I’m obsessed with the sky these days. I’ve taken several thousand photos of the sky since I moved to this acreage two and a half years ago. It helps that my farmhouse is at the top of a hill and the back looks due west.

Often, just as I finish up the dinner dishes, the window above my kitchen sink lights up in golds, oranges, pinks, reads, purples, the colours captured in clouds that form over the lake at the edge of my property.

Not a fine photographer, I grab my iPhone, dash outside and fall in love. Snap. Snap. Snap.

Mostly my photos are me tying to suck the experience of the sunset into my body. Me falling in love.

Last week I had the thought, all I want to do is paint the clouds.

I almost dismissed the idea.

For years I’ve painted circles. Circles in bubbles. Circles through binoculars. Sky and water in circles. Hummingbird collages in circles. Mountains, forests and deserts in circles. Suspended moon goddess circles.

I love circles. All meanings of them: wholeness, infinity, life cycles, nature, completeness, medicine. The gifts I want to give you.

And yet…

Right now, I just want to paint the clouds. Not in circles. Just clouds rendered on a canvas.

A kind of painting I’ve never done.

I wondered for the first time, “Why not?”

I realized I’d developed a rule for myself.

Originally a beautiful thing, this painting in circles. Birthed in freedom and exploration and visions of paintings that came to me suddenly, like sugar plums dancing in my head. Asking to be made.

Over time, morphed into a rule. No longer a feeling of “this is what speaks through me”, but a belief, “this is who I am and how I paint.”

A self definition. A constraint.

When my heart cries to do something else.

I didn’t become an artist to contain myself.

I became an artist to let my soul speak.

My soul speaks through my desires. My desires are now saying loudly, “I want to paint clouds, damn it!” (My soul swears when I don’t hear its whispers.)

And so I shall paint clouds.

You, too, are bound by an invisible web of rules of your own making. Rules that box you into old patterns of thinking and beliefs. Rules that limit your horizons.

That’s why you wake up in the middle of the night and crave freedom.

That’s why you look at people you admire with envy and think, “I wish I could do that.”

That’s why you wish things were otherwise.

You decide you “can’t”, you “shouldn’t”, “it’s not possible”. You come up with reasons that’s just the way it is.

You think it’s impossible to do what you want.

It’s not.

It’s really just you containing your own desires.

Try this experiment. Watch out for the sinking feeling you get when you deny yourself something important. Ask yourself what assumptions you’re making. Challenge your assumptions over and over again until you break them apart and tease out new possibilities.

The next time you think, “I can’t”, ask yourself, “Is what I’m thinking really true? ” ”Is it really true I have to stay in the office until 6:00 PM every night?” “ Is it really true I need to spend my weekends doing whatever my spouse wants me to do because that’s the only time we get to spend together?” “Is it really true I can’t take a 3 month leave and go to France?”  “Is it really true I need to save $3 million by the time I’m 60 to maintain my standard of living?”  “Is it really true I’m not partner material, can’t sing, need to go back to school, am not creative?”

If your brain keeps insisting there insurmountable constraints, ask yourself, “What are the embedded assumptions I’m making that support my conclusions?”

Look at each assumption, one by one, and ask, “Is this assumption absolutely true?”

Go further and ask, “What might be some reasons this assumption’s not true?” If you had to argue that assumption were false, what evidence could you find to support that?

To create a life where you feel more alive, you first need to cut through the BS in your mind. All the rules your brain insists you must follow. The assumptions that are holding you back from living more creatively, joyfully, expansively.

Notice all the ways you’re living as if you were governed by a web of irrefutable rules. Then break them, one by one.

When you unravel the web, break the individual threads, one rule at a time, your life will start pointing you in the direction you’ve been yearning to go.

P.S. Sometimes it’s hard to make the changes you want on your own. I’m inviting you to do this work of creating the life you want with the support of a community of like-minded, intelligent, open, diversity-wecoming, mystically-inclined, creatively-interested high achievers in the Magic Room Experience, a group coaching program that starts October 12, 2022.

When you join the Magic Room Experience, your brain power will be magnified by everyone else in the room. You’ll see someone else resolve the exact same issue as the one you’re facing, in a way you’d never have imagined on your own. You’ll be cheered forward on your journey by people who believe in your goals, instead of questioned and challenged by people who are afraid of you changing. You’ll learn to get in touch with your body and feel safety even as you change. The communal stretching of possibilities will expand your world. The swirl of creativity will magnify your own.

To find out more about the Magic Room Experience, go to https://gracedcanvas.com/magic-room-experience/ or write to me directly at heather@gracecanvas.com to request more info. You’ll receive a brochure with program details, cost and other specifics, plus a Q&A form you can complete if you think you might like to join.

Once you’ve completed and submitted the Q&A form to me, go ahead and book a 20 minute call with me where’ll I’ll answer your questions and together we’ll explore if this program is the right fit for you. The scheduling  link to book your call is: https://gracedcanvascalendar.as.me/magic-room-experience.