All it takes is to just SHOW UP and BE THERE.

“Cēsis Family” (2019), Watercolor, ink and color pencil on paper, 11.7 x 8.3 in.

A year ago I attended an artist residency in Cēsis, Latvia.

For some reason I felt that I wasn’t “artsy” enough to be there, and among these artists who I perceived to be more “legit”, I couldn’t help feeling like a fraud.

Each time I hung out with them, I constantly feared I would say the wrong things, and soon enough they will see right through me and wonder why I was even selected to be here.

One night, they made plans to go out, and once again I really wanted to join them, but I feared I’d be very awkward and not know how to contribute to the conversation.

I started to think I should just stay home and work on something instead, and I messaged my then boyfriend about my conflict.

He wrote, “If I were you, I’d go hang out with them. Maybe no need to talk.”

I wrote, “And just sit there and say nothing?”

He replied: “Yeah, why not?”

That’s when it hit me that my idea of “hanging out” meant that I had to prove I “deserved” to be part of the group. I must show that I’m smart or well-informed enough, and present myself as their “equal”. I must be this… and that… and all these came from fears that were stopping me from just being there as myself.

Because most of the time, all it takes is to just show up and be there.

On the journey of living our dreams, we’ll often come across unfamiliar situations, and our natural impulse is to return to what feels comfortable for us.

We might tell ourselves we don’t deserve to be here, we’re not good enough, we’re not ready… and no matter how much we want to experience it, we’ll find an excuse to stay in our comfort zone.

That night, when I decided to keep hanging out with the other artists, and not let my fears stop me, I realized that I wasn’t on this adventure just to paint Dream Tree murals.

The journey of living our dreams is really about immersing ourselves fully in the entire experience of it, even when we don’t feel “up to it”.

It’s only when we show up and choose to fully be there, even when it’s outside our comfort zone, that we discover more of who we truly are, and what our journey is really all about. 

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When was the last time you overcame one of your fears?

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