Guest Writer for Wake Up World
About two years ago I left two businesses I spent most of my 20’s and 30’s creating. For 15 years I was a successful psychotherapist, lecturer and businesswoman. I was living a comfortable life. I was following to the best of my ability what felt “right” and fulfilling to me in the moment. Yet, over the course of my career as I was accomplishing great things in areas I was skilled at, I realized my passions were beginning to change and my heart was calling for something different.
There was a vague sense of emptiness always present inside of me, a haunting cloud of sadness not big enough to consume me but loud enough to consistently agitate me. It gave me the sense that something was missing. This cloud that started as a whisper and turned into a shout spoke these words: “You’re doing what you think you SHOULD do, not what you really want to do.”
So, after years of trying to band-aid my emotional aches and pains, I finally left the life I had worked so hard to build in New York. I moved to Berlin, Germany and spent a year and a half simply exploring life through travel and engaging in the ordinary.
After two years of giving myself space without any pressure to decide who I would become or what I would do next, came the very intense vision that I needed to make art. A vision so strong, that for nights upon nights I couldn’t sleep. I knew I was being called. Yet, I never studied art before. Never in my life did I think I would have a career as an artist, and never had I attempted to dive into something in such a major way without the structure of teachers or a school.
But here I was finding myself taking the jump. I have learned throughout my life that following my gut feeling or idea, even if I’m scared shitless, is what ultimately brings me happiness. I have realized if I want to make a change, I must tolerate the fear and vulnerability that comes with taking a leap into the unknown. The wave of fear communicates a paradoxical message: “Girl, if you honor your feelings and welcome the unknown, you will fall deeper in love with life and receive gifts you can’t even imagine.“ We are taught the unknown is an unsafe place to be, yet following our hearts (which often at first feels terrifying) is the safest place we can ever be. It’s the one place we can trust.
During my journey to this realization, over the past two years, I’ve learned eight truly important things:
- We are here to bring our ideas, desires, and inspirations into form. What does this mean? We are here to create stuff. The stuff we create becomes our “work”. This work may be making art or taking care of children or operating on a brain or sweeping floors. It has to resonate with you. If it doesn’t resonate, stop making it. When we express our ideas, desires and feelings, we get in contact with life force energy. This energy feels like a good MDMA trip minus the hangover. When we do what doesn’t resonate with us, our ideas, desires and feelings get energetically trapped inside our bodies. When energy gets trapped, we begin to suffer from insomnia, depression, addictions, physical ailments, emptiness and other fun stuff.
- Follow your inspiration WITHOUT ANY ATTACHMENT TO THE OUTCOME. Usually when we get an idea, we come up with a detailed vision of how it will work out. While this is important, what’s more important is to let go of the details shortly after. In other words, hold on to the essence, the main ideas but throw out the run-on sentences, forget the grammar, and who cares about punctuation. Why? Because the visions we hold for ourselves are often based on current belief systems not always in line with our fullest potential and are often based on unconscious programming. There is a higher self within and a cosmic voice surrounding you that will guide you towards everything you need. In my experience, the best surprises come when I stop resisting what is appearing in my life if it’s not what I expect and open myself to a different version.
- As we support our callings, life supports us. Yes, we live in a world where money is a thing and yes, our “survival” depends on that thing. But money in its highest form is a tool for our creative expansion. In other words, that we “have” to make money means we have the choice to think creatively about what we can “do” to make this happen. It helps us manifest what I am talking about in “rule” number one: giving form to our inspirations. When we do what we feel inspired to do rather than what we feel we should do, we set in motion the law of abundance.
One of the law’s main tenants: As you share your gifts, you receive back many times over (financially backing included). In other words, when you align with what you are here to express, when you connect with your flow rather than some societal or parental ideological stream that has no clue about who you are, then life aligns providing you with everything you need to fulfill your calling. When we ignore our callings, life doesn’t abandon us. It will slap us in the face with a bunch of tough love experiences that get us to wake the hell up.
- What heals us, heals others. So why should you follow your heart, express your feelings, and pursue the excitement moving inside you? Because it will heal you. And when you heal yourself, you heal the planet. Doesn’t that feel good?
- Trust the process. I know, it’s boring to hear but really it’s super important. I mean, who wants to feel uncomfortable while waiting for something to unfold or shame after having let oneself become vulnerable for the first time? I don’t, but we have two choices: We can feel like shit doing the same shit we do every day and go nowhere or we can move more deeply into our feelings and let ourselves be vulnerable and yes, feel like complete shit in the process because for sure when we step out of our comfort zone some uncomfortable things will surface, sometimes painful things like traumas we never dealt with but the end to this version of the story is NOT the same old suffering.
It’s a new world where walking through the pain leads to a lighter, more magical reality whose expansion has no limit. After time, it becomes clear that embracing the process is the point of life instead of any end game such as fame or monetary or professional success or whatever. That falling deeply in love comes as a direct result of honoring your whole being and allowing everything to be all the while holding a greater vision for yourself. When we trust the process, we gain trust in ourselves and when we trust ourselves, anything that appears in our lives– the good, the bad and the ugly-becomes a gift and source for a greater love story.
- Mistakes lead to the greatest discoveries. Honor, honor, honor your mistakes and imperfections. Being an artist has taught me more about this than any other experience. Most of my biggest painting “mistakes” have been my best sellers and some of my most impulsive moves have led to the discovery of techniques that make me feel the most joy when I am creating.
- Confidence is not the absence of insecurity.It is the ability to feel vulnerable and insecure, to name it to ourselves and others and despite the fear, the flops and f*ck ups to continue to do whatever it is we are doing. Feeling ashamed, scared and lost as hell is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human and if we are up for it (you know all that enlightenment talk?), it’s really about feeling your feels, being in your body, being real. This is the route to Nirvana and we can find it here.
- Create Space.When we are bringing something into the world or waiting for something to come to us, we must allow for a balance between action and rest. One underemphasized aspect of manifestation is the importance of passivity, of creating space for the seeds we have planted to grow. Does the pot of basil seeds you planted grow into a plant you can eat more quickly if you overwater them? Same idea. Don’t force the form. Slow your roll and let the space speak.
So what happens as result of all this?
We get many of the things our society suggests we should attain: success, money, recognition, fill in the blank but instead being an end game or the source of our self-worth, they become enjoyable by-products of simply following the inspiration and flow of our hearts.
And this is exactly what happened. In the year after I left my life of “shoulds” I fell deeply in love with life. I am in a mad love affair that is never ending and constantly expanding. It’s a love coming not from falling in love with the man of my dreams or being recognized for my achievements, but from identifying, honoring and releasing the desires inside me without having a damn clue sometimes where it will take me. I am learning the love we create inside ourselves has no limits.
After having my big art vision, I poured myself into making art for five months, clueless as ever yet fully convinced by my vision and the power and confidence that moves through me when I express myself as I am. On the sixth month, I took another leap. I came out of my Facebook and Instagram hiatus and I bombed the hell out of both with all my new work scared as ever. Within a month, I sold over 8 pieces and received two commissions. By the end of the year, I found my works being exhibited in two different galleries in Berlin.
I am just at the beginning and have no idea where this will lead but as I have learned throughout this process, this is the point: If we’re brave enough to be clueless, we find life and all its mind-blowing, life-altering, body explosive surprises waiting to meet us.
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About the Author:
Danielle Benvenuto is an artist and writer based in Berlin, Germany. She brings her past work as a psychoanalyst and energy healer into her art and is known for her soul portrait and heartbeat paintings. She offers 75-minute sessions called Life Sessions, which help you manifest a life that is more in tune with what you truly desire. During these sessions, you and Danielle will unlock together your passions and life callings and identify any potential blockages that my be hindering your self-expression. For more info, visit her on her website or Instagram: