From I can’t to doing

Sometimes our automatic pilot is so strong we don’t notice we block ourselves from joy. By cultivating a yogic mind set you can open up and expand and leave the “I can’ts” behind.

I was encouraged to draw by a talented painter. My first thought was “I can’t paint or draw”, and then, “it’s not for me.”

If it wasn’t for the strong feelings that accompanied these thoughts I may not have chosen to look into the why’s.

A daily yoga and meditation practice helped me observe my thoughts and speech whereas before I would have just continued with my life without considering drawing again.

I started by asking myself; why do I think I cannot draw? Is it true?

Then memories from my childhood and school days came to me; I used to love painting and drawing! My mum was a great facilitator and gave me opportunities to pain and draw on textiles, silk, and other materials. I don’t think I knew how blessed I was.

So how did I go from enjoying to quitting? I’m not sure, and I don’t think that’s so important. But I do think not feeling capable and wanting to be good at everything had a lot to do with it.

Just the thought of filling a canvas with painting or drawing almost made me cry. Whilst I have never had a problem with filling blank pages with ink except, filling pages with colours terrifies me.

So I decided to challenge myself and find out if those thoughts were true or not.

Whilst my Western mind is used to achieving and performing and would have liked to attend a drawing class to learn how to draw, neither did my health allow for this, nor do I think this is a healthy process as it just keeps you in a capable mind set.

I believe in starting where you are with small steps in the right direction.

“When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.”

So next time I found my sketch plan to prepare my kundalini yoga class, I found my drawing pencils and made my plan more colorful. Step one happened.

I told myself it didn’t matter how it looked. I told myself to just have fun and go with the flow.

Then one day I found my sketch pad. And I found my colour pencils. I picked a colour that took my fancy without thinking of the final result or what I wanted to draw.

I started filling a small part of the paper. Then I picked a new colour when I felt like it. And then another. Allowing the shapes to come by themselves. Trusting the process and not desiring a certain outcome. Just truly enjoying drawing and surprising myself by choosing an abstract form.

I was never a fan of contemporary art or abstract art since I didn’t understand it. I didn’t like when art had to be explained. So there was an irony in my choice.

And yet I think it shows how my kundalini yoga practice has shaped my mind set and liberated me from being in my head all the time and having to perform all the time.

It has allowed me to have more fun, and most of all, this process showed me that not only could I draw (I truly believe we all can do most things in life, but I really enjoyed drawing!

So I have decided to play around with my colour pencils and my newly acquired graphic pencils for the sake of having fun. And who knows, maybe the postures in my yoga preparations may look more realistic in the future? My ego is still present.

I encourage you to start listening to yourself next time when you say “I can’t” and really question yourself: is it true? Also notice what’s going on in your body at the same time. Are there emotions like anger or frustration accompanying your thoughts? That’s a sign that there’s a subconscious block that could stop your flow of life.

Then see if you can try it out and check out what’s true. Often we block the very things that we love.

Test your “I cant’s” and see if it takes you to doing instead. But more important than that is that you enjoy what you do.

It doesn’t have to be good:

There is a way through every block

Just enjoy the process.

“It is your birthright to be happy”, says Yogi Bhajan.

Claim it by challenging your thoughts.

Now ask yourself: is there anything I cannot do?..

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