The mission is to not to impress but to express!

For any aspiring creative this maybe one of the most freeing and important reminders. Why? Plain and simply so that we can get out of our own way and express who we are. This will be old news to many but it was new to me.

I only realised this about 30minutes into my first visit to the Art Therapy room at The Priory. I was about 2 weeks into my stay there when I found out there was even such a place on the upper floor. Ironically the Art Therapist was off for the entire time of my stay which was 6 weeks in total. It took a while for me to persuade them to let me go there unaccompanied but as I was pretty persistent they eventually agreed.

I have a cringe a little to admit that I was sure I was going to create a beautiful seascape and immediately impress the other patient that was also in the room with my New Divine creative ability- I had taken some art classes a few years previously so surely along with my new inner joy I could impress her– How wrong was I! About 30 minutes in I looked at said seascape and just thought – “this is totally crap” and feeling utterly dejected I ripped it up.

As that lovely young woman headed back to her room with her own creation I took the opportunity to regroup and took a few deep breaths.

These words came to me – the aim is to express Bernie not impress.

 I thought about how I was feeling and I thought about what I wanted to express. I also thought about the people I had met in The Priory who were soon to be leaving and of those friends and family from my life that had been sending me messages and I realised I wanted to express my love and gratitude to them- I realised I was actually here to make thank you cards – I was here to express my love and thanks and the only thing that came to mind was the flower doodle that I had been doing since I was a little girl.

In that moment I realised that flower has been trying to get through to me for years.

I grabbed some charcoal and watercolours – these had been a favourite of mine from class- some watercolour paper and card board and spent the next hour or so painting poppy after poppy. In this factory production process I realised I was able to allow each first layer time to dry before I worked on it again. (impatience is a disaster with watercolours) This way I moved onto the next and the next and then retouched and generally had a ball by playing, expressing- I chopped and I stuck –and when I left- I left with12 expressions of who I was stacked in my arms.

I can still remember walking back down to my floor and the joy I experienced as I went on to express in words the messages to those first recipients, and the affect me giving those cards out had on those people.

That doodle flower would be drawn again and again over the next 3 years and one day I looked at it and realised I had created the symbol of my company Barefoot Ambition. By getting out of my own way and focusing on expressing, that first flower had evolved with me.

Over the years as my art has continued I more than occasionally forget the valuable lesson of expressing not impressing and each and every time I produce utter crap- it is only when I remember it’s about expression that the art flows -the words flow – she flows.

So what about you? What part of YOU is whispering to be expressed just for the joy and benefit of revealing that part of you- revealing the Divinity that lies within you, that has always been part of you.

Focus on the emotions that you are feeling and let them out in which ever form feels right for you- be it dance yoga music sport art business- in anything you are creating please just express yourself fully – and by letting go of the need to impress you might just express the real truth of who you are- it is a mission that’s totally possible.


With love until tomorrow.




  1. Millie · March 20, 2018

    Thanks Bernie … u are a true gem

  2. Bernie Petrie · March 20, 2018

    hello Millie
    thank you – would love to hear more about healing hands? x

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