Take Back Your Life!

Be A Bad Ass Artist

July 8, 2017 by Giulietta Nardone

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. ~  Sir Cecil Beaton

Like many people, I have seen Wonder Woman at the movie theater. I’d watched some episodes of Wonder Woman when it was a TV show starring Lynda Carter and knew it was based on a comic book character created in 1941 by psychologist and inventor of the lie detector William Moulton Marston. Early feminists and a lover that lived with Marston and his wife provided inspiration.

It was fun to see a woman other than Angelina Jolie be a fearless bad ass. My favorite scene was the one where WW/Diana bursts into No Man’s Land, while the men are cowering in the WW I trenches.

Wonder Woman took a risk because she didn’t have another choice that sat well with her. She showed those around her how to get over their own fears and take action.

Some artists — and I’m grouping all kinds of creatives in here — can get frightened to try something new, especially if they are getting “the applause.” They get used to the applause or think they need the applause and get scared to deviate from the kind of work that gets the applause — even if they are bored to tears with their own work.

Creatives might consider challenging themselves more often. Trying a different medium if they are painters, a different genre if they are writers, a different story architecture if they are screen writers.

Otherwise, they can get stale and uncreative. Almost turning into a robotic creative, or even a non-creative. Sure, they might still get the applause, but inside are they feeling “on fire”? Are they pushing themselves in new ways into new territory?

When I was pursuing a graphic design certificate, I tried something new for every project. For some reason, I kept thinking in my novice design head, “I don’t want all my designs to look the same.” About a month ago, someone contacted me about a logo design project. The first thing he said was, “All your logos look different.”

For me that was a neat compliment! Sometimes I look at other designer’s portfolios and immediately notice how similar all the logos look. Similar fonts and flourishes and symbols.

Yes, it takes a bit more energy to keep trying new things. It would be easier to get lazy and do the same thing over and over. If I did that, I’d feel lazy, not creative.

Take a look at your own creative endeavors. Is the applause keeping your from venturing out into new territories? Are you playing it safe or taking a risk? Are you still in love with your own art, music or crafts?

Muse Thx, G.

ps Check out my new upcoming painting program, Get Over Your Painting Fears. Click HERE for more info.

Live At The End Of Your Comfort Zone

May 15, 2017 by Giulietta Nardone

In May, I went to the memorial services for a fine young man who died too young in a motorcycle accident.

As grieving friends and family got up to speak about the contributions he made to the world around him, the same refrain kept coming up. He was known for saying, “Live At The End Of Your Comfort Zone” and by all accounts lived his life that way.

It is indeed a fabulous way to live your life. A way to feel alive and enjoy every morsel life has to offer.

I wish more people adopted that creed of living. Instead, most of us are terrified to leave the comfort zone we draw around us at an increasingly early age.

My grandfather came to the US from Italy at 17, to find a better life. Alone, he worked hard, saved money, opened his own company and paid for the passage of many of his family and cousins. That took courage and guts!

Today, I think he would be talked out of doing that, which would be a shame.

We are all so concerned about living safely, that we have forgotten how to live at all.

Sometimes to live a life with meaning, you have to live what others might call dangerously.

Dangerously might mean travel or it might mean challenging the status quo. Or talking to strangers. Or standing up for the defenseless. It can mean physical danger or it can mean emotional or financial danger.

The men and women who have successful companies usually put everything they owned on the line to get their business up and running. They knew that taking that risk was the only way to get where they wanted.

How often do we have the courage to tell someone what we really feel? We say, “Oh, it is nothing.” When it is anything but that. If you think about it, sharing your feelings isn’t that big of a deal, but we’ve turned it into something huge, something we should not do. And it has serious consequences down the road.

I entered life living dangerously, forging streams, climbing small hills, exploring the woods, expressing myself, telling the truth about how I saw things. Today, kids are pretty much  forbidden from doing the childhood activities I took for granted. Life has inherent risks, my husband always says, “It is the price of admission.”

There is a quote by Charles Lindbergh, “A life without risks, is a life not worth living.”

Ask yourself, do you live a safe life, do you live a dangerous life or do you live something in between?

And is that okay with you? Is there anything you long to do, but do not because you are afraid to venture out of your cozy comfort zone?

Muse thanks, Giulietta

ps, in honor of this fine young man, I have started a painting called, “Live at the end of your comfort zone.”

pps, if you want to write, please join me in July for Writing Under The Stars. If you child would love to paint whatever they wish, please have them join me for Wild Expressive Painting for Children.

 

 

 

Refuse To Live A Boring Life

February 26, 2017 by Giulietta Nardone
“Boredom is a pleasing antidote for fear.”  ~ Daphne du Maurier

A lot of American appear to be bored, especially in the work arena. Studies report that 70% of Americans are not engaged with their jobs. Just long, long days spent getting to 5 or 6. The lives most of us are encouraged to follow don’t have a lot of purpose or meaning. Buy that next “simon says to buy” thing. Get that next bigger thing. Shop for that even next bigger, bigger thing.

My twenties were filled with boredom. There I was young and attractive with the world at my youthful fingertips, yet everything bored me. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t know how to take a hobby and pursue it. Sure, I went to the gym to work out so I’d look good, but doing something because it felt good, because it made me want to get up in the morning. That didn’t exist.It wasn’t until I hit my mid-thirties and began taking acting classes and singing at karaoke clubs that I sparked back to life. Finally, I had a purpose! (more…)

Ruby Slippers, Anyone?

February 15, 2017 by Giulietta Nardone

Hello there,

This is a post I wrote back in March 2008 when I was blogger for the month at Skirt! Magazine. That was near the beginning of the blogging craze.

Thought you might get something out of it!

Thanks, G.

~

Ruby Slippers, Anyone?

I enjoy writing essays because they force me to reveal my vulnerable side not only to the reader, but also to myself. Back in my late teens and twenties, I often felt trapped behind a locked emotional door. I’d bang, bang, bang on that little windowpane hoping somebody, anybody would unlock it, but no one ever did. Knuckles bruised and bleeding, I’d slump down against the door and wonder, “Is anyone ever going to rescue me?”

Many life experiences later, I discovered that the only person powerful enough to rescue me from behind that door was Giulietta. That I have always been the heroine of my own life.

And so have you.

You see, the “theys” don’t want us to know that each one of us has a pair of ruby slippers tucked away in a locked room. Special designer shoes capable of transforming our tentative womanistas into confident, powerful heroines who can leap tall solar-powered shopping carts in a single glass pump bound. The “theys” prefer we shuffle around with our heads down waiting to be rescued by a bouquet, a mate, a job title, a compliment, a new hair color. (more…)

Dive Into Life. Take Risks. Be Foolish.

February 8, 2017 by Giulietta Nardone
   “Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.”
~ Cher.”


My husband and I went to an Isley Brothers concert in RI a few weeks ago. It was great. I loved seeing folks in their 60’s and 70’s just singing and playing their hearts up there. For some of the tunes, we got up and danced in our tiny seat area. Interestingly enough, this wasn’t a big dancing crowd. In my twenties, I would have felt foolish doing this without a dance floor, but now I was like, “who cares?”I’d love to see a National Be Foolish Day. Yes, I know we have April Fool’s but that is about playing pranks on folks. This about doing something yourself that makes you feel emotionally naked in some way. Like just start dancing in the middle of the supermarket. Or walk up to folks and say, “I love life!” (If you do..)When I walk around the block, I sometimes do twirls or fancy footwork just so I can act a bit foolish. Once I got foolishness out of the way, it was easier to do the things I wanted in life. Easier to get that voice in my head to “be quiet already.”Speaking of that voice in my head, until I was 25 I thought I was the only one with someone else living up there. I thought I was crazy. Then, my sister and I were visiting a friend from another country here to learn English and she gave us a tour of her apartment. In her bedroom, I noticed a cross over the bed and said, “What’s that for?””Oh, the voice in my head tells me to reach up and touch it every night or something bad will happen.”I said, “Wait, you’ve got a voice in your head, too?” (more…)

Be Brave With Your Life

October 12, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

Be Brave With Your Life

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. ” ~ Winnie The Pooh.”

Recently, I got two confident little kittens: Cleopatra and Spartacus. They are quite small, but that doesn’t stop them from exploring every inch of their new home and jumping to new heights every day.

When we first brought them home, they attempted to jump on the bed, making it about halfway. I’d un-cling them from the sides and help them up. Each day, they made it a little bit higher until they could get up on their own.

Today, I found Spartacus way up on the pinball machine and have no idea how this tiny kitten managed to get up there.

Clearly, he jumped. Even Cleopatra was looking at him trying to figure out how she could get up there as well.

They love to try new things, jump to new heights, tightrope across dressers and bureaus, often falling down between the sides. Sometimes, I find them clinging to the sides, other times they fall down and meander out the bottom like nothing ever happened. A few times I’ve seen them fall all the way down. They just pick themselves up and gallop down the hallway.

The kittens don’t know that they are technically too small to reach all these places, so they follow their own instincts and go after whatever attracts their interest. They keep trying until they get to the place they wish to be.

When I was a small child I did similar brave things. I’d scale rock-faced hills in my neighborhood, forge across streams, wander off from my home into nearby meadows.

A little bit older, I’d gallop my horse down hills over jumps, do back flips into the swimming pool, climb as high as I could into the trees in my backyard, walk alone through the woods for three miles to the barn my horse was kept at.

Honestly, I felt invincible.

That fearlessness got taken away from me of us by the time I entered my senior year in high school. I grew increasingly cautious and scared about doing all sorts of things. Physical and emotional. If I had an issue with someone as a child, I’d confront them. That became less frequent as I grew older, until I often said, “that’s okay,” when it wasn’t. The problem with “that’s okays,” is that they merge with previous “that’s okays” into a giant, festering “that’s okay” which makes you feel like the cowardly lion.

It’s okay to say “that’s not okay” and instead say what you want. At least that way you get your wants out into the open with the other person’s wants and it creates an opportunity to both get more of what you want.

Letting others push you around doesn’t help them or you. Once you grow up, others can’t send you to your room without your permission.

The more you flex your brave-heart, the easier it will be to stand up for what you want and even go after what you want. And, believe it or not, people will look up to you more when you assert yourself.

So, where do you say “that’s okay” too much? Good place to start the journey to being more brave..

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Do What You Love And The Money MAY Follow

September 21, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.” ~ Dhirubhai Ambani

About 15 years ago when I was working at a corporation, I stumbled on a book in a used bookstore called, Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow.

It was the first time I gave any thought to opening my own creativity-based business, which was odd given that my grandmother, grandfather and my father all owned their own individual businesses. My grandmother, back in the roaring twenties, owned her own dance studio. She produced local plays and recitals after graduating from Emerson College. If she were still around, I’d tell her that I’ve followed in her creative footsteps.When I did open my own business, even though I loved what I was doing the money did not follow very much.

Making your creative business thrive is a little more complicated that doing what you love. You have to deal with what I call the psychology of your business. If that is not addressed properly, you can learn to dislike what you love and end up back helping someone else build their dream.

The most important rule of business I have learned:

Whatever dogs you in life will follow you into your business. I sometimes think the greatest gift a business can give its owner is to highlight what dogs you in life. It is easy to get around this “dog” when you work for someone else. Much easier to hide from yourself in a cubicle. Most corporations don’t really want you to be the best you can be. The job description may state that, but it isn’t really wanted from what I observed.
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Do You Feel Limitless, Like You Can Do Anything?

August 23, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

“If you tell life what it has to be, you limit it, but if you let life show you what it wants to be it will open doors you never knew existed.”

-Unknown.

Like so many people, I used to feel that I had to follow a certain life plan to be living a “good” life. Do x, y and z and your life will be marvelous.

Well, I did x, y and z and it wasn’t marvelous. It felt phony, empty and meaningless.

Fortunately, a town hall on the verge of a demolition gave me the chance to let my life show me where it wanted to go. I grabbed that opportunity to save the building and followed it – a kind of blind faith – and just like the quote above it led me to places I didn’t no existed. It also led me to parts of myself I didn’t know existed. I emerged as the kind of person, I’d always wanted to be but didn’t think I was.

Funny, how I couldn’t even recognize myself covered with the grime of conformity. I thought I was something completely different and then spent my life battling that phony version of myself. What a waste of energy!

I’m really grateful that opportunity in my town presented itself. The more I let my life lead, the more fabulous opportunities presented themselves. (more…)

Is Your Life Too Damn Safe?

July 11, 2016 by Giulietta Nardone

“To live a life of excellence, you will have to take risks. You will have to step into new territory and climb new mountains. If you’re up to something that’s as big as you are, it’s going to be scary. If it feels perfectly safe, you are probably underachieving. To leave your mark in the world, you will have to stand someplace you’ve never been willing to stand before. And you will have to have the courage to aspire to excellence.”

~ Debbie Ford

Despite all the May/June high school and college graduation speeches that encourage those graduating to go for the brass ring, doing so rarely happens in a life time.

The problem with those types of speeches is that everything leading up to them often runs counter to living such a bold and daring life. Those speeches wouldn’t be needed, if we encouraged our young to take chances. The look and feel of young life would be totally different than it is now. Thus, the inspirational speech the adults give to the young as a reminder to themselves to take risks before it is too late. (Note to self.)

Most of our lives are way too scripted and safety oriented. I read a few months ago that colleges are now looking for students who are different! They want something more off beat than the well-rounded students getting all A’s they’ve wanted for several decades. Fascinating but welcomed. Students will be able to follow their own strengths, perhaps.

If you want to always be safe, physically, emotionally, financially, your life will be driven by a lot of fear, a fear of losing instead of gaining. Most folks who make it big in business at one point risked most of the money they had. (more…)

Do You Give Up Too Easily?

November 29, 2015 by Giulietta Nardone

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’

Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’ “

~ Unknown

It’s taken me a lot of living to figure out that the people who make it in life do so because they do not give up.We like to think that these people are smarter than us, more crafty than us, more creative than us.Nope, they just do not give up on their ideas and dreams.Most people start out gung ho on pursuing something they want to do, but when the rocks on the path start to appear (and they always do), most of us will lose our stamina to keep going over and around them.

This summer my husband and I hiked up Mt. Osceola for my birthday. I wanted to climb a 4,000 footer. The path started out rocky – like a vertical jetty. I thought, “it will clear up soon.” Jimmy and I walked up and up and up, expecting the rocks to clear or lessen.

They never did. (more…)

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