Learning About Feeling Confident in my Expression Through heART

by Amber Goodwin, Merchandiser, Goonellabah, Australia

When I was little I was always freely expressing, I loved to make sounds and tones, and sing. I loved to move my body, music or no music, I loved to play and make things with not a thought on ‘how it would turn out’… my heart had something it was feeling confident to express and I loved this feeling.

However, after a few knocks here and there I began to believe the harsh rules, conditions, expectations and beliefs that were placed on me and I began to squash my own expression so as to not upset anyone else … and in doing so I have held my natural expression back, which has felt crippling for me ever since.

I had an experience recently where I took up the offer to do some art with Rosie’s ‘Expression through HeART’ art class. I needed a mask for a masquerade ball I am attending so that’s what I decided I’d make.

I googled a few mask pictures to get an idea of what I liked and found one that I loved. I took myself shopping to find the materials I wanted to use, and whilst I was looking at options of material, I found it hard to make a decision. It had to be exactly like what I saw in the picture, and for a fair price. Soon I became quite tense as I was taking too much time. I then realised I had to just be practical and take what would best suit and move on to the next thing. However with each item, this feeling of not being confident, of being afraid that I’d not get the right things and end up with something that wasn’t right, kept coming up. After two hours it had become a somewhat painful experience!! However, when I looked in my basket, I loved what I had ended up with – feathers, pearls, gems and lace. Wow! I thought, even though that was a bit of a struggle I really love what I have chosen.

The next morning I arrived at the art studio where I was shown to the space I could set myself up, and the textiles I could use. I took my time to settle and set up my area. I got everything out and ready but found myself hesitant to start. I felt exuberant about making something but felt tense and uneasy about how to do it… I was so afraid of making a mistake, or doing it wrong, or ruining the materials I had paid a lot of money for.

I started with preparing my mask, which needed to be stripped of its existing cover. I began to struggle with peeling the glue off, becoming more tense and pressing on it harder and harder until I accidentally snapped it clean in half! Well, that made me stop!

I sat back for a moment, I felt so tense… I thought to myself “what is going on with me?”, “nothing should be this difficult”, “why is this such a struggle for me?”, “I need to come back to myself”.

I brought my awareness back into my body; I felt the tension in my arms and shoulders and chest and noticed my breathing felt constricted. I took some deeper breaths and then let them go, and allowed my breathing to become more gentle; I got up from my seat and moved around a little to allow the flow back into my body.

I wasn’t going to let the fact that the mask broke stop me, and thankfully I managed to superglue the mask back together and continue.

The next part was gluing the material on with the hot gun. Now this was a somewhat tricky task as the glue dries fairly fast and the material can be a little flimsy.

Once again I began to tense up and feel awkward and uneasy about how to do it, not knowing if it was going to turn out right. At this stage I was well and truly over feeling this tension so I asked for some help. It was suggested to me to try the glue out on a bit of cardboard first, so I did and felt a little more confident as I now understood the way the glue worked.

As I continued with each step I felt the tension rise, but I also kept choosing to stay with me, to feel my body and my breathing and to take one step at a time. I found that as I stayed with me I was feeling more confident as I went along and I started to feel a little more adventurous and ‘freer’ in what or how I might do the next thing.

With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.

I realised I was still subscribing to the harsh rules, conditions and expectations that had once been placed on me and was not allowing myself to feel what was right for me. But now I had chosen to be in a space where this was not happening… a space where I could let go, take my time, feel how I might do things and be with myself without feeling I needed to change or do or be something different to meet others’ demands and expectations: in this staying with me I could feel a lovely-ness and an allowing in what I was doing, and I started feeling confident in the choices I was making.

A beautiful conversation opened up with the women I was doing the art with and there was an openness that felt lovely. One woman then began to sing, and we so naturally joined in and all began to sing and gently move to the music that was playing… I felt like I was five years old again except that now we were beautiful grown women – it felt amazing.

As I completed I began to see and feel that what I was making was actually truly magnificent! I became tense because for a moment I thought “after all that fuss I wasn’t allowed to love what I had made”; but there it was, staring me in the face, (pun intended) this beautiful, delicate, feminine and absolutely gorgeous masquerade mask, and not only was I feeling confident but I could see and feel I had made a celebration of me!

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine

326 thoughts on “Learning About Feeling Confident in my Expression Through heART

  1. Amber I have felt this often. Being hard or ‘self bashing’ leaves no room to reflect and change the choices we make. Your blog has reminded me of the importance of remembering that there is no perfection in any of our actions but the opportunity to simply give everything in life a go.

  2. Amber, you could have given up when you snaped the mask in half! but you didn’t, amazing to feel how you were very honest with yourself about the tension you felt and the celebration you came to.

  3. Amber- I can relate to your experience. I used to be like this when approaching something new- self critical and with little confidence. But I am now learning to stay connected with my body, to breathe gently when doing anything, and not listen to any self critical voices in my head. Another key point here is to not take anything too serious and have fun and then our natural expression just flows.

  4. Yours is a great example of working with the awareness of tension in our bodies in order to appreciate when we’ve lost that connection to ourselves that enables us to keep perspective and not be taken over by our attachment to ideals and beliefs about getting things right.

  5. Thank you Amber for sharing the valuable experience you had. I too can get so caught up in expectations and wanting to get it right that I almost forget how easy it is to just breath and connect back to my self and start enjoying rather than achieving.

  6. I am still learning the power of the word: ‘oops’ and that there is nothing like ‘I did it wrong’. There is only learning. How powerful and influence full are the voices in our head dictating us perfection and ‘killing’ our playfulness.

  7. Yes when we are hard on ourselves it takes us away from enjoying the precious moments of simply being. Allowing ourselves the space to play and have fun is such a joy. Your blog is super inspiring Amber thank you for sharing.

  8. Amazing blog. I could so feel it, too and make the same experience with different things that I am so hard on myself and now it is not even necessary anymore as I can take my time. I also appreciate that it gets lesser and lesser and therefore much more joyfull 🙂

  9. Amber I can’t help but look for and pay attention to what you did after you noticed how hard you were being on yourself and before you started to feel lighter and playful…….. you came back to your body. So simple, you felt the tension, paid more attention to your body, shifted your posture and position, walked a little – there is so much forgotten and powerful wisdom in these choices. They are not to be under-estimated and it might not be the right words but being trained to re-connect through our bodies could serve us in many moments of tension and being hard on ourselves or others.

  10. I recognise very well what you’ve written amber about being controlled by the ideals and beliefs. I often go into overwhelm, try to ignore that and all along become harder and harder. I am realising that this doesn’t work. And sometimes I am able to come back to my body and sometimes it seems that even that is a struggle. The honesty that I am recently coming to is how disconnected I am from my own precious Heart. And without that connection I am not even able to feel my own Love, even if I try to feel my body. It’s like feeling my body from an empty place. Where when I feel my Love, everything is falling into places. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for sharing Floris. I totally recognize what you have written. When I am on a guilt trip, have been angry or discovered I made a mistake or something it can sometimes be very hard for me to connect back to self love. I cannot imagine living life without love ever again.

  11. I can relate to this feeling of the tension when you go to do something new and the pictures you have of how it should be or what it should look like. Instead of pushing through, register how you are feeling and then give yourself permission to learn and have a go.

  12. A joy to read this again today Amber. It brought back memories of my trying to create a christmas tree shape for school (5-6 years old) I tried so hard to get the shape of the varying lengths of the branches to match each other. The harder I tried the more deflated and stressed and anxious I became. To see others complete their trees and get praise from teacher really panicked me. I can really see and feel how I let this situation cast a shadow over many other events in my life. Like you so beautifully share with us allowing the joy of what you created not be tainted with the ‘harsh rules, conditions and expectations’ of the past.

  13. When we connect to and express from our heart any activity becomes a whole process that values every step – not just the end product.

    1. We know that the journey can be as valuable as the end product so why do we have a society that focus’s so heavily on results and not how we got to the results. If the quality of the journey is not there then neither will the results be.

  14. Reading your blog, I remember how I used to feel as if I was doing it wrong whatever I was doing. I didn’t trust myself nor had any confidence – even though I was capable of doing it well. In disconnection, we experience life as hard and complicated, and there’s no joy in that.

  15. “…had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself”. This is absolute gold – when things are ‘hard’ we should take the time to feel how hard we are being on ourselves. My experience is that when we let go of expectations and outcomes, life flows.

  16. Thank you Amber, thank you for sharing, and it is a perfect read for me this morning. I’m shedding some behaviour which has been keeping me in anxiety, and now when the feelings of anxiety come up, I choose not to go into eating as per usual, and actually just stay with feeling how I feel, accepting it and observing it. I do know there is no reason to be anxious; no need for me be ‘perfect’. So it was great to read your blog this morning, confirming what I am doing, taking charge, instead of keeping going on the merry-go-round.

  17. The evil in social expectations, pressures and ideals is not in their existence so much as it is in how insidiously they become about how we think about ourselves. As soon as we start to think these things of ourselves we then act out their limitations in our own lives.

  18. This is a beautiful description of working through, issues that come up for us when we give expression a go. It can be tricky, old issues and habits arise and our bodies can become tense and it is really confronting when we start to try and sabotage ourselves. The truth is when we go deeper and reconnect with our inner being, our inner heart this can enable us to express our truth. I would say it takes commitment, honesty and practice, when it occurs it feels amazing. I loved how you described a feel of being in a room of grown women and feeling like a child in your playfulness and innocence, this can occur when we express from our inner heart and it has been my experience.

  19. Amber I loved your sharing of the opening of your creative energy, with a few bouts of doubt along the way you sound like it was a magnificent project and mask at the end of it. Most of us put so much pressure on ourselves to do a good job when all we need is to get out of the way and let our creative selves free.

  20. I loved this example of how within a simple piece of craft you were able to return to this ancient art of being you. When we live with this innocent exploration of life, its easy to feel how we are all masterpiece’s in our own right.

  21. I would love to see you with that mask.
    How beautifull it is when we do what we do just by simply being ourselves, as children do.

  22. A beautiful post Amber, I can so relate to what you have shared about wanting things to ‘look right’ that we can be quite hard on ourselves through having an expectation for an end result.
    In connecting with ourselves, we allow our natural and joyful expression to expand and evolve.

  23. We can be very hard with ourselves and yes as you say make our life very hard to live and situations more complicated than they need to be. By giving ourselves a break we can then see the simplicity around us.

  24. This idea of getting things right and the fear of getting things wrong is a curse and sucks all the joy out of things. It is so great to read your overcoming of this and your celebration of you Amber. We need to be true rebels and do what comes naturally to us, discarding the way things are supposed to look, and they might just even be amazing.

  25. Hi Amber. Thank you for sharing honestly how something can be taken over by the drive to get it right and how that plays out. It was quite a contrast to the moment you let go and went with the flow and everything literally opened up. Every moment offers a choice about how to be in each moment. Your ability to notice what was happening and to keep bringing yourself back was inspiring.

  26. Thank you for your blog Amber, and the fact that I just read this is perfect timing! When we subscribe to the ideals and beliefs of the world it makes life so such harder, a common saying is ‘life wasn’t meant to be easy’ but isn’t that just another ideal? What if life could be easy? If we trusted ourselves we could easily align with what was needed moment to moment and life could not only be easy but also a joy.

  27. It is so inspiring the way you chose to say ‘yes’ to and claim the love that you are within and not subscribe any longer to the manipulations of the thoughts that keep us believing that we are less than who we truly are. Thank you Amber for your beautiful sharing.

  28. Although through your blog one can feel all the restrictions and pressures that you, and all of us, have been encouraged to put on our expression, there is a moment near the end of your blog when I start feeling the opening, the space, to be you, and that helps me feel the connection to myself, and how that focusing on my body, and letting go of the hardness is what allows for that space to be as expressive and lovely as a child again.

  29. How great Amber, that by not giving up when you felt the tension and choosing to keep on creating your mask, you were able to develop confidence in your expression and also have fun. This is worth celebrating.

  30. So much magic can happen if we are open and allow ourselves to simply express in whatever way we feel to. I loved painting and drawing when I was young but found the constraints put on expressing it at school disheartening and stopped doing any at all. Last year I met with a group of women gathered together to paint in whatever way we felt, and it was amazing! No constraints, no rules, and being able to play with colour, design and texture in many different ways brought so much joy, and through that freedom to express, a painting is now hanging on my wall at home. What I noticed is that the joy of expressing through painting also rekindled other areas of expression within my life. When we openly express in one area of our lives, it opens the door for more expression to naturally flow.

    1. Beautiful sharing Paula, this is so inspiring. I have not seen myself as ‘artistic’ ever, so have avoided having a go with doing art for many years, as I know what would come up for me. Your comment has encouraged me to have a go when the opportunity arises, and to just have fun and express, without any need to achieve anything. I love it.

  31. Wanting to do things right, I know that one very well. And when I do make a mistake or something does not go that well (different from my expectations), I can get defensive about it. I am learning that there is no such thing as mistakes and that I am enough, more than enough.

  32. I love the feeling of being 5 again, it is so free and without complication – it astounds me just how complicated we make life as we get older and move further and further away from our innate natures of joy.

    1. I agree Vanessa, we really do make things complicated as we get older. The freedom we had as a young child is what I try to remember when I get a little too serious about things that really do not need me to be serious. The playfulness connects me back to my heart and then I just know what to do, to write, to draw, to make. Magic 🙂

  33. Thank you Amber for sharing your story, to be free to express all of us that is something to celebrate.

  34. Your honesty in all you expressed in your writing about your experience Amber was refreshing to read. We have so many expectations os ourselves and how what we do should look and what we should achieve. All of which leave little room to really feel the moment and whats needed to allow the freedom to respond to that given moment which may be doing things in an entirely different way to what we usually do. Its refreshing to allow the freedom to simply be in the moment and respond with what we are feeling. Working this way does not tax the body.

  35. Thank you for your sharing Amber: “‘being hard’ [on myself] had been making things hard for myself.” I like how you have worded this. It is so true, I am working on the hardness and harshness that I put on myself, and am realising the pointlessness of it. Imagine if we weren’t hard on ourselves at all? Learning, evolving, with a lightness, joy and Simplicity.

  36. This point to be hard on myself, what you describe Amber I know very well as well. One little mistake and I criticized myself. So for me it is a big learning to be lovingly to myself no matter what I do and my self-worth doesn’t depend on any activity.

  37. Our expectations put us in a prison, we become hard, controlled, contracted and confined. Your sharing Amber, shows us how we can find our way out of that whenever we find ourselves trapped in that place.

    1. So true, Judith. Our expectations can make us feel like being imprisoned. The stronger we hold onto certain expectations the less our cells will feel and we might forget that we are the ones to unlock the door. Seeing someone who is roaming free will be a very powerful inspiration to come out of this cell.

    2. Yes Judith, it is the truth of where we have come to with ourselves. Like you shared for intstance being hard on yourself in life, it gets then reflected to us in for example art or any taks really. Incredible if we choose to honestly look at why we feel uneasy at times, so we can heal what lays underneath.

  38. Gorgeous Amber! I so related to everything you wrote about – the inability to just free up and express and the shackles of getting it right. Now I am experiencing more of feeling and knowing I am good enough and however I express will be spot on. It is so freeing isn’t it? I just love how you stepped us through all you were feeling to then gain so much from the whole experience. A life lesson in a mask!

  39. The only thing missing in this blog is the picture of your mask! I would love to have been able to see your mask. The process was a real journey into and under the anxiety we can torment ourselves with to get things right. Thanks you Amber

  40. Thank you Amber, what a delicate precious description you have made about your experience. It lets me feel the feathery invitation to be me and I am invited to choose this in every moment. And this then leads to openness, community and a beautiful outcome, that reflects back. I got a very tender feeling through reading your blog although this also was a development for me whilst reading, starting from a kind of eagerness and hardness arriving to an opening up to this delicacy. Very interesting, that you let me make the same experience you have described, through reading it! Beautiful!

  41. Amber this a beautiful and super important sharing. I too wonder at the hold the critical or directive voices from our childhood have on us long after these people have left our lives. Your experience is a great example of choosing to let go those inhibiting behaviours and find your own playful expression again. Having the support of others is truly lovely.

  42. As I was reading your beautifully honest blog Amber I could so easily relate to that drive to get things right, the worry of what will people think, and the holding back so I won’t be embarrassed. As you discovered, all this does is to impact on the body and so creating another set of problems, as well as taking you away from enjoying what you had set out to do. How lovely that you were able to work your way through this destructive mine field and to have, what sounds like, a glorious mask, at the end, all beautifully completed with a delightful moment of singing with the beautiful women around you.

  43. Thank you Amber, what you share is so beautiful, how you chose to overcome the rising tension you felt ….. ‘With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.’
    This is so true ….. when we put expectations on ourselves, we are setting ourselves up to fail …. crazy.

  44. A lovely sharing with us all Amber – and one that I certainly can relate too, particularly those nagging doubts of ‘what if’ (I get it wrong or make a mistake) the ones the mind loves to play games with. Putting a stop to that by feeling the tension and bringing your awareness back to your body and gently breathing – a great way to settle the busy mind and really enjoy the experience of what you are doing and letting fun play a bigger role.

    1. I’ve found too. Marion that when I stop trying to be ‘perfect’or ‘faultless’ the materials I am working with work with me, and the finished article, food or fabric, flows together almost without effort.

  45. wow, how we can allow those voices in our head can do a number on us. Something so simple and playful, gets turned inside out. Thank you for sharing this, it reminds me not to pay attention to those voices!!

    1. Yes Joel, the same for me, this is a great read to remind me not to listen to the self critical voices, and to come back to the body, feeling myself and being with myself and observing what is going on.

  46. Thanks for sharing this Amber, it just goes to show that sometimes we take things far too seriously, when all we have to do is connect to our inner child and have fun and let the energy flow.

  47. That is a very lovely story Amber. And how much your experience show us all the power of nominating what is going on truly. So behind the linear way of this thing broke i need a new one…you was reading the Situation what was really reflected to you and by being open to do so you gave yourself a beautifull healing.

  48. Beautiful to read your blog Amber and see the process and healing that unfolded.
    I see the hardness in my life and how that stops me enjoying what I’m doing often, as there’s a constant criticism and evaluating, instead of simply being with my body in all that I do.

  49. Amber what I love about what you have shared is the clear knock on effect of what buying into our beliefs and ongoing tension can have. The complication that’s created was awesome to see. Even more awesome was that you knew that this was not you and how you continually brought yourself back to feeling your breath or your body. And what a joy to feel you at the end of the blog enjoying you and what you had beautifully created for yourself.

  50. This is great to read Amber, as its so true… the playfulness and light joyful feeling as a child still does dwell within our body. Recently I visited my old primary school (from when I was 6yr), and I couldn’t believe how in just returning to this place, I instantly remembered and reconnected to that feeling of me as a 6yr old.. Reconnecting to the 6yr old me, even though I’m walking around today as a 42yrs old. This feeling of me as a 6yr old fired up and I felt so sparkly, happy, and so safe. It was amazing. This reunited feeling continued even after that revisit ended, and now I understand more deeply, how important early childhood experiences / imprints are. It has been wonderful to realize that, that joyfull child still lives within my body just like how you experienced with making your masquerade mask. We just have to remember and live that!

    1. ‘This feeling of me as a 6yr old fired up and I felt so sparkly, happy, and so safe.’ Thank you for sharing the joy of revisiting the freedom of the younger you Johanne and the reminder that it is always a choice to reconnect to this and drop the constrictions we place on ourselves to ‘get it right’ that so hamper us from truly expressing.

  51. Thank you for sharing this experience Amber. This sentence really stood out for me “….I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.” When we let go of the hardness and the expectations we put on ourselves than we can give ourselves space to really express who we are. And what I find beautiful in this process that you have described is that even though you were going through all of this and being really hard on yourself, you were still making your mask which turned out to be beautiful. The mask reflected the true you and not all of the other things that you are not.

  52. That was gorgeous Amber, an amazing process you went through to eventually have your magnificence reflected back to you.

  53. Bringing myself back to the task at hand helps me to get rid of thoughts of incompetence and self-doubt. When I remember that in everything I do I express myself, it is easier to keep grounded and free of comparison. For instance, I know my contribution to the posts is equal to everyone else, but sometimes I may feel mine may not be as eloquently presented as some – but this is what I offer in the moment, so therefore I will contribute knowing I am equal nevertheless!

  54. I had a similar experience recently Amber, I was making a card in a class setting with someone I support for her father. I had the same feelings come up and as you said, when I let go of being hard on myself and getting it perfect, I started to have fun with the other participants in the class.

  55. Thank you Amber that through your sharing you demonstrate so clearly the significance of staying with yourself, allowing yourself to be honest with what you are instead of re-acting and that by doing so you establish a new foundation, which is also healing an unresolved hurt.

  56. Amber, I loved how you described what was going on for you, and the responsibility you took to come back – very cute. Staying with you was the key to coming back and building your confidence. What a significant remarkable event in your life where now you get to celebrate your achievement by wearing your mask.

  57. Amber what a beautiful journey of returning to your natural playfulness and a celebration of you.

  58. Amber I love the connection of being hard on ourselves results in everything becoming and feeling hard. I have found this to be true in my own life and with my own awareness of this pattern, I have now much greater flow and ease in my days.

  59. A lovely lesson in overcoming the tricky thoughts that sabotage, and even lead to breakages! Your willingness to return to breathing gently and slowing down shows how powerful these simple techniques are, Amber. You ended up with a gorgeous mask, to reflect your beauty and joy.

  60. Thank you Amber for highlighting that when we are hard on ourselves, we become hard and everything around us becomes hard. This is a great reminder and inspiration to stay connected, let go, allow and appreciate.

  61. “As I completed I began to see and feel that what I was making was actually truly magnificent!” I feel you are truly magnificent Amber and it is so beautiful that you can celebrate you.
    I would love to join that art class!

  62. It’s really beautiful that you could learn so much about yourself from choosing to make your own mask and so divine that from choosing to stay with you, you ended up with something that confirmed through it’s reflection how gorgeous you truly are.

  63. A lovely sharing Amber. I too judge myself against others but am learning to let this go and appreciate the differences between us. Life is a learning experience and can be joyful when we let go the expectations and comparisons with others and know that most people feel similar to ourselves so lets break the pattern.

  64. This makes sense Amber that the expectations would be felt in your body as a tension and what came to me whilst reading your blog, is how tightly we hold ourselves to these expectations and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
    One such example for myself would be to learn a job quickly and feel the tension of taking too long (which is only my expectation), but if I am teaching someone I don’t automatically expect them to pick it up straight away. It just shows how hard we can be on ourselves.

  65. I could so relate to this blog. I used to be the same as a child, constantly drawing and making things, dancing and singing my own songs. But as an adult I have stopped making things. I have a feeling that what I create won’t do justice to what I can see it in my mind. It’s like I have given up before I even get started. I can tell there is a lot to explore and feel about this. When do we stop enjoying our expression and creativity and trusting that it will be perfect for us? As you have highlighted, the ‘getting it right’ energy is huge.

    1. It is so true Fiona, I can really feel the difference in the childlike nature and the adults conditions to get it right. We are molded into beings who care about all the things that don’t matter in the end, and no care about the things that matter the most.

  66. How awful it is that we get paralysed with fear of getting it wrong or making a mistake or have a set idea about how something should be and then get disappointed if it doesn’t match that. I love how you have peeled back the whole process for us and managed to break through all those beliefs and completed something that truly reflects your unique beauty. Thanks for sharing Amber.

  67. Gorgeous Amber! I appreciate the timely reminder that when we feel that things are going wrong, the choice is there to slow down or stop, and check in with ourselves and then move on again.

  68. At school we are taught to not make mistakes. Carrying that anxiety of not being able to make a mistake can certainly close off our expression. I loved how you worked your way through the anxiety and tension and created a magnificent mask whilst you celebrated yourself. Inspiring!

  69. So relatable Amber. Working creatively myself, someting I do weekly, I still get caught up in the rules I perceive I need to abide. I often freeze up, worried about trying something new in case it doesn’t turn out how I’d like, and what if someone see’s it and I’m not finished, they will think I don’t have a clue….etc etc. All nonsensical thoughts of course. It often takes a little while for me to realise I’ve lost myself in the process before I can walk away, take a breather and remember that there is no right and wrong. Usually once I release the shackles, everything flows and the tension dissapears.

  70. Being playful and allowing our expression to take its own course without holding back, is a truly freeing experience. As you say your mask was a celebration of you, looking back at you.

  71. ‘Performance pressure’ nailed in a nutshell, Amber. Along with the way to truly back ourselves and be with ourselves bodily in what we are doing – whatever that may be. Having spent many years crippled by outer expectations, and realising just how insidious I’d allowed such influences to be in my life, due to my own predilection for hiding in self-deprecation and a lack of worth, I truly get where you are coming from. And celebrate that you have refound how simple it can be to just express ourselves, naturally.
    It’s really up to us, isn’t it… just which way we choose to confirm ourselves as being.

    1. That is so true Victoria, we can put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be a certain way. Only this morning, I was thinking about something that I did and found myself starting to judge myself for it, and then I reminded myself, to not make myself wrong in it. I made a choice but it didn’t need to be judged in any way, just accepted for what it was. It totally lifted any pressure and left me feeling my lovely self again. Love is really very simple.

      1. Agreed Julie. And the way you’ve described your awareness of your own thoughts and attitude towards yourself is everything here, isn’t it… The moment we look at such negativity and realise it’s actually ridiculous and oftentimes more deeply harming in itself than anything ‘wrong’ we may have done, we can come back to ourselves. We can honour and appreciate our willingness to learn, our amazingness in so many ways… something we can so often neglect, especially it seems, in this Judeo-Christian culture of ours…

  72. I so loved reading your transformational journey Amber.
    From the ‘freely expressing’ child to the “squashing’ it, being hard on yourself, becoming aware of the tension and how you overcame that, returning to the delicateness, celebrating and seeing the gorgeousness of you reflected in the mask.

  73. Beautiful sharing Amber and one that I feel I shall return too many times. I can so relate to feeling “Afraid of making a mistake” or “doing it wrong” immediately this sets me up to go into panic mode and sends the tension/anxiousness levels sky high. This always happens if I ‘try’ to get ahead of myself in whatever task presents itself. As you share it is as simple as bringing our awareness back to our gentle breath, connecting and taking one step at a time. I do make it so complex for myself sometimes – but to keep bringing myself back to the present moment and not jumping ahead with my thoughts is only a gentle breath away.

  74. I know this feeling “With this I began to realise that I had been so incredibly hard on myself, and this ‘being hard’ had been making things hard for myself.” It is so true that we make it hard for ourselves by ‘being hard on ourselves’ what I felt strongly when reading this blog was how your confidence was expressed when you let go of this and began enjoying ‘you’ for ‘you’ and expressing this feeling. Lovely to share in – Thank you.

  75. I had a big smile while reading this Amber, thank you. It is amazing how much pressure we put on ourselves to get something right and perfect and as a result miss out on enjoying the process. Your mask truly does sound like a celebration of you and I can’t wait to see it one day, perhaps even borrow it!

  76. What I have been experiencing lately is we are given many chances to discern and feel in our body what feels truthful or not. When there is anxiousness then that is a signal that something is not right, when there is a feeling of joy in the body then that is a confirmation of the truth.

  77. What I get from this blog is that we are given opportunities to come back to our natural way. It is up to us to say yes to them or to act as business as usual.

  78. A mask unmasking the exquisite beauty of the fun, joy-filled, and playfully loving woman you so openly share in all you have expressed here, thank you Amber.

  79. It’s great that you did stick it out and not give up halfway through or give up when you snapped your mask in half. I like the commitment you have demonstrated to complete what you started and do this for yourself. Awesome.

  80. Thanks Amber for your sharing, so true when we stay connected and let go of any expectations we feel free to explore and be play-full like children.
    ‘ and not only was I feeling confident but I could see and feel I had made a celebration of me!’ – how beautiful…..such a great reminder to express in full always.

  81. This is so beautiful Amber. I love watching my 4 year old make things, he just does whatever he feels and has such a great time doing it! I too used to love making things, drawing, painting, being creative when I was younger, but feel a bit stuck with it – your blog has provided some true inspiration – thank you!

  82. “and not only was I feeling confident but I could see and feel I had made a celebration of me!”, that is so beautiful, Amber. A joy to read.

  83. Loved reading your blog Amber. I enjoyed reading about your experience in making the mask and in the process it was like you were symbolically taking one off of your own face. The mask we choose to wear which holds us back from knowing that we are already enough. Thank you for sharing.

  84. Thank you for your sharing- it is great to come back to the natural innocent way of doing things. Feels much more relaxed and the true purpose of the actual action is “fullfilled” so to speak.

  85. Amber this is really beautiful. I can remember being as a child exactly as you described. As an adult anything artistic or singing when others may hear was terrifying and I would always brush it off with ‘Oh I am not the artistic type’. The truth is though that I always loved that sort of thing but just did it hidden from others. Letting go of the impositions placed on us with regard to any expression is very healing and sets us free from the pressure we placed on ourselves. I love that you have shared your experience with us and that the creation of your mask was in fact a rediscovery of yourself.

  86. Indeed there is a magnificent beauty that shines through in our expression as it did for you Amber when we connect and discard that old and well tempered mask of harsh rules, conditions and expectations.

    1. So true Rob. Letting go of the harshness and the restrictive rules allows playfulness and lightness to become part of our expression. I know when I catch myself taking things too seriously and then choose differently the playfulness comes so easily, so eager to be invited in.

  87. I have experienced how being hard on myself has effected my body. And it can still happen, that’s for sure. It’s like I become smaller, my shoulders are all tight, my stomach feels hard, my heart is closed and there is absolutely no joy whatsoever. The moment when there is no joy and my old time favorite humor, then I know something is not good…..Making a mask sounds like fun, just like other things we do during the day. It’s bringing that fun, light and humor back in all our activities.

  88. Your expression here Amber is so lovely to read; I enjoyed reading how you became aware of how life shut you down and how you courageously overcame that.
    I’m sure your mask was gorgeous and divine also, as you are.
    Thank you Amber

  89. This is gorgeous Amber, I had a bit of a laugh as I could relate to your experiences. We can definitely be very intense with ourselves, much of our education is about getting it right, being perfect and not making mistakes. It is no wonder we end up living in a way that continually conforms to this, even though technically we are no longer at school or being graded but the condition sticks. Thank you Amber for sharing.

    1. Such a relatable topic Amber, thank-you for sharing your story. So many times and ways in life we shut down to others and hide behind a mask, and as you say carolineraphael, want to get it right, or perfect and not make mistakes which was definitely how I chose to be from a very young age and then carried that through to my adult life, thinking that that was the way I needed to be. And worse still is that you actually believe that you are a good citizen or a good role model when you do that and pride yourself on being that because you believe that is right. Thank God our hearts are much wiser and truer than our minds and can set us straight when we choose to stop, breathe and connect to our truth, that true love, doesn’t need a mask, it loves its own glorious and all encompassing sparkle and naturally wants to share its universal language.

  90. I love how you realised that you had been very hard on yourself, and that ‘this being hard’ had been making whatever you were trying to do hard. I spent many years being hard on myself to the point where I couldn’t even start things sometimes, or if I did start I wasn’t able to finish them. This became quite debilitating. Now I am letting go of the being hard on myself, everything does become so much easier and I am starting to enjoy learning new things all over again. I’m sure your mask was gorgeous!

  91. Nice Amber. It’s interesting to note how the ideals placed on us as children have affected us. I liked hearing about how much attention you were paying to yourself whilst doing things and what you noticed as well as how you responded to yourself.

  92. Amber I can relate to your experience and will sometimes find that if I feel pressure to ‘get it right’ I will disconnect from my body which then creates anxiety.
    ‘… in this staying with me I could feel a lovely-ness and an allowing in what I was doing, and I started feeling confident in the choices I was making.’
    Staying with me allows me to let go of the ‘push’ and trust that everything will find its way naturally if I remain connected.

    1. Well said kathrynfortuna, staying with me allows me to let go of the push and trust that everything will find it’s way naturally if I remain connected. I will remember that today, and every day.

  93. Thank you Amber – I can really relate to the feeling of working on something where there seems to be such a lack of flow, and a tightness and frustration that kicks in when it does not fit the picture that I had in my mind. In your blog I love how you could relate to the time you were a child and the freedom of expression that you once enjoyed and how this helped you unlock that for yourself once again. It is so much about letting go of what the mind is conditioned to think; to think what or how we ‘should’ do something, and instead surrendering to the playfulness that is naturally within us, that knows how to do something whilst having fun and being tender.

    1. True Henrietta, great reminder that we all naturally have play-fullness and joy within. It is no wonder we all love being around children and enjoy their natural joy and play-fullness because it reminds us we are that too. So much happens over a lifetime to stop us connecting to it, yet as Amber has beautifully shared we are able to let go at any point if we are willing to make that choice.

    2. So true Henrietta. That childlike innocence, being carefree is not something that has to leave us with our childhood. That exquisite playfulness and innocence is in truth part of who we are, and it is glorious to see adults let themselves be in that playfulness again. Thank you Amber for the lovely reminder.

      1. Carefree, playfulness and innocence-words we adults relate to kids. And yes, how lovely it is to see ‘grown up’ kids connect to this again. I love those moments with myself. This blog is a great reminder to just get in-touch with this again.

    3. How easily we forget that we have the playfulness within us, and as we connect to that feeling, we know exactly how to let go of any anxiousness in our body and tightness we hold. To me it really is about about surrendering to the playfulness and allowing the tenderness to come true. However when I get caught in being control and doing my body starts to get anxious and I go into my head, not a great feeling at all.

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