If you’re subscribed to my newsletter, you know I’ve been on a journey to reconnect with myself. Through sharing my shame, my secrets, my darkness and showing up not just for myself but letting myself be seen by others, I’ve been facing my fears and realizing they come from stories from my past that I learned to believe and see as truth. I realize those stories are not my truth because they’re not really who I am. They’re just stories collected from experiences and what others have told me. I have the power to write new ones and create a new truth and reality for myself.

Going through this journey and getting in touch with my true self has led me to seeing my life’s purpose, my life’s path, unfolding. Seeing your purpose is an interesting experience. You start seeing bits and pieces of it. You don’t hear it in words but in feelings and images. It’s reaching for the unknown, unsure where your path is leading you, but somehow trusting in it. Your old stories and fears are still there. They’re always there but they get quieter and your gut becomes stronger. You trust your gut and keep moving forward. Once in a while, when you take a big leap, the fears come raging back. It’s paralyzing. It’s a knot in your chest that doesn’t go away and then you start hearing your old story again. I’m not good enough. I will fail. I’m not good enough. I will fail. It pushes you off your path. But you work through it. You use your new knowledge, your new strength, and whatever tools you’ve learned to use to get through it until you see the path again.

My whole journey has felt like this. Getting a spark of an idea, a vision and following it. Letting it guide me without knowing what it was, instead of letting my fears and old story paralyze me.

I just finished reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love how she talks about ideas and creativity. She argues ideas are alive as little forms of energy floating all around us, waiting for us to open up if even for a second to come into us so we could manifest them. She writes,

“I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.”

When I think back to all the times I’ve been inspired, creative and been in touch with my true self I would get ideas, sparks of creativity, like a flash. It almost felt as if they entered me from nowhere and gave me a burst of energy—an urge to create. I would have a hard time getting these urges out of my body until I did them. I used to describe these urges as ‘horrible’ until a wise friend told me they were not horrible but divine. After reading Gilbert’s description of them, I see what she meant and agree. I believe they are gifts from the universe that take us somewhere beyond ourselves, beyond what we think we’re capable of. Gilbert argues if we don’t attend to these energies of inspiration, they eventually leave us and enter someone else.

My whole journey has felt like this. Getting a spark of an idea, a vision and following it. Letting it guide me without knowing what it was, instead of letting my fears and old story paralyze me. Some of these urges told me…

Reach out and connect to other women, even the ones you don’t really know. I listened.
Start a newsletter to share your shame. I listened.
Go deeper. Share it all. I listened.

And as I listened, I kept seeing and feeling things. I had visions.

I saw myself in a studio space with a small group of women, sitting in a circle.
I saw myself speaking to audiences and envisioned myself giving a Ted Talk.
I saw myself owning a building where my studio lived but also in that building were offices filled with women whose paths crossed mine while on my journey. We were all living our life’s purpose and there was amazing energy, support and connection which helped propel all of us forward.  

They were bits and pieces of imagery and I didn’t know what they meant or what the big picture was but I trusted them. I wrote all these down as intentions in November of last year. I know I have more than one purpose. We all do. They evolve with our life experiences, our life lessons so I see all these things as evolving purpose.

The first vision of the studio with a small group of women is manifesting itself as my I Matter program. Going through my journey helped me find the tools and knowledge to walk towards my path. I realized that by incorporating my portraits, which capture a woman’s true inner self, into the journey I’ve been on, I’ve organically created a program to provide women with a way to go on their journeys too. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve been through since late 2016 when I realized women’s portraits was my calling, of everything I’ve been through in my life thus far, of all the pain I’ve experienced… All of it has empowered and prepared me for this program. But there’s more work to do because there’s still a lot of fear and I don’t know exactly how it’s going to come together. But I’m trusting my gut and moving forward on the densely foggy trail towards my dreams.

When I first started working on building my portrait business, I looked for a notebook to write all my ideas, my fears, resources, and whatever had to do with following my calling. It took a while but I found a notebook that had on its cover:

Attract what you expect. Reflect what you desire. Become what you respect. Mirror what you admire.

It was perfect. Not just the quote but it was aqua toned with gold lettering—my favorite colors and tones I used for my photography business. In an attempt to find similarly inspiring notebooks for the five future participants of I Matter, I went looking for notebooks one evening. I found some, each with writing on it, but felt that old fear take over as I walked towards the cash register. I was taking the first real step to make my program a reality. What if I fail? What if I can’t do it? What if no one wants to be in it? What if I fail? What if I fail? What if I fail? I kept hearing my old story and feeling that familiar knot in my chest so I came home empty handed. I told my husband what happened and he listened quietly, offering no opinion, until I told him what each notebook said. When I came upon the one that said, “snap out of it babe, you’ve got a world to take over” he stopped me and asked me if I realized what it said. I thought it over and knew he was right. He told me to go back right away to buy the notebooks and I did. Despite my fear. And I felt better once I did.

Now I have four notebooks and I believe each is intended for a specific woman whose identity I don’t yet know. Each notebook will resonate with a woman and will inspire her every time she sees it as she embarks on her journey with me. The notebooks are…

Snap out of it babe, you’ve got a world to take over.
The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
Make today ridiculously amazing.
Life is beautiful.

I’ve only got four notebooks so far and am still looking for the fifth. Right now I don’t know who these four women are but I know I have to find the fifth notebook in order for it to find its intended owner. But I’m not worried. I’ll find it.

Could this all just be coincidence? Could I just be injecting meaning into something that has no meaning? Of course. I believe in science. But everyday we inject meaning and look for things to validate who we think we are and what we believe of others and the world. “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them,” Gilbert writes in Big Magic. View the world as a scary, untrusting place and that’s what you will see. Believe people are inherently good and trustworthy and that’s what you will witness. Because we pay attention to specific things to validate our beliefs, what we pay attention to creates our reality. I remember when my husband and I were dealing with infertility. All of a sudden we were seeing babies everywhere as painful reminders of what we couldn’t have. But were there really more babies in our world or did we create that reality by focusing on them? So instead of rationalizing and explaining things away to science, I choose to believe. I choose to believe I picked up that notebook with the saying “snap out of it babe” for a reason. I choose to believe each book is already intended for someone and I will find the fifth one. I choose to believe I will find these women or they will find me when the time is right. I choose to believe my program will happen and positively impact women’s lives, including my own. I choose to believe this is not just about me but something bigger. I choose to believe I grew up silenced, believing I had no voice so that when I found it, it would be powerful. Finding your purpose is about choice. It’s about choosing to create your own reality and beliefs and having faith in them. Just like happiness is a choice. Just like not giving into your fears is a choice. And so, I choose to believe I am in touch with the universe and it’s guiding me towards my purpose. So I will snap out of it. I will listen.