Pushing the boat out beyond my comfort zone

Haslar MarinaJulia onboard

 

 

 

 

 

 


One week ago today, I took a leap into the great unknown on a salty adventure that took me way outside my comfort zone.

For a few years during my childhood, Dad had a little boat which was moored on a canal close to home on which we would occasionally explore the waterways of Warwickshire. I remember vividly the time I saw my first kingfisher, but I recall little else. In recent years, many holidays have been taken in a France, so a quick hop across the channel on a big ferry has been a regular occurrence, but I had never been sailing.

The previous week, my partner, a keen sailor in his younger years, had returned from five days in the Solent gaining his Competent Crew certificate, full of enthusiasm. Each evening he would call home, detailing the day and his delight was evident; infectious even. He suggested I give sailing a try and whilst I agreed in principle, I had not an inkling that a few days later, I myself would be stepping on board a yacht for the first time and going sailing. To cut a long story short, after a small amount of resistance on my part and some persuasion on his, he signed me up to head off to the Solent for a weekend on board a boat called Intuition and 48 hours of intensive learning. “Go,” he told me “get involved and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s the best way to learn.”

I had no idea who the other people on board would be, what their level of competence was or how we would get on in a confined space. To be frank, I didn’t even know if I would make it thought the first night on board without being sick… but I did. All was well and I loved it!

The very gentle movements of the boat in the water at night were barely detectable and the sounds of the marina were soothing. I shared a cabin with a fellow artist, a mother to two boys like me and there was a lot of nervous giggling that first evening. Also on board were a father and son and our instructor Dave who had worked in the Navy and on submarines. I felt comfortable and confident under his instruction. The amount of information to take in was somewhat overwhelming. Words I had never heard before were taught to us and we learned to tie figure of eights, reef knots and bowlines. I have to admit that my heart gave a flutter as we first hoisted the mainsail. It looked so tall and I was struck by the power of the wind. The weather was kind to us and all apprehension and uncertainty melted away as we got stuck in with the hands-on learning. I was in my element… out under rolling clouds, off into open waters, enjoying the breeze.

One of the benefits of being signed up to this unexpected activity so soon was that there was little time for the anxieties to build up, but I truly had not a clue what to expect as I stood waiting at Hamble station for my lift.

My childhood and teenage years were not the most adventurous. I was never encouraged or inclined to take risks and my comfort zone was a safe and familiar place that I rarely left. I was taught always to have an eye out for the dangers or risks and though I have been a little more courageous in recent years, stepping onto a boat full of strangers with not a clue what I was doing really did feel quite brave. But it taught me something… as trying anything new does… that if you stretch outside your comfort zone, you eventually get comfortable in that new place and your world expands a little. Each time you push, your world grows more.

I felt a little tearful as we headed back to Hamble Marina on Sunday afternoon… two days at sea with strangers and all of the new knowledge I had acquired felt like such a massive achievement. I was proud of myself. On Monday morning, still swaying in my chair, I downloaded my pictures. The experiences have taken a little longer to download and it has taken me several days longer than I intended to write up this post, but I got there. These things can take a while to sink in.

The sense of space out in the middle of the water was incredible; the feeling of freedom with the wind in my hair was unbeatable; the feeling of control at the helm as the boat responded to the slightest movement of the tiller was empowering and I returned home a more confident woman.

Sometimes it is vital that we feel the fear and do it anyway; we need to step outside our comfort zones in order to grow.

I have just booked my next sailing adventure… in less than three weeks, I leave Southampton for five days! Obtaining my Competent Crew certificate is my mission this time.

I would love to know your experiences of pushing outside your comfort zone. When did you feel the fear and do it anyway and what were the results for you?

boatseau yeah!

Living life as an adventure

It is 18 months since I started this blog and when I look back, I realise that so much has developed in that time. This particular adventure began on May 1, 2012 with a 30 Day Challenge when I committed to my creativity for one month and started documenting it here. Little did I know that this would lead me to teaching art to children, running workshops for adults, painting on the pavement outside my favourite Indian restaurant to celebrate Diwali and to this month sitting on the other side of the 30 Day Challenge fence as a Screw Work Let’s Play team member and 30DC Genie. I love shining my own light and carrying the torch for others and their talents, so this feels like the perfect role for me.

Following my own creative path and being open to whatever may unfold has really allowed me to enjoy life as an adventure this past year. At the start of the Summer, I exchanged my Tesco clubcard vouchers for a flight to Glasgow where I enjoyed an art-filled weekend in a city I had not visited for 20 years. Last week, I hopped on the Eurostar to attend an Outsider Art Fair at a Paris hotel and to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the magazine Raw Vision at the Halle Saint Pierre where I co-curated an exhibition of British Outsider Art in 2008.

Giving myself permission to live life on my terms, embracing my creativity and allowing daily life to become an adventure is what it’s all about right now. It was this spirit of adventure that led me to having my hair cut in the street outside the Centre Pompidou by the Hair Cowboy last week… the same spirit of adventure which led me to write a love letter to Dishoom and to my collaborations with them… the same spirit of adventure that seeks out the people who inspire me and the places I love and leads me to connect these dots whenever I can. This past week alone, I have hopped on the back of a horse for the first time in 20+ years, created a giant self-portrait in the sand and strolled the streets of Paris in search of art.

Right now, it may not be bringing me riches, but I am living a much more fulfilled life. The next step of the mission is to encourage others to live a fulfilled and adventurous life created on their own terms too… Kickstart Your Creativity begins here at home tomorrow… let’s see what unfolds.

What one thing can you do today to make your life feel a little more adventure and less mundane?

With love,
Julia x

Challenge the old routine

Bank Holiday Monday… just a few days left before August is over and we start thinking about Autumn again. Soon, the Summer holidays will be just a memory and it will be time for school runs and routines. Whilst I can appreciate the benefit of a daily routine (especially on school mornings), I also like to feel free and this is where my art comes in…
I have built up an imaginative stock of techniques that I use to help me feel free.
I use some of them on the train if I am travelling, but need a burst of creativity; I use them to release me from negative emotions if I am feeling sad or angry; I use them when I want to express something for which words are not suitable… I use them to feel free.

On Saturday September 21 I will be running a one day art workshop in London.
I am feeling so excited about this, because it will enable me to share some of the wonderful techniques I use to connect with my own creativity and free myself from the worries and fears that hold people back. It has been just over a year since I really, truly committed to my own creative journey… and what a year it has been! I have learned so much and I have so many things I want to share with you, so I hope you will join me for a day of liberating creativity.

It can be easy to put off your creativity and indulge in avoidance techniques, but if you want to challenge the old routine and give your creativity a boost as the seasons change, take this opportunity, as I have a very SPECIAL OFFER for you UNTIL MIDNIGHT ONLY! This is a wonderful chance to give yourself the space to create in a supportive environment with me. I will be your guide to fearless creativity.

You will leave with:
a handful of art made by you
a JOYful spirit
fun techniques to apply at home
a new feeling of creative confidence
and a desire to let your creative spirit fly
…so JOIN ME!

Every day can feel like a Bank Holiday when you feel creatively free.
Enter the code HOLIDAY before midnight to get 10% off here:
https://bookwhen.com/becreativedaily

Don’t slip sleepily back into the old routine… spread your creative wings and come fly with me!

With love,
Julia x

p.s. If you have any questions, just e-mail me: hello@BeCreativeDaily.com