"Bob Proctor's Garden"
-Bob Proctor: of the movie "The Secret" (The Law of Attraction) "Bob's Garden" See "Bob's Garden" I could not have imagined this moment two weeks earlier ... or two years earlier, for that matter! I had just flown in from San Francisco and was looking for a black Mercedes at the Toronto airport while holding a sign that read: "Hi Linda Proctor. I'm Ann Rea." Thankfully, Linda spotted me rather quickly. She got out of her car and we hugged. Then we were on our way to give Bob a surprise birthday present. When we arrived at their home, I followed Linda into Bob's office overlooking his garden. There he was, sitting at his desk, bigger than life - the charismatic man I had only ever seen before this moment in the movie, The Secret. It was all very surreal. Linda introduced me by saying, "This is Ann Rea. She's your birthday present from Carol Gates." Bob greeted me and said, "I just saw you on TV!" Earlier in the day Carol had asked Bob to watch a national TV broadcast "Fine Living" segment featuring me as ‘the wine country it girl' (known for painting California vineyards). When Bob watched it earlier in the day, he had no idea I'd soon be standing in his doorway with an easel and blank canvas! I quickly explained, "Yes - that's me and I'm here to paint your garden. So let's see it." Bob and Linda led me out to view the lush landscape surrounding their home and, as we turned the corner to the side of the house, I noticed that the sky was lighter and the shadows softer than they are in California. I was struck by a vivid crimson Japanese maple and noticed a stone bridge in shadow, a symbolic element. I choose that spot to paint Bob's Garden. I would return to Bob's home the next day to create the painting, but before taking me to the hotel for the night, Bob and Linda graciously invited me to dinner. We connected easily and immediately. A highlight of the evening was when Bob paused and thoughtfully said. "Ann, I know how you see the colors you paint. You simply relax and let yourself see them." He stated it perfectly. I have learned to relax and savor the colors in every moment ... and now I help others experience that same sense of tranquility through my art. Bob asked me how long I had been painting and I shared my story with him. After art school, I got married and decided that a creative career just wasn't practical. I believed that I had to follow a more conventional path, so I worked a hodge-podge of corporate jobs that I didn't like. It was clear early on that the marriage was not going to work. After a painful and difficult divorce, I fell into a serious episode of depression and chronic anxiety.As a result, I didn't paint or draw for a full 7 years. "You were angry." Bob said. "You're right, I was." I replied. "I believed that I had no choices." "When did you start to paint again?" Bob asked. The answer to his question was a remarkable sequence of events that eventually led me to his doorstep ... all of them due to the Law of Attraction, although I didn't know it at the time! It began with a personal development seminar in San Francisco where I met an author who was also attending. I hadn't painted in 7 years and he had writer's block, so we related to one another. A week later, back home in Ohio, a good friend urged me to pick up my paintbrush again. She had encouraged me before to no avail ... but this time I decided to give it a try. The next day, we sat on a park bench and my emotions welled up as I readied myself to paint for the first time in 7 years. Just then I glanced up and was stunned to see, only ten feet in front of me, the very same writer I had met at the seminar in San Francisco! What were the random chances we'd meet again, just one week and 2000 miles later? I knew the meeting was anything but random. We chatted for a few moments and I asked him, "Do you still have writer's block?"He told me, "Yes I do." It was at that very moment that I had an instantaneous flash of understanding. As he walked away I realized that he was choosing not to write ... just as I had chosen not to paint. It was a matter of choice ... and I could change it. More than seven years of inertia melted away and I began to paint again with a new resolve - and pleasure. I also created a dream map - a collage of images and words expressing the feelings I had around my dream, including this affirmation: "I live in and work in my very own art studio overlooking the ocean." Of course, at the time, an ocean view seemed about as likely as the random meeting of my friend with writer's block! I now approached painting with a whole new objective: To focus my attention on color and as an active meditation to calm my mind and to help alleviate anxiety. I began selling my work and found it interesting when collectors told me that the paintings made them feel happy and calm. One collector remarked that my work reminded him of Wayne Theibaud's artwork. Theibaud is an American art icon. His canvases sell for millions. So, I wrote Wayne and requested a critique. He gave me several critiques. As I read his letter of recommendation I knew I had found my true voice and purpose. All the while, I continued to work in a corporate job I didn't like. I met two stage-four breast cancer survivors during that time. One was my very same age and I was struck by the cubicle-sized limits of my own life. Although I didn't know how, I was all the more determined to seize my dream: "I live in and work in my very own art studio overlooking the ocean." One day, I literally woke up and decided: I am done. I quit, sold my house. As I shared this story over dinner with Bob, I said, "By sheer luck, I found a place on the beach in San Francisco overlooking the ocean. "It wasn't luck." Bob immediately responded. "It was your dream map." He was exactly right, of course. Remarkably, at the time, I had completely forgotten about it - and yet I had duplicated the pictures on my dream map with inconceivable detail. In fact, my bed is in the very the same position as the picture of the bed overlooking the ocean in my dream map. After arriving in San Francisco, I began masterminding with friends ways that I could earn a living with my art. My vineyard paintings tended to sell and now I lived close to wine country. I realized that I could help wineries leverage their largest asset, the unique beauty of their vineyards. So I offered to complete a series of original oil portraits of a winery's vineyards and to sell them the reproductions and accessories at wholesale. In exchange, they help me market the originals and my large scale commissioned paintings at their events. Wine enthusiasts would have a way to take home a piece of the wine country and the wineries gain permanent advertising in their customers' homes while earning a profit. My model was unique. I started cold calling. I knew that if I was going to thrive as a painter I would have to become prolific so I enrolled in a biofeedback course at San Francisco State University where I attended a lecture by a prominent neuro-feedback researcher, Dr. Thomas Browne. We discussed the use of this science to enhance creative productivity. I immediately began working with him. Since then, I have created nearly 400 paintings! After watching The Secret, I recognized how the Law of Attraction had been working in my own life and was inspired to learn more. I discovered that many of the teachers in the movie had studied with Bob Proctor, so I decided I would go right to the mentor of mentors. I enrolled in his year-long coaching program, and had some questions. I spoke over the phone with Carol Gates for more than an hour and she told me the same thing so many others have said - that my paintings help her feel calm and relaxed. As we talked, she was struck with an idea and asked me if I would paint Bob Proctor's garden. We immediately began making plans and it all happened very quickly, as is often the case when we allow ourselves to become emotionally involved with a big idea! It was a bold adventure that I'll cherish for a lifetime. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." "Fortune" magazine recently featured my story and quoted me "If there's something you really want to do, do it now." See "Bob's Garden"