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Archive for February, 2010

A large portion of my energy the past two weeks has gone toward my blessing bowl business.  The leather  bowls are always teaching me life lessons and these past two weeks were no exception.  The newest lesson had to do with what I think I am worth.

My art business has grown along with me since 2003.  It suffered a little this past summer when I felt it necessary to work a part-time job that turned into more of a full-time job.

This winter I decided to work on my art business.  I experimented with color stains, new designs and expanded my offerings to appeal to a broader market.  I created a place online for potential galleries to view the range of my work as well as tell the story of my blessing bowls.  And, I improved the appearance and offerings in my online shop.

Satisfied with my newly created inventory I turned my focus to marketing efforts and attracted two new galleries in one week.  The first one asked for the information I had to date not taken the time to create, like a biography of myself.  That task alone took me two days.

I did notice it was easier to create than if I had attempted the task two years ago.  I felt a sense of pride as I shared my story and accomplishments.

Then came the task of pricing my new works.  The owner of the first gallery had very clear ideas about what she wanted.  To my delight she appreciated the one-of-a-kind free form style pieces.  Creating these brings me the most amount of joy.  Yet, when it comes to pricing them it brings up all those thoughts about whether or not I deserve what I want.

Recognizing my dilemma my husband sat down with me to work out a systematic formula that would price the piece by the square foot for materials.  Then all I had to do was add my hourly wage to the material cost, double it and there was the retail cost.

When we got to the hourly wage my husband pointed out the amount I was currently charging less taxes meant I was barely breaking even.  I had been feeling uncomfortable about pricing for a long time.  I knew it would force me to acknowledge my worth.

The exercise helped me see I was making progress.  I had graduated from a gift shop to high-end galleries.  I was recognized as a professional artist.   I no longer needed to be concerned with how much a gift shop customer would spend.  I could ask for what my time was worth and know I would be honored and supported by the decision.

The two new galleries were already planning marketing efforts for my works and I had not even shipped them.  I was providing professional marketing materials and photographs to facilitate greater exposure and the potential for increased sales.  I was acting like a professional and being treated like one.

When I decided to give myself a well deserved raise I felt a deep sense of peace.  It was my spirit’s way of letting me know what I was doing and thinking was good.  It feels good to know I am finally beginning to believe I am good enough.

What do you think you are worth?  I can tell you the real truth.

The truth is you are worth far more than you think.

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For some time now I have practiced ways to keep myself focused in the present moment.  Yesterday I noticed something different and want to share it with you.

I was taking a few deep breaths trying to relax the tightness in my shoulders.   As I felt the shoulders relax I noticed  another part of my body was also tight.

When I finally felt my entire body relax…a thought drifted in and captured my attention.   Immediately my shoulders resumed the same raised and tightened place they were in when I started.

After some time of working and observing it became clear the tightness was the result of fear.  I was afraid of what might happen in the future and that fear was keeping my body in a state of stress and dis-ease.

I turned my thoughts to the things I love and appreciate about myself.  I noticed and gave thanks for the things I am grateful are in my life this very moment.

As quickly as my body had become tense it became relaxed.  I was experiencing joy and peace in the place of fear and worry.

It is no wonder we have so many physical problems.  We rarely experience our natural state of simply being.

Living fully focused in the present moment is where we find our health, peace, joy and abundance.

I plan to check in with my body more often to see how I am doing at keeping my thoughts focused in the present moment.

Are your shoulders tight?

Are your hands clenched?

Are you tapping  your feet?

What is your body doing to get  your attention?

A simple change in focus can change your life right this very moment.

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Appreciate Yourself

My expectations of myself have always been higher than most people.  I thought I had done a pretty good job of changing that pattern until this week.

I put together a very impressive “to do” list for myself.  It involves tasks related to seven projects I am working on in addition to self, home and family.

I started thinking I should do more and do it faster. Thoughts of self-doubt and criticism began shutting down my productivity.

Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and began to stop the old pattern before it drained my life force completely.

Since my focus was on what I was not doing, I started writing down all the things I do in a day.  The friend who introduced me to this idea called it a “done list”.  She suggested I put everything I do on the list. This included letting the cat in and out, cooking, laundry, email, paying bills, etc.

List in hand, I congratulated myself for all the things I had accomplished.  I told myself how much I appreciate all the things I do.

I offered prayers of thanksgiving for the things I love about working from home.  Like preparing healthy meals for me and my husband.  And, the freedom to work with my creative energy spurts without punching a time clock.

As I offered myself, love, appreciation and respect I could feel the energy begin to flow again.

Just like the healthy food our body needs to work properly, our spirit responds better to a healthy dose of love and appreciation.

Today I added a permanent item to the top of my “to do” list:

Feed Penny love and appreciation now.  She deserves it.”

What are you feeding your spirit?

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