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Lost and Found

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.“ -Thomas Merton

By Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17Published 3 months ago 6 min read

Who had I become?

I was having an authenticity crisis. I sat in the audience at what would be my last network marketing conference for the company I was partnered with.

My body was having a reaction. I felt anxiety rushing through every single cell. My heart was beating so fast and I felt like I was suffocating. I’d had this feeling before when I was living somewhere that was not in resonance and dating a man not aligned with me. I was in complete disharmony in this moment and I recognized it from similar situations. My body was rejecting what was being said on stage. I felt nothing but conflict-ion coursing through my veins.

I had worked so hard on healing codependency the last couple of decades and here I was listening to a leader on stage teaching from codependency. I cringed. Everything she was teaching to be was everything I had worked so hard to overcome and heal within myself. She was teaching conformity. She was not teaching how to be yourself in any way.

I leaned over to my teammate. “I’m going to go to the bathroom.”

I walked out of the conference with levels of anxiety I had not experienced before. My body was rejecting what was being taught. It was the opposite of my truth and I had to get the fuck out of there and fast. I had to get as far away as I could to breathe and gain perspective.

I pushed the door open and exited the building and began walking fast. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew I had to get away from there.

I walked faster and faster and the farther I got from the conference the more easily I could breathe. I walked so many blocks I had no idea how far I’d gone before I found my way into a juice bar. I ordered a juice and sat on one of the cushy chairs. I sunk down deep into it and let it envelope my lost Soul.

What the fuck was I doing? This is not who I am? All they teach in this industry is duplication and following? I had gotten so far away from the truth of who I was I didn’t even recognize myself. My identity was covered in masks. It was covered in masks that I had created by following people who had more money than I did. Because I believed they knew what was best for me. But all that was happening for the six years I followed them and learned from them and tried to emulate them was me destroying my own being.

I had lost my sense of self. I sat and started creating digital art from my phone. I started to breathe and lose myself in the creation process and suddenly I called back to my memory my very favorite quote by Thomas Merton, “Art enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.” In that moment I was living the quote returning back to the truth of who I am. That day I lost myself in that juice bar (in a good way) by creating digital art and through the process I started to find my way back to me.

I reflected back on the six years that my words had become other people's words and not my own. I reflected back on how my social media was filled with posts “duplicating others” in the network marketing business and not anything about who I am or how I want to creatively express myself. Copy and pasted posts that were completely inauthentic and void of who I believe I’m here to be.

I sat in the juice bar and created digital art for two hours and never went back to the conference. That would be the last conference I ever attended.

One of the things some of the millionaires used to always say to me was this,”When you become a millionaire you can do art all day long.” I took this to heart, and was working towards my financial goals. But I hadn’t created art in so long I was dying a slow and painful death. It felt like someone had cut my air off.

I asked myself this question,”What If you died 6 months from today? And your last six months on Earth all you did was three way calls, post copied and pasted posts that weren’t your words on social media, managed your Facebook group of product users and business builders, and attended conferences? Is that how you’d want to spend your time?”

The answer was no.

I heard those words again, “When you become a millionaire you’ll be able to do art all the time.”

I said to myself, “Nah. I want to do art all the time right fucking now. That’s how I want to spend my time. That’s who I am. That’s what brings me joy. That’s my lifeline.”

I had just started creating digital art and content about four months earlier. I majored in art (trained in painting) and I found my way to the world of apps. I started studying apps and learned 3 new ones per week, not knowing where this would lead at that time but now looking back I realize it was the catalyst to get me out of that industry. I would just make digital art late at night and it would soothe me.

A couple of months later, my roommate was talking to a guy that owned a marketing company and was telling him about my content creation skills. He asked to see some of my work and after I showed him he hired me for an underground project.

That month I made $5k on that project. That was the same amount of money I made in my best month of network marketing, except in NM I worked more hours and did not enjoy the work I was doing. The content creation work was so fun to me it didn’t even feel like work. Shortly after that a media company hired me to create for them too. It was a breath of fresh air to use my creativity.

While I don’t really create a whole lot of digital art now, the digital art and content creation led me back to my true self. Fast forward three years from that mental breakdown in that conference. I started working in an art studio and started painting every single day. Now I paint about 30 hours a week. Now I write on a regular basis. Now I’m in hula hoop dance teacher training. Now I'm full of creative expression.

I think what I’ve learned most about through the contrast of living from a false self to dissolving it all until all that’s left is the truth is this…

No one knows what I need more than I do. No one can unlock the truth of your Soul more than you yourself. I had to turn off the noise and follow the pull to discover it though.

I had to come back to my body and listen to what it was telling me.

I am not a millionaire. And I have more joy than I’ve ever had and each moment I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing. I am me and I am free. I get to be the artist of my life painting my reality in whatever way I choose.


About the Creator

Jennifer Lancaster @jenergy17

Multidimensional Creative-preneur

Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Artist, Writer. Formerly in restaurant business for 3 decades. Soul expression is my ❤️ language. Spirituality,music, art, food and creativity fuel my life. IG @jenergy17

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