It’s all in the labels!

For years now I’ve joked, in the half fun — full serious kind of way, that my motto in life is, “When in doubt, go back to school!”

One of the times I went back to school was around 1999-2000 when I began an on-going study of Ericksonian hypnotherapy. It was fascinating, and just a bit difficult to explain. Let’s just say that it does not, these days, involve someone swinging a big pocket watch in front of your eyes, though it is generally relaxing, sometimes to the point of sleeping while learning.

Here’s one of the coolest things I learned…

Our bodies react in specific, predictable ways to emotional responses generated by our experiences. It’s a lot like the classic Pavlovian study of conditioning dogs to drool when they hear a bell ring by ringing bells every time they get fed.

(It’s worth noting that Newfoundlands, being exceptional in many ways, do not need to be conditioned to drool!)

Anyway, consider routine, manageable (not overwhelming) anxiety and excitement. For most of us, the physical reactions are the same. Increased heart rate. Sweaty palms. Butterflies in our bellies. You’ve been there.

Oddly, it’s the context of those reactions that causes us to label our feelings as either anxiety or excitement.

For example, if, like some people I know, you have recently encountered water in your basement and it’s supposed to start raining again, the sweaty palms, butterflies, and racing heart are probably anxiety.

If you’re getting on a plane to go visit your fabulous grandkids, those same symptoms are probably excitement.

Unless, of course, you’re afraid of flying, which might mean they are both anxiety and excitement.

Are you with me? The labels make a difference.

Well, I’m kind of in all these places at once right now.

After my recent graduation from Color of Woman and my nifty new membership in the Intentional Creativity Guild, I (predictably) went back to school, fortified by one of my words for this year. Learning. And it’s all happening right now!

New people to paint with. New workshops to prepare for. A video to make. New classes beginning. A new responsibility or two.

Oh, another thing about many of us is that the notion of “new” often activates the anxiety/excitement dance.

I’m going with excited. (Well, making the video may have been the exception!)

It feels a bit like the first day of Middle School. New teachers everywhere. Classrooms to find. Lists of supplies. Different kids in each class.

Middle School turned out pretty well, though. Well, on a relative scale!

And my new year of this Intentional Creativity journey has more art supplies than Middle School did, and way less math! Nobody cares if my clothes are spattered with paint. And it’s hard to have “un-cool” shoes if you mostly go barefoot!

I’m even experimenting with color coding my calendar so I don’t get lost. It’s all about living the things I’m passionate about, which is way different than I remember Middle School being!

Collage is also involved, which is big fun!

Today, the Legendary Husband and I are off to a lunch date and then to Michaels for 48×60 inch canvases. Three of them. (I’m hoping they’ll all fit in the car at once!) Then laundry and more bone broth. Plus paint videos and the next steps on Mamaw’s Farm.

Yep, I’m excited!




Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach

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