smart.

  1. Dumb people don’t have a long term vision, smart people develop one. When all you can see is a single aspect of the life you want, you may not have a vision. You probably have an idea, but not a vision. Dumb people see one thing they want and try to wedge it in without considering the ripple effect. Smart people will look at the big picture, develop a vision that addresses life at large and begin to take small actions to get closer to that vision every day.
  2. Dumb people are inconsistent, smart people take action every day. Dumb people believe a weekly hobby is a calling. They believe a wish is an action, that talking about is doing, that sporadic social media updates and followers are all that is required. Smart people know that progressive, consistent, linked action is necessary to truly align with that pursuit of calling or passion.

I could keep going, but I promised you just 5 and I have delivered them. I have been degrees of dumb, and smart, in each of these areas since I jumped into the pursuit of my calling to partner with people to follow their passion and live their authentic life.  I speak with the voice not only of observation but of first-hand experience.

To work with that energy and to promote smarter calling pursuers, I have developed a free monthly virtual series called The Art of Living Dangerously that you can register for and test your own actions in the tools, resources and information we will share there.  Hope you will be one of the smarties and join me.

At a minimum use these as guides or questions to reflect upon as you make your push into authenticity and pursuit of your personal passion – whatever it may be. Which one resonates most with you?

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, artist and writer who is passionate about partnering with people who want to stop settling and pursue their own version of passion and authenticity.  Learn more at www.nolimitslife.guru

Thank Goodness My Kid is Not Talented and Gifted

Warning: Strong, possibly offensive language, but absolutely 100% authentic in nature.

“Mommy, there is this class at school in a special room for talented and gifted kids and I don’t get to go” squeak shares with me this morning.

My authentic reaction is as follows (all internal and occurs in roughly 5 seconds):

WHAT THE FUCK????!!!!! What do you mean he wasn’t included? And why the hell are they still calling it that in this age of political correctness and bullshit about “not labeling” kids and “everyfuckingbody wins”.  Those fucks…I am going to call them, no I am going to post a Facebook rant (cause that always works), no I am totally going to go down there and demand they change the name of the fucking program immediately!!!! He is totally talented and gifted…and goddamn it pisses me off that he is questioning that because of this stupidity.

Yeah…that is exactly how I felt in that moment. EXACTLY.  And in retrospect, as I think this over in a more practical way, I think my “irrational, kick some ass for making my kid feel bad kind way” self has a few decent points in there.

1. The label sucks. “Talented and Gifted”…seriously?  The basis for this program, as I interpret it from my son’s explanation, (without obtaining any further information from his teacher or the school), is academic.  And I think that is awesome. I do think if the kids are excelling academically they should be given ways to further challenge themselves. Please, continue programs like this.  But let’s be specific on that.

On the way to school this morning I asked my squeak what he thought talented and gifted was and asked him to list all the ways a person can be talented and gifted.  His list included: sports, art, music, being nice to people, sharing AND THEN academics.

In an age where we tell our kids to include everyone, that we are all special and all that other touchy feely stuff…why take a group of kids and tell everyone else that THOSE kids are talented and gifted.  Guess what? Every single one of those kids are talented and gifted.  I work in their classroom every week and I can tell you that I observe talents and gifts every single time.

Can we perhaps find another way…academic challenge course or something smarmy like that.

2. Facebook rants will not help anything. Nope Facebook rants against the system are not the answer. Sure, they will sway a few folks to my side.  My side that says we should stop letting the schools program our kids through labeling and testing and curriculum.  The side of me that is soooooo tempted to get him in a home schooling program and put him in his own talented and gifted program.  But that is a feel good solution that is all about me and my ego, not about focusing on the real issue.

3. My kid is pretty amazing and he needs to know it – and that’s my job. The real issue is that my kid needs to be able to see labels like talented and gifted as only that. Labels. Labels that don’t define who a person truly is and has the potential to be in this world. I haven’t seen an office in my years of work in the military and corporate world that had a sign hanging outside of it that says “ I was tagged as talented and gifted in the 2nd grade” and that is why I am such a raging success today.

Nope, I hear way more stories of people with amazing parents who supported them and loved them and encouraged them.  Or stories of people who had crappy parents who transcended the experience to become kick ass members of society.

So here I am hours later and I am actually glad he isn’t labeled talented and gifted. Because I can support him at his authentic pace, in whatever interests he chooses to pursue: sports, art, music, gaming, hunting, fishing, or whatever he gets passionate about and decides to unleash his innate talents and gifts upon.

I can settle down from “killer mama bear” mode back into “Evil Mo who tells her kid that TV turn off week is actually mandatory and the entire world has to do it” and keep working on homework, encouraging research on tigers, playing robot boxing games, experimenting with a new cookie bar recipe, shopping at the Co-Op and letting him know he is loved.

We will have these moments with our kids.  The moments that try our own mettle as parents and make us question whether we are doing a good job, or damaging our kids or doing the best we can. Think about what you want them to learn: are they to be a victim, or are they to be courageous and be who they are actually capable of being: amazing little humans who will grow up to be amazing big humans?

I am really working on the latter.  I will fall short, I will react some days instead of responding.  But I will always love him.

Do you have any stories like this?   What have you done in the face of incredible outrage on behalf of your child and your own doubts about your skills as a parent? Comment below.

Remember, you are okay.  Keep doing the best you can, your kids just need to know you love them and you are willing to fight for their highest and best good.

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, writer and artist and single mother to the most amazing 8 year old ever! She specializes in partnering with people to find the courage to live their authentic callings. Find ways to connect with your best authentic self at http://www.nolimitslife.guru 

Do you Conquer or Cringe at a Challenge?

In the fifth grade I received the first challenge I remember consciously accepting. Our teacher threw down the gauntlet and declared that no one in his class had ever received honor roll and he didn’t intend for that to change that year.

Steely resolve is exactly what I felt. I didn’t know that phrase yet, but I felt it.  And I smiled as I accepted my certificate later that year.

In 1995 I embarked on my career in the US Army.  Arrival at Fort Knox was a blur of yelling drill sergeants, bad food, humidity and a rush of adrenalin.  I called my mom a few days after arrival and I recall her remarking that I seemed to be enjoying the challenge.

I have relished arguments, enjoyed forging new grounds and welcomed the idea of convincing people to come over to my side – whatever it is.

Being able to enjoy a good challenge is a strength, it is an asset as an entrepreneur and as a human being.  Being able to see the possibility, not know exactly how to get there and to go for it anyway is accepting and meeting a challenge.

So here is a challenge for all those that are considering starting their own business: only half of all new establishments survive the first five years according to SBA statistics.

Only half.

I accept. I accept with a smile.

How do you acknowledge your challenges?

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, writer and artist. You can learn more about her, how to create your own authentic life and become guru for yourself at http://www.nolimitslife.guru

Do You Make Smarter Choices Every Day?

Today’s centering thought in the Oprah and Deepak 21 Day Meditation Challenge was “Make Smarter Choices Every Day”.

Do you? Do you make smarter choices every day?

We’d like to hope so right? We’d like to hope that every single day we take the wisdom we have collected from the days accumulated and apply to what we are faced with in this very moment.

But we don’t in all cases.

For example, a few years ago I intuitively invested in the decision to stop using unnatural chemicals of any kind in my life.  I have been relatively successful with a slip or two here and there. But when it comes to my body, I have been rigorous. All of my body care products are natural, no added harsh chemicals and I feel better.

So what possessed me to try a “high quality” moisturizer gifted to me that I knew wasn’t compliant with my choice?

I knew it wasn’t chemical free. I knew it wasn’t all natural. But I fell into the old programming of it being a brand name and expensive so it must be good.

I now have chemical burns near my mouth from using it.

This is a product I used for years in my former life of believing the advertising.  I bought the entire line and applied it vigorously as directed.  I bought in.

So why did it burn me?

Years later I believe the intuitive decision I made to stop putting those chemicals on my body has been proven.  After detoxifying over time, my body knows what is natural and what is not and it does not like the synthetic, laboratory created crap that we as consumers and chasers of the fountain of youth have longed for. Instead, my body is telling me that what the earth provides is enough; that the natural path is the way to go.

My body is telling me living chemical free is the smart choice.

What choice are you making in your life? It may be about what you put in and around your body, it may be a relationship you need to pursue or let go, a job, a money decision. It does not matter. What matters is whether you are making a smarter decision today than the all the days before.

Are You?

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, writer and artist. You can learn more about her, how to create your own authentic life and become guru for yourself at http://www.nolimitslife.guru