Daring Greatly

                                                                     Source: highestcommondenominator.tumblr.com via Maria E. on Pinterest
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while DARING GREATLY, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt. It’s a blaring reminder that no matter how many times you fail or stumble the key is to be in the arena, show up and dare greatly, be brave!
I highly recommend reading Brene Brown’s best selling book Daring Greatly named after this quote. So many great insights! She was also on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this past weekend. (Part 2 airs this Sunday). View the first episode here: 

She also has a great Ted talk here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o


Encouraging women to Be Brave Mujeres

I’ve always wanted to be a helper, an encourager to other women. But my fear of being inadequate or not enough always prevented me from launching that dream. After many years of not living to my fullest potential and after experiencing many trials both personal and physical. I can say I am a survivor. I have lived a life with so many stories, stories that I’d like to share that might resonate with other women facing the same challenges. Stories about love, marriage/divorce/reconciliation, living with a life threatening disease, caring for my parents, the death of my father, the other side of depression, motherhood, on the ups an downs of living a creative life as an artist, pursuing my education, deployments and being a military esposa, on finding my voice.   I see now how going through these different life challenges have made me who I am today. The life lesson of simply “going though” and facing each one with grace, love and gratitude. It’s a process of learning your strengths, identifying your fears, weaknesses and still being brave enough to continue despite the resistance that creeps up inside of you telling you to give up. It’s the knowing that times will get better, that you will be better, that you are going to make it. It’s letting go of things that hold us back and having faith that not only are we strong enough to over come, but that we also have God on our side. 

It is through this learning that I am excited to announce the launch of a new project. Something very dear to my heart. Something that I am learning to be, while at the same time empowering and encouraging others to be. That is : Be Brave! Mujer! A new website built just for women looking to be empowered with a simple statement. Be Brave. I hope you’ll join me, sign up for the newsletter, like the Facebook page, and follow my tweets. There is also a Pinterest vision board for those (like me) who love visual aids and not just reading text. 

Here is the link:   http:www.bebravemujer.com

I encourage you to be committed to your dream.  I love this quote. It reminds me that when you commit to something do it wholeheartedly and watch how doors will open for you.

 “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” – William Hutchinson Murray

Con mucho amor,
Maria Sanchez

Your expression is unique.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” 
― Martha Graham

Can you imagine what amazing works of art the world would have been deprived of had these women decided to silence their expression. There would have never been a Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Cassatt or a Artemisia Gentileschi. 

What if these women had listened to their inner critic and thought… “I’m not good enough”, or “my art is crap” or “I can’t make a living from my art”. What if they had listened to the people around them who said they were crazy, eccentric, or “special” or not up to par in their skill set? Can you imagine the things they heard from the people around them? Frida your lady parts are hanging out or Georgia your paintings look like lady parts!  How sad would it have been had they allowed the negativity or fear to take hold?

I also think of the impact their lives have made on the next generation of artists that are now creating. I think of living artists today, ladies like Julie Zarate, las Lupes – Lupe Posada, Lupe Flores and Maya-Christina Gonzalez. There are so many others doing the work, putting themselves out there. They are brave mujeres.  

So how do you move past the negativity that scares you into thinking you can’t do it? I honestly think that when you get that little urge, that quickening of your spirit (life force, inner voice – I call it spirit), that is when you need to move on it. That’s when creativity is shouting to get out and be expressed. The more you silence that voice, the harder it will be later on to get her to show up. 

Is it easy to be an artist? Absolutely not, it takes drive, determination, perseverance, practice, and then more practice. It means having the toughness to get past rejection, fear of failure, criticism, and periods when you can’t find your muse. But it’s not impossible to be one if that is what your soul is telling to you do. So go pick up that canvas and paint set or if you don’t have one start with pencil and paper or a sharpie and a notebook. Let your expression be seen, let it be heard, let it be written. 

I am encouraged and my spirit does a little backflip when I see a new young artist put her herself out there. Taking a chance, expressing herself on canvas, not caring about what the critics both inner and around her have to say. That’s what I call being a Brave! Mujer! 

I would love hear about your experience dealing with fear when it comes to your creativity. How did you handle the critics? How did you move past the fear?

                          Con amor, 
                           Maria Sanchez

RED Project #6 Corazon (anatomical heart)

RED Project, #6
size: 3×3 inches
mixed media: red and black ink and pencil on cardstock
My heart breaks after all that happened today. So sad. Praying for the children who lost their lives and those who mourn them. God help us as a society. This shooting is so senseless. I can’t wrap my head around it. All I can say is my heart hurts for those that are affected by this. We need to take care of our children as parents. I don’t know what was wrong with the  person that did this, but I have to believe that had he gotten help for his mental anguish and inner turmoil, this might have been avoided. Parents pay attention to your children and the signs that they let off. Seek mental help, counseling through you church, county mental health agencies, etc. These services won’t seek you out. You have to make an effort to find them. Here is a list of some sources for talking to children about violence and death. 

National Association of School Psychologists on Talking to Children About Violence
What I consider to be one of the best articles on talking to children about death (by Hospice)
Explaining the news to our kids from Common Sense Media.
*links borrowed from Brene Brown mailer today on the subject.