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April 07, 2009

The Art of Reinventing Yourself

-by Bly Kaye

When I was at the market this weekend, in the commotion and chaos of who goes where and the time it takes for that process to unfold, I had the great fortune of finding myself stationed beside a woman whose energy is so gentle and unassuming, I liked her immediately.

Her name is Bly Kaye and I found her to be soft-spoken, easy to be around, supportive and just the perfect person, by chance, to share a beautiful day with. The door, above, is hers painted in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico.

At one point, she was telling me about reading Natalie Goldberg again because she had wanted to send one of Goldberg's books to a friend.

She mentioned that in one of the books, Goldberg talks about an exercise in which you begin writing poems for people on the spot. Short poems. You write whatever comes into your mind and turn it into a poem. No easy feat.

It made me think that instead of just sitting waiting for someone to buy a print or a card while at the Saturday market, I could be charging as well for personal affirmations that I write for them on the spot.

I immediately get impressions (as we all do) of people and sometimes, in a flicker, I sense their loneliness, their inability to trust, their strength, their love, their quiet confidence, joy, depression, anxiety. It would be easy enough to quickly jot down two sentences that they keep with them like a personal fortune/affirmation. Of course it would be positive. I've give someone a Toonie if they did that for me just out of curiosity to see what they'd say.

You have the strength to accomplish whatever you need.
Through softness you'll find your path.
For just one day, remember that assumptions are your own biases sent to teach you if you listen.

The cool part would be hearing their reactions to the sentences and whether or not my first impressions had any meaning for them at all; whether I was picking up on their "essence" of that day so to speak, accurately (or not!).

I figure if some hippie named Palu can walk up to unsuspecting tourists and convince them that they should make fools out of themselves by having him shake some sort of digeridoo-like thing beside their ear while he twirls a wooden thing that apparently has the same effect as a strobe light then surely they would be willing to pay a couple of bucks to receive a short affirmative message that would leave them more confident, hopeful, happy, supported or whatever I felt they needed to hear. It would be a fun exercise.

That's the thing about Salt Spring, you must re-invent yourself continually. I interviewed another painter on Friday for an upcoming article. She was sitting in her studio, an almost completed drawing of a house was sitting on her drafting table, and she had to be at work in a few hours where she put in time at a restaurant. Painter. Draftswoman. Server. Whatever it takes.

Bly used to own a popsicle business with her husband and came to the market for years and years selling popsicles.

Once you've proven to others what you think you needed to when you were young enough to believe that was important, then it seems the real work begins and that's the hardest part; the part where you prove to yourself what you know you need to just for you. Does that make sense?

Ways of being that seem critical to reinventing yourself:

1. Turn off the internal editor.
2. Make sure that what you think matters to you really does.
3. Don't ask for anyone else's opinion - everyone has one and they'll conflict only taking you further away from your own voice.
4. Just take the first step. Begin.
5. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
6. Forget about what other people might think of you.
7 Know that you've learned before, you can learn again, forever and ever. Amen.

Maybe you have some ideas of your own to add...comments?

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