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.

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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

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twitter: @hollysharpe

http://www.hollysharpe.com

 

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Hello May.

May
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rom my Instagram.

May is here.

Definitely one of my favourite months of the year, usually anyway. But let’s say it will be again, because it is always best to try and start of the month (or 6 days into the month…) on a positive note!

So, happy May everyone! I have NO idea where the rest of this year has evaporated to so far, but that’s ok, because today is a new day, and a new start. So here’s to embracing change, embracing the speed at which life races by, and letting go to the pressure of feeling like you aren’t in control of that. Here is to trying to not resist anything, and to being open and with a love filled heart to everything, and everyone, that comes into your life. Because I am fast believing that is the best way to be, but it takes practice for sure.

April was a good month for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the three workshops I did, thank you so much to everyone that came to them! It really was so wonderful to meet so many lovely new people, and of course be amongst creative people. I am pretty sure all the workshops went well and everyone that came enjoyed themselves, so I will definitely try and do some more later in the year. I also continued with my plan, alongside the fashion illustration workshops, to do as many new fashion drawings as I could. I learnt a lot from this, and the whole process, almost re-learning what works best for me, and what materials I like etc… Needless to say I didn’t do as many as I wanted to… and am still trying to finish a few of them, and working on a few that I have enlarged from small sketches to A2 size drawings… I hope to round it all up soon and post them online when I have the time, oh time!

Anyway, here’s to new beginnings! May they be bright and adventure filled for you all!

Holly

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Change the world by changing yourself.

Hope

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently. And about compassion. Not quite related I guess. Which is to say: I’ve been thinking (or over-thinking) a lot recently. Not much new there really.

I feel like as time goes on, and life seems to throw bigger decisions at you, sometimes it is so hard to know what is the right direction. What is the “right” way to be. What is the “right’ thing to do. I don’t think there is ever one answer to any of these questions. And one thing I think which is useful to remember, (re my post about comparing yourself) is that we are all so different. Each and every person is unique. That’s 7 billion complete and utter individuals living on this planet (don’t get me started on what is beyond this planet, as that is a little too mind blowing). If I’m honest, that fact alone completely over shadows any worries or concerns I had in my own little world. And instead I find myself in awe of this overwhelming miracle which is actually a fact.

With a decent dose of my usual tangents, I will try to get back to what I think my overall point is… For quite a few years now I have taken it upon myself to learn more about yoga, Buddhism, and meditation. I have a whole array of thoughts on them all, which I will for the most part leave aside for another day, in another post/s. But what I do want to say, is that when you feel in doubt, when you are confused and questioning whether you are in the right job, or at the right place in your life or whatever it is you are (constantly) questioning. One thing you can be sure of, in my opinion, is to work on bettering yourself. Now that of course means something different to everyone. However there are probably a few core things which most would surely agree on, such as trying to be a good person, trying to treat others without judgment and without criticism. Trying to be healthier, to treat you body and mind with the respect and love it so deserves, and encouraging others to do the same.

They are just a couple of things which I think most people would feel happier if they tried to improve on them, and for most people there is always some room for improvement within those areas. And I think that once you are focusing on these things, in time the rest will start to fall into place, because your whole outlook will be more positive and with more clarity. I want to try and make my point with a ‘story’ or whatever you would like to call it, which one of my wonderful yoga teachers, Laura, recently shared with us. It was written by an Unknown Monk, in 1100 AD and reflects that we can only change ourselves –

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

This really said something to me, because I think it is so true. This ‘ripple effect’ of passing good intentions and good energy, but by starting with yourself, makes so much sense to me, and is a lot easier to feel like perhaps you could in fact help change something, rather than feeling helpless and overwhelmed by the state of the world if you start thinking about changing the entire world yourself.

And just to round this up, perhaps on a slightly too cheesy note for some, here are some words which perhaps a lot of you already know, but it’s a nice one to remember:

Promise yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past, and press on to the greater achievements of
the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living
creature you meet.
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy
to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud
words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true
to the best that is in you.

The Optimist Creed

By Christian D. Larson 1912

Hope you enjoyed my post, thanks again for taking the time to read it!
– Holly

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Why not to compare yourself to others.

Ben Lomond
Me and Ben Lomond last year ^

Social media is a great thing in many ways, and I use it for my work a lot and it has helped me a lot. However, it also has a LOT of negatives. It is crazy how much time people spend wishing away their lives scrolling through Facebook etc. Aside from time wasting, the main issue I have with it, and have heard discussed here and there is the envy and jealousy it creates. Wishing you looked like someone else, wishing you lived somewhere else, wishing you had the fame or life of someone else. We, as humans, are naturally compelled to get carried away and indulge in these feelings of wanting and wishing. Which does nothing and doesn’t help anyone. What we need to remember, is that everyone’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc, is a tiny, tiny, edited version of their life or work. Everyone has ups and downs, rainy days and grumpy days, yet their social media profiles probably don’t represent this. As much as it is important to have aims and goals we want to get to, it is also crucial that we don’t spend our lives saying ‘when I have this’ or once I have done this, or live here, or have lost this weight or have this much money, I’ll be happy, and instead remember to pay attention to what we already have, rather than always looking forwards. Otherwise you might wake up one day and wonder where your life actually went.

And on a side note, it is always best to assume that Photoshop HAS been used on most celebrities/ models in most pictures you will see in most places, because it usually has.

I don’t know where I read this the other day, but it said, ‘Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle’. I think this puts it quite succinctly. It is completely futile to compare your ‘success’, your journey, or whatever, to someone else’s. Think about it, there have been so many points already throughout your life when one small decision affected a big change. So much is up to chance, hurdles you faced in your personal life that they didn’t, priorities you chose that they didn’t. Alain de Botton touches on this idea, and puts it across a whole lot better than I ever could in his extremely watchable (/listenable) TED Talk here.

My ideas on and behind this blog, and the majority of my posts on social media have a positive thread, or should do, throughout. This is intentional as this is how I want to come across, this is how I want to inspire and engage others, it is also how I want to be more of the time. (Having said this, a few people have pointed out that a lot of the girls in my illustrations looks sad, -blog post coming on that point soon.. – so maybe this counteracts all of this anyway…?) However, I wanted to share these words with you to make sure it is understood that my career, my situation is not always rosy. Perhaps it can comes across as if it is when I post about this commission or this break through or another ‘uplifting’ quote. But I wanted to make sure that people know I am human too, I have ups and downs like everyone else. Creating art is one of my coping mechanisms for sure. As is yoga, and people, of course. It is hard to remember that a lot of people that follow me and my work, don’t actually know me, or have never met me. So it is hard to know how people picture you if they only have written words and posted pictures to go by…

Anyway, point is, we are all only human, doing the best we can do and that is all we can do.

Thanks again for reading,
Holly

And if you would like to follow me on the aforementioned social media, here’s the links:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr.