Last week I traveled to NYC to speak at the I Am Courage NYC event. I adore NYC and I absolutely loved this speaking gig.
(Totally wearing my joy in my yellow clogs and funky pencil skirt/dress)
I spoke about an idea that I think a lot about. The idea of unlearning our way back to our original brilliance.
I believe we come into the world brilliant. We arrive here as newborns, but we are full of wisdom. Original wisdom. And we are full of light. Original, breathtakingly magnificent light. Original brilliance.
And because we are on Earth, we learn how to be humans. And the human experience involves light and dark. We arrive with our light, but we learn so many things along the way that inevitably begin to contain our original brilliance. It starts early. The big humans who love us little humans want to keep us safe and secure and stable. And so it begins. The rules, the containers, the inevitable teachings that begin to dim our original brilliance. It’s subtle, but it starts when we are little people: Boys play with trucks. Girls play with dolls. And then as we get older: Don’t get too big for your britches. In order to belong, you gotta fit in. And the rules continue as we move into young adulthood: You can’t make a living as a creative. Money doesn’t grow on tress. And even more as we get older: You should get married, have kids, and buy a house.
That original brilliance that we came here with? It just keeps getting dimmer and dimmer.
And now your original essence isn’t just dim, it’s contained. You’re in a dimly lit room now. The heavy curtains are closed, the walls are high, unreachably high. And you are tiny, small. And you are confused, too. Didn’t I follow all the rules? Why do I feel unseen, unfulfilled?
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This is exactly where I found myself on the cusp of 30 years old. The walls of my own room were constructed on all the rules I learned and lived by, the ones that kept me safe yet uninspired. The heavy curtains were draped with all of my gremlins: Who are you to think you can get out of here and create a new life? Who are you to think you can make art? Who are you to think you can want what you want?
But one day, when a friend asked me to do something impossible – train for a half marathon – a saw a tiny sliver of light coming through the curtains. It beckoned me. Like a whisper. I got curious. I hesitantly walked to the window and peeked through the crack in the curtains.
Cracks. That’s how the light gets in. We’ve all heard this over and over again.
And it’s true. That tiny sliver of light through the curtains was the beginning of my way back to my own original brilliance. I opened the curtains. I felt the warmth, the light. It felt like a remembrance. Like an awakening. And it was.
I ran the half-marathon. And then I was onto something: what else can I do that I was told I couldn’t do? What other stories and rules can I unlearn? And that’s when art entered my life, and the rest is history.
My journey back to my original brilliance is an ongoing spiritual journey. It has required me to not only open those curtains further and further, but to dismantle each and every story and rule that I’ve learned along the way. Not only do the curtains need to open, but the walls need to be taken down, slowly buy surely.
Because our brilliance isn’t meant to be contained. It’s meant to be a light.
That’s why we’re here. We came in with our original brilliance and our job as adults is to unlearn our way back to that original brilliance so that we can be a gift to this world. So that we can light up our little corner of the planet that we inhabit.
The magic of being a grown up happens when we can stay in a place of remembrance of that original brilliance while also navigating the human experience. That’s when we can make a our choices from a place that will only illuminate our brilliance, and not diminish it. Our yeses and nos and our internal dialogue and our conversations with our children. All of it matters in this quest to awaken and remember. Does it honor our or their original brilliance or not? Does it create a container for our/their brilliance or not? Am I consciously unlearning the rules and the stories that diminish my/their brilliance or not?
Our choices get clearer and clearer the more we invite back in our own clarity of light.
And friends, it’s never been more clear: The world needs our collective light. Our collective original brilliance.
Go and shine. Unlearn and shine. Unlearn and shine.
And that’s what I spoke about in NYC. Unlearning our way back to our most authentic essence.
I loved it! And I hope to do more speaking. It feels like a completely new way of expressing all that I express in my paintings. Feels good.
PS: This new painting is totally inspired by all that I spoke about. May it inspire you on your quest back to your original brilliance. xo
PPS: Here’s a quick time-lapse showing the above piece being painted for my Kelly Rae Unscripted series. For those of you who want to receive weekly painting videos from me, be sure to sign up over here!