Sunday, January 20, 2013

My year of slaying demons

Just before Christmas I dragged an old sewing machine from the back of a cupboard and persuaded a friend to show me how to use it.  Its a beautiful, manual Singer, made in 1924.  It came to me via a charity shop and still has all the original accessories. I'm thrilled to say that with a little dusting down and a bit of oil, she still works like a dream.

It wasn't that long ago that a sewing machine was a vital, labour saving piece of equipment for every household and I wonder what stories of family life the old girl could tell;  the clothes and curtains she'd made, the repairs done to sheets and trousers. Imagine the hours of love and industry a dedicated mother had put in to taking care of her family with this trusty servant.

Slay the inner demon
But my motivation for learning to sew was nothing to do with wanting to run up a pair of curtains or fashion a new dress for my daughter (although I did repair the tear in son's pjs).   No, my goal was much simpler. I wanted to slay an inner demon!

I hated needlework at school, nothing I made was ever wearable, but Kirstie Allsopp's programmes on craft and upcycling had inspired me to get creative.  I have loads of ideas and projects I want to do, one of which I've been putting off for 10 years!

First  I had to get courageous and face my fears.  I envisaged my creativity as a glorious golden temple shining and magnificent, my entry to it blocked by an old demon who convinced me I did not belong and had banished me from ever entering this wonderful place.  I saw the sewing machine as a snag-toothed dragon determined to impale me, so the first step of my quest was to prove the demon wrong and overcome my fear of the dragon sewing machine.

Creativity is a natural part of us, it is our Life Force and determines how fully we live our life.  Its not just art and crafts, it is an outlet for the expression of our authentic self.  Creative self-expression is a vital ingredient for health and well-being and is also where we feel most vulnerable. My confidence around anything 'crafty' had been knocked many times over the years - even my kids laughed when I said I was going to learn to sew -  but I decided that 2013 would be the year of meeting my fears and slaying them.

Rediscover your sparkle
If we have shut our creativity down, we suffer.  Life becomes drab, routine and predictable.  We lose our sense of wonder, our sparkle, our confidence.

Shame and vulnerability researcher, Dr Brene Brown says 'Unexpressed creativity is not benign'.
Feelings of boredom and frustration are a sign that we have denied ourselves access to our creativity.  Judgment, blame and criticism of self or others should ring alarm bells that unexpressed creative energy has gone rogue.  Learning something new whether its sewing, dancing, Italian, car mechanics or ancient history opens up the mind and doing something that stimulates, inspires and fulfills you is also a great way to bring fresh energy to your relationships.

My enthusiasm for sewing must have been infectious because my husband, watching my growing obsession interest and realising that my new-found skills would probably never extend to taking up his trouser hem, decided he wanted to learn for himself.  We discovered Clothkits, a gorgeous temple to needlecrafts which, alongside selling lovely things haberdashery, also offers sewing courses including one called 'Make Your Mother Proud'.  We decided to do the course together!  A sure sign our relationship had moved to a new level.

The one day course was fantastic.  Run by Fiona Hesford of Sewgirl, 7 women and 1 man were led through a step-by-step process from threading the machine, to making a cushion cover, replacing a zip and making a tote bag (with lining!).  By the end of the day all 8 novices were thrilled and proud of their achievements and keen to learn more ('Make your Mother even prouder').

Aside from the fun I'm having with my sewing projects, I can feel how this new interest has open my mind up and helped me to think differently about lots of things.  But most of all, I have healed a belief that I'd held on to for far too long.  As a friend of mine kindly said: 'I knew you'd be good with your hands, you use them enough when you talk!'

Have you lost your sparkle?  Why not make this the year you conquer your demons and unleash your creativity?  If you're not sure how to start, dig up one of those dreams you've buried from sight and dust it down.   If your answer to each of these questions is yes - its time to get courageous and follow your dream.  Pay attention!

1.  Does it make me feel energised?  
2.  Does the future life that the dream offers align with my core values?
3.  Does it require that I learn and grow?
4.  Do I need help from a higher power?
5.  Is there good in this dream for others?

Don't know how to  get started? We're here to help!  Our coaching programmes are designed to allow you to become the leader of your own great life.  Get in touch and we'll take you through a coaching process to unleash a powerful resource, your creative mind.

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