Circle of influence.

the-ability

Do you believe me when I say that you, each and every one of you, has the ability, the power, the capability, to change someone’s life. I think this post ties in with words I have mentioned previously, and words I plan on coming back to. This idea, or truth, depending on how you want to look at it, that we have SO much potential already inside of us, all of us, all of you. I mean that so sincerely when I say YOU, there are no exceptions. And yet so many of us don’t even come close to experiencing what that true potential is.

I don’t want to ramble too much, or sound vague, so to try and make clear my point, here is a list, when in doubt, use a list (if you could see my studio/ my diary/ any scrap of paper within 2 feet of me you would understand my obsession (problem) with lists!).

  1. You are an incredible result of nature, of circumstance, of experiences, of days, weeks, months, years, SCIENCE. Your sheer existence in coming into this world is not far from a miracle (if you have any understanding of how much is against you even arriving in the first place, nature is miraculous).
  1. People play a huge part in your life.
  1. Everyone wants and strives for the same thing, they just have different ways of trying to get there, or different ideas of what it means, but what we all want, is, ultimately, to be happy.
  1. You are influenced by your surroundings, whether that be the people you are surrounded by, the places, the weather, the experiences.
  1. Someone, or possibly many people, have helped shape who you are today, be that in a positive or negative way.
  1. Therefore, following from point 5, it is basic maths that you too have had an influence on one, or many, people’s lives.

Considering point 5 and 6, this is my main focus, you may not all realise it, but you have the power to inspire and influence people, each and every day. My wonderful friend Jaq refers to this as our ‘circle of influence’. This is a beautiful and comprehendible way of describing my point. This way of looking at it really helps me. It is so easy to be disheartened by all the misery and seemingly unchangeable things in the world, and feel like you can never make any difference, or aid in any way to all of this. As well as on a personal level, you may feel like you have no control over your life, over the things that happen to you and you feel lost in the situation you are in. But is the other option to do nothing? To not even try?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Instead, why not look at it as every person having their own ‘circle of influence’. Think about how many people you know, or have known, throughout your life, how many people do you speak to throughout the day, or even just pass by on the street, or the person that served your coffee this morning, or your dinner last night etc etc. All these people, friends, foes and acquaintances make up your very own circle. All of those people I have just mentioned have their own circle, so already that is A LOT of people. Once it is broken down like that, it does make black and white sense how many people you can influence throughout your day/ life.

Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects. – Dalai Lama.

Flame.jpg

‘Flame’ 2016 (sold)

Sometimes I find this comes naturally to me, and I see, so clearly, how my attitude, body language etc with every interaction effects the outcome of that interaction. It has an impact on how I feel, my mood, their mood etc. But sometimes, I don’t feel so positive and it is easy to get a bit stuck and mope around and drag others down with you. So that part takes practice, noticing when you are choosing to be negative and spreading that energy around, then practice getting out of that headspace and see how you actually, in most cases, have the power to turn it around.

I like to think of it all as energy. You can either steal energy from people, or you can spread energy every where you go. In an ideal situation, the exchange of energy should be equal, so both people leave the conversation/ interaction feeling equally better than when they started. I’m sure you all know people that either always seem to bring you down, or, on the flip side, I hope you all know someone, or many people, that make you feel amazing after spending time with them. They always appear to be happy, positive, and want the best for you, you feel inspired and energised after just talking to them, and it lifts you up, it brings out the best in you, and therefore they feel good too. So you both leave bursting with positive energy. You may have the idea in your head that they are just naturally always happy, and maybe they are, maybe some people are wired to always lean towards that, (although psychology would say all humans are naturally wired to have a negative bias) OR maybe they try damn hard every single day to choose to be positive, to see the silver lining, to strive to be better and to help others be better. The only reason that everyone isn’t like this, is because it is also the harder route, and we are programmed to see the negative, to be fearful of things, but it has become disproportionate to every day experiences. It takes practice, dedication, and perseverance, but I believe it is a choice. You can make the choice with every situation, every day, each morning, to be grateful for what you have, to be positive about the good things in your life, and look at your problems as a welcome challenge to work through, rather that going about your day/ life feeling sorry for yourself, blaming every one and every thing for your misfortune, and therefore attracting more misfortune and misery into your life.

Look around you, at others, for evidence of how much weight your thoughts and actions have on your life.

img_8159

Often the best, and simplest thing you can do to help someone else, is LISTEN. Actually listen, with your full attention. Which has become something of a virtue in our current world  filled with a million and one distractions, with the depths of social media and the blackhole that is the internet, people have lost sight of the importance of genuine human connection. Many have lost the art of concentration, and of really listening. When you get someone to open up to you, often you don’t even need to say much, unless you have some wisdom to impart, often the most valuable thing you can give them is your time. To feel like someone else cares enough to listen, can be a huge comfort in itself.

I know this may seem like a small, trivial, and inconsequential start in the greater scheme of things. But when the entire world is made up of small moments, with people just like you, if everyone changed those small moments to better moments, THAT would have huge consequences, for the better. The talk below, puts into words a lot of what I am saying, in an inspiring, powerful, beautiful and poignant, way.

 

Thanks again for reading,

Holly

x

twitter: @hollysharpe

http://www.hollysharpe.com

 

Advertisements

BE. inspired.

Sky - Holly Sharpe
‘Sky’ (sold)

Spring is here, and along with that so much light, everywhere, and a strong sense of hope. That is how I feel anyway. I love this time of year, when it feels like anything is possible and each day is getting longer – in Scotland anyway… Hopefully these words are uplifting in some way…. I wrote them on my phone on the bus after meeting a friend who was full of energy and enthusiasm and it made me light up and want to share it.

Let yourself be inspired.
Seek inspiration.
It is everywhere.
Don’t see it? Think your life is boring and the same every day?
That is your mind and the way it has been conditioned to think that life is dull, boring, and unexciting.
Open your eyes. Open your heart, and let in the thing that is always there, it longs to break free and escape the mundane.
All you have to do is change your perspective and see things differently. It all comes from your mind.
Everything you look at will change, if you change your mind.
Walk on the other side of the road.
Drive a different way to work.
Smile at someone.
Start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t usually.
Smile.
Speak like you mean it.
Act like you mean it.
Do everything with more awareness.
If you are more aware you will start to notice even small glimpses of hope, and little opportunities that you don’t even realise you usually walk straight by because you decided that you are stuck and that you don’t deserve better.
If you do even small things and start to change your mind, your heart, and see things differently, I promise you your world will start to open up. Things and people will come your way, if you believe it is possible for things to change, they will.

This is all a practice. It is about breaking long term bad mental habits, like being negative and not seeing opportunities but rather always feeling stuck and like there is no option. And instead to practice building up good mental habits, like choosing to be happy, trying to think with clarity and remember that there is always a solution. Whatever situation you feel trapped in, there will be a solution. It might not be an easy one, but, if you don’t scale the mountain, you won’t see the view….

-Holly
x

http://www.hollysharpe.com
Image from my Instagram

 

Awake.

Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”

  • – Howard Thurman

I wrote the following late last night (Thursday 17th Sept) :

Pretty sure I’ve posted these words online somewhere, if not on here, before. But I have been struck by a strong feeling right now how true this really is. I am not long back from working at an event for UGG doing live illustrations and I feel so happy that it went so well. I also feel so blessed that I get to do something for a living that makes me so happy. It doesn’t all the time… and that is why I felt the need to share this, because sometimes, including earlier today, I can be quite negative, and generally was not feeling too hyped about anything. This in itself is frustrating, but I know having ups and downs is just part of life, and I know everyone feels like this sometimes. I can’t help but think that if you are creative the highs and lows are possibly more extreme….? It just feels near impossible to snap out of it at times. And other times I can’t help but feel over the moon, and it feels like nothing can alter that state… but it always ends at some point.

I think part of the reason it frustrates me is because everything I am trying to learn about meditating and Buddhism is about maintaining, or trying to maintain, a steady, contented balance most of the time… without the rollercoaster. I think I need to accept that if you are creative, this is the nature of it, the nature of us, and maybe it is something I have to embrace. I just wish I could bottle the way I feel right now, and use it all the times when I’m not feeling so optimistic and grateful and generally have lots of energy. I try and remind myself of the times when I feel so happy and elated when I am not feeling so….but it can be so hard to make yourself feel something when you just can’t pick up the energy – I did write a previous post about things that I think can help lift you out of this way here.  My point to all this is, tonight I was reminded that I really do come alive when I get to do something I really love. I was in my element, and any nerves I felt prior to it quickly vanished when I realised this is where I excel. There was loud music on all night. There was lots of people there. And I love meeting new people. And most importantly, I illustrated a LOT of people, mainly girls it has to be said. This being one of my favourite things to do, especially from real life people (as supposed to a photograph). And every time they seemed so delighted with the illustration I did of them, which just continued to boost this high. I know I am extremely lucky to get paid for it on top of all that. Afterwards I felt so pleased, and a tad relieved, that it had gone so well, and I felt so full of energy, which makes it so much easier to pass that energy on, to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life, to smile at strangers, and to generally be able to pass on joy, happiness. I really think when you smile the world smiles with you, but sometimes it feels so hard to be that way, even if you do know it is for the best. So, my probably long winded way of saying it… but I want to pass on this energy, this enthusiasm I feel right now. I want everyone to feel like this, because it is true, if you feel alive, invigorated by something, it is inevitable that you will pass on that feeling, you will inspire people, make friends, people will fall in love with you, you will exude energy. And this therefore can only be a positive thing for you, and via the ripple effect, for the entire world.

So please, if you can, try and find whatever it is that makes you come *alive. I am not telling everyone to quit their jobs, (although I would support that decision if you dread your job every day….) but even if it is something you can do in the evenings, or weekends, or volunteer, or online. It can be a small thing, or a collection of things. And if you don’t know what makes you come alive, keep looking, keep looking and try and give yourself proper space, as in head space, to figure out what makes sense for you. What wakes you up?
Pema Chodron, who I have mentioned before and will no doubt mention again, writes a lot about finding, discovering, (and making space to do so) what wakes you up and what makes you fall asleep.

“We have basic energy coursing through us. Sometimes it manifests as brilliance and sometimes it manifests as confusion. Because we are decent, basically good people, we ourselves can sort out what to accept and what to reject. We can discern what will make us complete, sane grown-up people, and what – if we are too involved in it – will keep us children forever. This is the process of making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us.”

– Pema Chondron – ‘the wisdom of no escape’

I also want to add that what I did tonight was something out of my comfort zone as I have never done anything before where I am actually illustrating live at an event, and for a big company who of course I want to impress and don’t want to let down etc… so needless to say, the pressure was on, and the pressure to create very quick illustrations of lots of people non stop for 3 hours… but like I said, I was in my element. I barely had a chance to look around so I almost had no option but to focus, keep my head in the game and do my best… sink or swim. So my point is, another invaluable feeling is when you are scared, or nervous or anxious about something, and part of you would rather turn back and just stay comfortable, just stay at home and not do that thing that scares you. But what if that thing that scares you goes really well and you not only feel *exhilarated that it has gone well, but you are also filled with more courage and confidence to know that you pushed yourself and you succeeded. And therefore next time maybe it will become easier to push yourself further out of your comfort zone.

And one final point, I had a hectic day all day prior to this event, and nowhere near enough sleep last night, yet I kept going (and trust me I NEED my sleep). And I know we all need sleep and food to keep us going, to sustain us and give us energy, and there is no way I could function with little sleep every day, as that way you are effectively running on adrenaline, and that is not healthy. However, what this did make me realise, is that when you do something that wakes you up, that *invigorates you, in some ways this can feed you far more than anything else could, more than food or sleep.

Phew, as usual I did not intend for this to be so long, so if you read the whole thing – thank you! I promise I did try and edit it down, but that never has been one of my strong points…..

And on a side note, I will try and write a bit about/ share pictures from the actual UGG event… It is on my, permanently long, list of things to do…

Holly
x

*exhilarate
1. To enliven; invigorate; stimulate

*invigorate

1.Give strength or energy to

*alive
2. alert and active; animated.

10393701_774758479298859_2688168017608552104_n

www.hollysharpe.com
https://instagram.com/hollysharpe_drawings/

Channelling energy and emotions through art.

Weightless-final-for-web

‘Weightless’

“There’s such a fetish for happiness these days, it’s as if there’s no place left for being sad. But sadness, in the form of melancholy or even depression, can be a source of creativity. From Hamlet to TS Eliot, it’s the opposite of happiness that more often produces the finest lines” – Robert Rowland Smith

Since a number of people have commented on the fact that a lot of the girls I draw look sad… I thought I would try and offer something of an explanation as to why this might be.

Firstly, I like to think that there is much more depth to my work than sadness, there are layers and complexities, just as in human emotions. Secondly, not everyone may like to read any form of ‘explanation’, because after all it us ultimately up to the viewer, the observer of the work to determine what they see in any piece of art, in any painting, film, book etc, everyone has their unique interpretation of it. So with that in mind, the following is simply an attempt at an analysis of my own work, which I probably won’t do terribly well as that is the reason for creating visual art in the first place… (“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint” – Edward Hopper) So if you like my work as it is and need no further words, but simply like it just because, then please don’t feel the need to keep reading, and also thank you for liking my work in the first place…

Everyone will, or probably already has, experienced deep pain, of the emotional variety I mean. The truth is, in my opinion, is that every human is so very fragile, even if they perhaps don’t admit it to the world, or even to themselves. The more I know of the world and of people, the more I believe this to be true, and I don’t think there are any exceptions. As we grow up we each adapt and learn different ways of coping with this affliction – or many simply don’t cope.

I am definitely not saying that I am solely expressing pain through my work, it is more that I use it to create work. I use pain, but I also use the array of thoughts, emotions, experiences, things out of my control and things that can never be answered, I use all of it. So when someone asks me what inspires me, it is quite tricky to answer, because yes, I am inspired by music, people, colour and nature, but the glue, the fire where this all accumulates and turns into work, is what is inside of me. I struggle to explain this in words properly as it is not as if I sit down and decide to dig up all these feelings etc inside of me, it is just a part of me, and my work is a part of me, whether that is conscious or not I’m not sure, but that is why, of course sometimes the girls in my drawings look sad, because sometimes I am sad, or have been sad. Perhaps that is putting it too simply, because when it happens, it often feels as if I am not even fully in control of it, it is like I have managed to tap into a source within me and sometimes it seems to explode all over the page I am drawing/ painting on. But sometimes I can’t even tap into it, it’s like it isn’t there.

The connection between emotions and creating art is of course not a new one, and should definitely be used to it’s full potential more. If we gave the creative arts even more credit in terms of helping people through stress, depression or ptsd for example, perhaps we could end this battle and stigma which surrounds mental health in the first place.

Alain de Botton, a philosopher I respect a lot (I have probably mentioned him in my blog before!), talks about this idea of art as therapy a lot. I have yet to read it, but here is a link to his book on such matters.

If you don’t feel like reading the book, here is a short video where he touches on the subject, and if you don’t feel like watching the video, here are a couple of my favourite quotes from him in the video:

On art : ‘Illuminating aspects of our deeper selves’

On the purpose of art: ‘To find an echo of our deepest and most complex sorrows …. To help us to live and to die’

Fade-FOR-WEB Almost - print 72 dpi

‘Fade’                                                              ‘Almost’

I have also heard him talk about a word ‘Sublimation’, which my translation of means to channel and use complex emotions within us and turn them into art whether that be visual art, writing, or of course music. He explains it better in his words here:

 “One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer more successfully. … We can see a great deal of artistic achievement as “sublimated” sorrow on the part of the artist, and in turn, in its reception, on the part of the audience. The term sublimation derives from chemistry. It names the process by which a solid substance is directly transformed into a gas, without first becoming liquid. In art, sublimation refers to the psychological processes of transformation, in which base and unimpressive experiences are converted into something noble and fine — exactly what may happen when sorrow meets art.”

Perhaps there is a more specific word for what I am referring to. Whatever you want to call it, it is extremely powerful. It can propel you through the hardest times, it can force you to keep on working, keep on pushing, in a way these are the best times for creating your best work. When you get too comfortable and have no worries about life, relationships, or money matters, where is the drive? Where is the force keeping you aiming, striving.

I am a generally a positive person, and I try to find ways to maintain this – a balanced lifestyle, yoga, meditation etc. But in this troubled world, – which there is no denying is what it is, you don’t have to look very far to see so – there are always going to be days or weeks when you feel negative and struggle to stay motivated and upbeat. No one is happy all the time, and if they say they are they are either 1. Lying 2. In denial (i.e lying to themselves) or 3. Have managed to reach enlightenment (nirvana) and nothing bothers them anymore. If, you are like most people, and your day to day life is filled with ups and downs, if you have not yet found that something, or things, that help you channel this into something powerful, I encourage you to find out where and what it is. Once you can use this energy for something positive, it makes it a whole lot easier to pull yourself out of a negative space.

And on that note, I want to add that I feel extremely lucky to have this thing that I feel like I can always turn to, and that will always be there, I don’t think I will ever stop creating and that alone brings me great comfort.

Thanks again for reading,

Holly

http://www.hollysharpe.com

twitter: @hollysharpe

Shadows Limited Edtion FOR WEB
‘Shadows’