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So, I’m back.
I began another SelfLove365 project in January, although it took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to do. The first year, I drew something I liked about myself, in a 1″ x 1″ square, every day. The second year (last year), I wrote about self love, using the previous year’s square for inspiration. As last year’s project drew to completion, I knew that I wanted to continue with my daily practice, but I couldn’t think of something that felt right. At first, I wanted to do a gratitude project of some kind, during which I would make a painting for a person in my life… daily? Weekly? It didn’t feel right to switch my SelfLove365 project to a weekly thing, but I also couldn’t imagine getting one painting finished per day, at least, not at this point in my life.
My friend Mandy and I had been discussing getting matching skull tattoos together, and she wanted me to draw it. I decided to practice drawing skulls, and after doing a little bit of journaling around the image, I knew my next project had begun. The whole point of SelfLove365, as the name implies, is to practice a little bit of self love on a daily basis. For me, that means a daily creative act. So, this year, I chose daily drawing and journaling. Initially I kept with the anatomical theme, and then eventually started including live body parts (as opposed to cadaverous) and faces. Then, I had a friend ask me to draw him, and enjoyed it enough to continue with the portrait theme. So… because I have waited so long to blog about my new project, I have many images to share with you! I hope you enjoy SelfLove365 so far!
I did it! One whole year of writing once a day, every day, about self love. I’m not sure if I am any closer to loving myself than I was on January 1st, and I don’t know how to quantify how I’ve grown from this experience, but it feels good to have stuck with it, to have been creative daily, to have pushed myself to write and share it all publicly, even though I harshly criticize my own work.
I feel happy to have heard from people throughout the year, encouraging me to stick with it, quoting my work when they felt it was meaningful, telling me when something touched them, and above all, letting me know I was heard.
This year’s project is complete. And even if I don’t always feel it, I, too, am complete.
Sometimes I feel like this self love journey hasn’t helped me one bit. I still struggle, at times, to accept my imperfect body, my inability to always get things done right the first time, and to accept that I am actually loveable and likeable exactly as I am. Often, I find I am more willing to accept my disbelief that I am loveable, my disbelief that I am wanted and desired by my lover, my disbelief that I am perfect as I am: perfectly imperfect.
Why is it so hard for me to move past this disbelief? Because I’ve believed otherwise for 43 years, and my stories have kept me safe from being hurt by others. Why can’t I just let go of the disbelief once and for all? Because I fear that if I say I’m letting go of it, and then it comes back, I will believe I have failed.
Am I willing to suspend my disbelief long enough to allow myself to feel loved by others?
Will I accept that others speak truthfully to me?
Will I accept that I am worthy of love?
Will I accept that I am imperfect?
Will I accept me, as I am, right now?
This whole journey of self love is based on the premise that there is a self to love.
If there is a self to love, who is it that is loving this self of mine?
Is the self who is receiving the love a different entity than the one who is giving it?
If the love I feel for another is really a reflection of the love I have for myself, then what is the love I have for myself?
Is it even possible to love my self?
Are these questions just another way I avoid loving myself?
First point of contact: I see you. I am seen. I am worthy of being seen.
Second point of contact: I hear you. I am heard. I am worthy of being heard.
Third point of contact: I touch you. I am touched. I am worthy of being touched.
Fourth point of contact: I love you. I am loved. I am worthy of being loved.
“We are all made of stars” – Moby
“I am you and you are me” – Nine Inch Nails
Knowing we are all made of the same stuff, however that happened, helps me get through the challenging moments. I feel less alone, and part of a greater thing than the tiny, singular universe that I inhabit.
I feel good about my skills in the kitchen. I’m no chef, and I probably don’t use a knife properly, but I am organized and timely, and able to get several dishes cooked and ready at the same time. Yay, me!
I would like to set up some boundaries for the voices in my head that tell me I’m not enough. If they were an actual person in my life, I would not see them as often, if at all; I would not allow them to speak to me the way they do. It is time to say no, and to defend myself against the abuse they serve me.
It has taken me almost my entire life to accept that I have desire, that it is not a bad thing to want something, and to actually be able to feel and enjoy the wanting. This has been a huge step towards self-love.
I’m still learning that having desire doesn’t mean I am not a generous person; wanting something doesn’t mean I will get it, and; desire and need can be difficult to differentiate.