I've been working hard the last few months at overcoming my fears and following my dreams. So I'm running a series of interview with inspiring people to see what part fear has played in their life and how they've overcome it to live life their way...
This weeks interview is with Lori Portka
Hi Lori, tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for asking me to do this interview, Polly! I live in upstate New York with my husband, step-daughter, two grey-hound dogs and calico cat in a cute little cape-cod house. My background is in education and counseling, but now I am a full-time artist. I love animals and traveling and spending time with friends.
Have you always considered yourself a 'professional artist'?
No, not until recently. I have been actually practicing the little blurb that I say when someone asks me what I do for a living. I tend to stammer at that question. I am learning to answer it with confidence and conviction.
Is the life you lead now the life you've always dreamt of?
It is in so many ways! A few years ago I wrote a week’s schedule of my perfect life and I have had it hanging in my studio. At the time, I was working as a teacher for early intervention doing evaluations. I looked at that schedule I wrote the other day and realized it has become my reality! Today I am doing computer work like blogging and writing this interview, then I will have lunch and paint the rest of the day. I feel so blessed. My husband is a deeply caring man who is also my spiritual partner. I am lucky in that I never had kids of my own, but get to share in the joy of his beautiful kids. And I have always wanted to adopt retired racing greyhounds. Now I have two!
When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
You know, I think part of my inspiration is knowing that I’ve already made it through tough times to the other side, which somehow always ends up being brighter for having gone through the pain. When my dad died, my mom got sick, my first marriage ended, I lost my job…they all led me to a greater awareness of myself, more compassion and understanding, more open to love. In difficult times I hold on to the truth that this too shall pass. I also have tantrums and cry and feel hopeless. But there is a deep knowing that difficult times always bring gifts along with them.
Fear affects us all at some point. What part has fear played in your life and how have you overcome it?
I tend to have fear around financial issues. It was a core family issue growing up. I have been working hard on changing my scarcity beliefs for a while. For me, it has been letting go and trusting that has been most important. I am always taken care of. The universe shows me this again and again, but sometimes I forget and my mind gets fearful. I would say that I haven’t quite overcome my fear around finances yet, but I am close!
What advice would you offer on following your heart and living your dreams?
I really believe that our greater purpose is to serve the world. I am best at serving the world when I am happy and led by my heart. I believe that our dreams are our guideposts to living the life we were meant to live. When I was first working as a teacher I was doing my best work for the world because I loved it. But as time went by I changed, and the light and happiness for that job were missing. It no longer was the best way for me to serve. Currently, I know I am on the right path and I am so grateful. It feels right.
What do you think are the three most important things you need to lead a happy and radiant life?
Being true to myself first, is the most important. I am still learning this because I often want to make sure everyone else is happy with me instead of doing what I know is best for me. When I take care of myself I am less resentful and I am a better partner, step-mom, artist, and friend. Secondly, eating well helps me to feel radiant. I have been a vegetarian since I was 21. I am not militant about it though. I try to eat local and organic as much as possible. I forgive myself when I do not. Having peace around food is just as important to me as eating well. Lastly, is living with the intention to be kind and loving. This is impossible to do in every moment but I try to live with an intention of love and kindness in my heart and this in turn brings me happiness.
*Where can we connect with you?
*Where can we connect with you?