Create • Inspire • Journey
by Rachelle Eason
Tinogona is a Shona (Bantu people) word and translated through Swahili, it means “It is achievable.”
In a blog last week, I shared a video of me creating a page in my Easenza journal in response to the prompt of Tinogona. You can find that blog by clicking the link below.
Since writing and filming, I have been thinking even more about Tinogona, a powerful word I have believed in since hearing it over a decade ago. At this challenging juncture in my professional art journey, I have had to chant that mantra over and over. The last week has been especially difficult and I have relied on that mantra to believe, that even though my path looks different than planned, the goal is still achievable.
Voices of Inspiration
Tererai Trent, who embodies education and women’s empowerment, sprang Tinogona into popularity and is touted with being Oprah’s all time favorite guest. Alan Watts, the British philosopher, was the master of leading people to look at their lives and how they were living them versus how they wanted to live them.
Ever since seeing Tererai on Oprah in October of 2009, I have had Tinogona dancing around in my head as a mantra in my career. The show aired just as I was making a final decision about opening up a retail pottery studio in a small North Carolina town. I had the experience and the know-how, the vision and the growth plan, but I needed that one last stitch of courage to go forward. Hearing Tererai’s story and believing in the power of Tinogona led me to the confidence I needed. We opened Art Blooms the day after Thanksgiving in 2009.
Over the next four and a half years, the studio grew and the vision expanded. Although we closed in 2014 for family reasons, I consider it my greatest achievement to date. And, honestly, I miss it terribly.
I do believe that Tererai’s story inspired me in so many ways during my Art Blooms days and I applaud what she has done and continues to do to empower women around the world.
I can’t remember how Alan Watts came on my radar. I believe it was sometime during graduate school in the late 1980’s. He passed away in 1973 but his words were captured on audio tapes he made for years before his passing.
Alan Watts was able to take Eastern philosophies and apply them to our Western world in a way that made all who listened to him reflect on the true meaning of their lives. I often played his audio tapes during the adult art journaling classes I taught and, of course, I played them frequently for our children over the last twenty years of homeschooling.
My favorite audio of his is What do you desire? These audios are copyright so I can’t embed any here, but a google search will turn up many choices to listen to, several with fabulous images. It is one of his most motivational speeches and it really makes me stop, think, and then keep plowing forward.
My thoughts have circled around to a realization that there are three essential elements to achieving; to Tinogona.
Make or Break…
These three elements encompass many details that make or break reaching the level of achieving desired outcomes.
Effort is not for the faint of heart. Most entrepreneurs say they spend 100 hours of week building their business so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else. I clock in at a minimum of 104 hours each week. But that is not how I define effort.
I believe effort is taking action on the small stuff in addition to the flashy big stuff. An example in my case is getting up at midnight and retaking that one millionth photo of my journal and flowers just to capture the right angle, exposure, and shutter speed. Effort is the extra mile that shapes the journey.
Will is the most exhausting part to me. It is being willing to do almost anything to step forward, which includes being willing to take steps backwards. That’s where I am now.
Will is being willing to pause, pull back, redefine goals, and being willing to change perspectives. Will confronts you physically, emotionally, and right where it hurts the most…self-confidence.
But when you are willing to pause and reevaluate, to pull back and change perspective, it means you are willing to continue to accept the challenges you face. Tinogona becomes that much sweeter when you have conquered obstacles along the way.
Support is the essential element that you have least control over. When you can muster up enough effort to take action, continuous action, to chase your goals and realize your dreams, support makes you feel like you can soar.
Support is more than encouragement. Support is actionable in itself and the most beneficial support is the kind that comes with no strings attached. Just like dogs have a sense about people who are fearful of them, people can sense the difference between authentic support and hollow words of encouragement.
Effective support means others have a vested interest in your success. They truly care about you, are patient with you, and take actionable steps along side you throughout the journey. They are ambassadors of your vision, sharing your purpose with others. Support is the grassroots movement that grows your reach.
Even though my current challenges revolve around refocusing my business to online sales of my Eco-stained Journals, Stationery, and Wall Decor, I think Tinogona applies to all of us at different phases in our lives.
It also has gotten me thinking back to how much teaching has been a part of my life. I took a sabbatical from teaching over the last three years as I adjusted to being an invited artist to Disney. There just wasn’t enough time to prep for and show at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom festivals and still travel to teach multi-day workshops. However, thinking about Tinogona makes me think about my greatest feeling of achievement comes when I inspire others. Just look at these faces…
You may be seeing a little blurb on Facebook and Instagram in the near future about me looking for venue suggestions for teaching in the future. 😉
Newsletter Subscriber Journal Prompt
In my weekly newsletter today, I shared a journal writing prompt about responding to the three elements I feel are keys to Tinogona. Please message me if you would like a copy of that newsletter and then sign-up to receive future newsletters. They are emailed on Mondays and always include a journal writing prompt.