Stop making excuses and start CREATING!

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“To truly become a fulfilled person, be prepared to undergo every kind of trial.  Without the pressure, the fight, the work, it is impossible to transform yourself.  Without the struggle, there is no reward.  We’re all like lumps of coal: If you simply dig the coal from the ground, it’s nature doesn’t change.  You must apply thousands of pounds of pressure to transform into a diamond.” -Karen Berg

How many of you come up with a list of excuses to why you haven’t started something?  It’s too hard, it’s too much work, I don’t have enough time, my kids, my work, the housework…blah blah blah.  STOP!!  Now go write down one goal right now that you have had on your mind.  It could be as simple as wanting to take a cooking class.  Now make a list under that goal of all the steps you need to take to get there.  Time yourself for 5 minutes.  Now every morning get up and do one thing to get you closer to your goal.  That’s it!  Easy.  Don’t overthink things, just do it.  Move.  

Ten years ago, my father left my mom and she was all alone and had to take care of herself.  It was heartbreaking.  We all played the victim role, why?  Because it’s an easy role to play.  We decided to stop that pattern and decided she had to get back on her feet again.  I used to work at a daycare and I knew all the ins and outs of one.  So we started with a small daycare.  It was HARD at first.  There were so many disappointments along the way.  But we had to keep moving, we had no choice.  With time, a lot of work, and patience my mom made her daycare into one of the best daycares in town.  She has a waiting list and the parents and the kids love her.  She transformed her business from that lump of coal into a diamond.

I have observed her along the way and have taken in all that she has done to get there.  Now I am trying to grow my own business.  It is still in it’s toddler stage unlike my mom who has her baby in the double digits (10 years strong).  I am patient though.  I am enjoying the process even with all the challenges and difficulties.  The rewards are so much sweeter in the end when there is a challenge.  So go out there my friend and conquer the world!  Baby steps is all it takes, baby steps.  

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Manifesting your dreams

Sheryl-181I really think you can manifest your dreams. You can manifest your destiny. If you want something hard enough and you’re willing to work for it, I think you can get it. I truly believe that.” – Billy Magnussen

There are no excuses, stop making excuses.  Where are you going with your life?  Is it someplace magical and positive?  If we focus our thoughts on being sick and bad news, guess what??  That is all life will give us.  But if we focus on the good and have gratitude for all that has  been given to us then we will thrive and be given so much more.  It’s not just about making your vision board, it’s about taking action as well.

I remember when I first started painting again my art mentor told me I had to paint 10  paintings.  I just thought “how the hell am I going to do that”.  I could have stopped there and just given up.  I just painted and painted and stopped thinking about what would happen in a week, a month or a year.  I didn’t even know what I was going to do with all those paintings.  I just knew I had to start and get the momentum going.  Over 150 plus paintings later, I am now the artist I always envisioned myself to be and it feels good!  If I didn’t take action then I would not be where I am today.

If you can just spend 10 minutes a day envisioning what you would like your life to be like, do it!  What is it that you have always imagined and dreamed for yourself?  What is holding you back?  Take the time to write them down.  I am a true believer in writing down everything you want to manifest in your life.   I have done it for years and have seen so many of my visions and dreams come true.  I still have a long beautiful list and I encourage you to make one too.  Dig down deep for the gold within and shine baby! Namaste

The BEAUTY of failure

 

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“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

I learned a very big lesson in illustrating a book with an author.  To do my research and educate myself beforehand to know my rights and how to protect my artwork. I should have had a written contract so there was an open line of communication. Well, there was a lot I should have done but failed to do. There is credit for my work in the acknowledgement section in the back of the book but that was not my vision.

I had a vision of my name being on the cover as “Illustrated by: Sheryl Benjy”. But unfortunately, in reality, that did not happen. My mom always asks, “what did you learn from this experience”. I learned so much from this and even though I got burned, I now know what to do if I am faced with this again. That is the beauty of life. We might fail and fail again but we learn through those failures and get right back up to do it again. Success is right around the corner and within our reach, we just need to get past those hurdles.

I am moving on though and I am in the process of illustrating and writing my own children’s book! It will be called Spirit’s Magical Journey. I can’t wait to share it with the world. I don’t think I would have done that had I not gone through this journey. So I thank the author for that and I hope her book is one big success. IT would have been more successful with my name on it but hey, to each his own.

Where have you failed but got right back up? Share your story with me! Would love to hear from you!

Getting Through the Storm

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We were scheduled to do an art and photo shoot on March 5th and as the day approached, I noticed the weather was not looking too good.  There was supposed to be some light showers.  Well, I panicked.  I tried to change the date but there were too many people involved in the process.  It was not an easy task.  I decided to stick with the original plan and date.  It was time for me to let go and just trust the universe and whatever it had planned for me.

We began the day at 10:30am and it was a bit cloudy.  Around noon it started to sprinkle.  My models were getting goosebumps and I started to paint a little faster. We had some cover to protect us but the rain started getting heavier.  The floors were getting slippery.  We all clamored for towels to dry the floors so no-one would slip while doing the beautiful yoga poses.  I was getting nervous but at the same time I was excited.  The adrenaline was coursing through my body.  I knew at that moment that I was meant to be there.  I knew that the rain was testing me to see how devoted I was to my craft.  IMG_1458.JPG

Around 2pm, the rain completely stopped and the sun came shining down upon us as if to say “congratulations, job well done”.  Sometimes in life we see a storm coming and we panic.  Through this process I learned how important it is to stay calm and to be present and in the moment.  To never EVER give up.  That’s when dreams come alive and into reality.  Namaste.IMG_1490.JPG

Breast Cancer Awarenes and Art

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“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.” – Winston Churchill

Yrma was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2014.  Here is her story.  “I was shocked when I received the news since I was leading a healthy life.”  On March 13, 2014 she underwent a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment that left her very weak and sick. But it was not over, she had to undergo five breast reconstructions and in August 2016 she had her last one!  “I was so very happy to finally move on!  This coming March, I am celebrating 3 years cancer free and decided to have my dear friend Sheryl do a body painting in honor of my third year in remission.”

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“One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.” — Nationalbreastcancer.org

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My art focuses on inspiring women.  It’s all about their strength, courage, and their healing process.  I have been part of Yrma’s journey and have seen everything she has gone through.  It is empowering to see how she handled it all with grace and such a positive attitude.  It was an honor to paint her and to bring about awareness through these photos.  Please get screened and do your part to get educated about breast cancer.

Please leave comments. Let me know your story.  How have you or someone you know been affected by cancer?

Don’t let a challenge stop you from reaching your fullest potential.

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“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” — Chantal Sutherland

The picture above shows my gratitude jar that my sister got me as a gift.  I had my family fill it up with notes of what they were grateful for.  I also have a few notes of gratitude in there as well.  Gratitude really puts things in perspective.  One thing I am grateful for at this moment is the fact that I was able to pull off creating a painting a day for the past 1oo days.  As I am finishing up my last painting for this challenge, I have realized a few things:

  1. Practice really does make perfect or almost perfect.  I have seen myself grow as an artist through forcing myself to paint every day.  I no longer had an excuse, no writers, or should I say, painters block here.
  2. Never, EVER, give up!  I am finally learning how to finish what I start, something I always encourage my own children to do.  
  3. Opportunities have shown up that never would have if I had not taken up this challenge.  I think there is something to starting something and an energy in it or a momentum that takes place.  Action always leads to some kind of reward.
  4. There will be easy days, as well as hard days.  It’s inevitable but the key is to keep your eye on the ball, don’t lose focus or go into self doubt.
  5. Don’t ever limit yourself, we are all full of an immense amount of potential!
  6.  Challenges are not easy, that’s why they are called challenges! 
  7. You may inspire someone else and it will lead into a ripple effect of inspiration.

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This is a photo from my recent exhibit at the Chocholate and Art show.  It was quite a night, so many amazing pieces.  A room full of artwork and artists.  My perfect world.

Go out there and challenge yourself to do something different, maybe a little out of your comfort zone.  See what changes it will bring in you, the growth you might experience might expand your world in ways you never imagined.  

The Ripple Effect of Inspiration

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“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even the smallest acts.  This is the secret of success.”-Swami Sivananda

I am witnessing the blooming of inspiration in all those around me.  It is quite magnificent.   My sister once put it so well, it’s like throwing a pebble out there into a pond and seeing a ripple affect.  My husband took the leap to start his own business, my best friend started teaching art to seniors, you can see it in the picture below.  Her mom even started to paint again.

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I am getting such beautiful feedback from the 100 days of painting.  Passion, persistence, desire, and focus, the recipe for making your dreams a reality.  When you put aside your doubt and fear and just take the leap of faith, everything will come around full circle.  

I just finished up an illustration for a spiritual children’s book and when I handed it to the author and she looked through all of them, she had tears in her eyes.  I definitely was not expecting that.  She was so overjoyed that I brought her book to life.  That made my heart smile.  A family member of mine commissioned me to create her business logo.   She just stopped by to show me the cards she made for her doula business, she even made a cute shirt.   She was the one I always looked up to before I started working again.  She also has three kids and eventually she managed to go back to school and become a doula and now she will be teaching other women who want to become doulas. I saw her commitment and passion in what she did and I wanted the same thing.  I have that myself now and every day I am working more and more toward it.  I know you can too!!  Keep inspiring my lovely spirits, keep moving, keep the positive energy afloat.  You never know whose life you might change in the most beautiful way.