Sunday, April 26, 2015

A real artist - Three glasses of wine

It has been nice taking a little more time off from work. It has given me a chance to take a look at many things that have been neglected in my personal life. This week I actually went back to my portrait drawing class and then last night I went to one of my fellow artist art opening.

I was in a very small store front which made it intimate. The lighting was very good and her oil paintings looked great. A few of us from the class showed up and we were all packed in there pretty close. Luckily the weather was great and we were able to stand outside and let the real customers inside.

We went to dinner afterward it was a pretty upscale place. Ironically a place my husband and I would go to for our anniversary in the early years when we were still celebrating. It is in a tourist area near the gallery. It seems sometimes you can never get away from the past.

While the server was delivering three large top heavy glasses full of red wine they toppled over and ended up down my back. Moments before when she was rounding the corner I thought to myself "those glasses look pretty top heavy."  A premonition I guess. If my husband had been there he would have made a comment about wasting perfectly good alcohol.

Our server never recovered and neither will my shirt or my cloth purse that was sitting on the floor. The restaurant didn't even offer to comp my meal. The manager did give me his card and said if I needed anything more let him know.

I left before everyone finished they were all drinking and my nerves were shot. A day of work and then standing around and then ending the evening in a loud restaurant from my past. I was a hour away from home and was glad to have the long silent drive to come back to center.

Today I am matting and framing portraits from my class. They are having an open house next week end and since I decided to go back when I did they ask me for three framed pieces.

This has brought up a lot of issues today that I wasn't expecting. It has stressed me out and I kept stopping and eating instead of just getting it done.

Why is it so hard to believe in yourself and your abilities. I can say I am a good even great designer but I can't say that about my art without hearing that voice that says "what if that isn't true?" Art is so personal. When I was a kid I knew I was going to be a real artist when I grew up.

The one area of my life that I still need someone else to say I am good in order to believe that I am.  I actually got my wish this week when the framer who cut my mats wanted my card. She said she wanted to buy one of portraits I was having matted. Even with that I thought she was just being nice.

Maybe because we are taught that it is wrong to take pride in yourself unless it is to do with work. I could be because I am afraid of what it might mean if I am not really any good. The story I have created around the idea that I am artist would be challenged and I might have to admit that I am not one.

The truth is that my art will better than some of the other students and not as good as some of the other students. If I decide that I want to invest more time towards art I will be better this time next year than I am now.  

Who knows maybe when I grow I will be an artist with a gallery opening. Maybe not. Either way it gives me joy when I just focus on capturing what in the faces of our models instead of thinking about whether I am a real artist.






Friday, April 24, 2015

Spiders - Just for today

I was sitting on my porch this morning when a noticed a small ghost like spider on his web blowing in the breeze. I wondered what it would be like to be something other than a thinker. The spider probably just sits there all day until something happens that makes him move.

Maybe a nice juicy gnat comes by for lunch or maybe I clean the porch and he has to relocate quickly. That is not likely to happen until maybe Sunday so he doesn't have to worry about that. Of course he isn't human so he worried about anything.

What would it be like to just be a part of nature accepting our circumstances as they come? Knowing that "what is" is just that without all the dreaming and scheming we do.

Some of us do try to get back to that state through prayer and meditation. If we are lucky we get little glimpses of what it might feel like to just be a part of a bigger plan.

It is fleeting a best and all the thoughts we have gathered throughout our lives start popping up. These thoughts are proof that we are special and one step above the rest of the creatures.

I guess my question is are we really? Are we better off with all our knowing than what we see in nature? It is a question that will never really be answered and the fact that I am asking it proves that I am separate.

I know that nature is often violent like we are but some how it seems less personal. Just like when I clean the porch this weekend it won't be personal when I get rid of that spider.

Anyway just for today I am going to be that spider just enjoying what is and not resisting what comes my way. I am headed of the work so we shall see. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Capturing Happiness - Obession with me

I spent the weekend taking care of some chores around the house. Saturday I painted a short piece of fence that was erected from the parts and pieces of the deck I had removed over the winter. On Sunday I decided that my car needed detailing, something I have never done before, it took three hours but my ten year old car looks brand new to me.

I am in a space of genuine happiness and taking care of the parts of my life that have been long neglected. This makes me feel happy, a word I don't throw around to lightly. Happiness has eluded me for most of my life and feeling it the first thing my mind wants to do is search for the source of this happiness and capture it.

I usually use a magnifying glass and look at each part of my life and see how I got here so I can recreate the whole experience down the road when I slip off the happiness path. This of course ruins the experience of being happy now but I have to do it anyway.

I am not so desperate today so I can do this without losing all that I have gained from my most recent awakening. I have awakened to realization that I have spent my life looking for the ever elusive truth and path to happiness both inside and outside myself and realizing that it has been the actual search that has kept me unhappy.

I thought it was my responsibility to keep looking. If I wasn't looking then I would be like everyone else and live an unconscious life. I wanted there to be more to life than what I saw and felt.  

For awhile now I have felt pretty empty and uninterested in any kind of spiritual pursuit. I wasn't sure what this meant but no matter what I did or read I wasn't really feeling it anymore. It felt like a big piece of who I thought I was was missing but to continue searching felt like just another false idol.

I don't want to just fill my time because I am afraid to feel the emptiness. I did feel guilty.

Then I stumbled upon another spiritual speaker that said " it is ok to stop searching" I felt a total since of relief immediately. I had been there for awhile but felt like I was betraying who I have been and losing something else that I knew as me. I actually had already let it go.

I want to just live now without the distraction of the searching and the figuring things out. There is nothing more to figure out. The subject of my obsession "me" isn't that satisfying anymore.

I want to see what it is like to live without the wanting for a change. I want to experience more of the outside world instead of the inside world. I hope that I will be able to share what I have learned on my journey but it won't be my goal. I not going to have any goals.

I know there will be ups and downs and my mind will continue to play games with me but now I know they are games and I can choose to participate if I want. I have gone too far to live that way 100% of the time anymore.

Today I am not trying to capture the happiness I feel and I am just going to enjoy it. I do realize that I do have a lot to be grateful for which while I was lost in myself I couldn't see. I also have some amends to make but that is for another day. Today I am going to just enjoy my happiness.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I use be funny

Since I awoke from my depression I been living in a void emotionally. I was happy that I wasn't depressed anymore so I accepted where I have been. Anything felt better than darkness and despair.

Before the depression I always knew who I was. I knew every detail of my story and drew on the strength of my survival skills and my ability to just keep on going. But this time I lost myself and only the last part was true. I just kept moving.

So recently things have been good I am past the worst and humming along feeling okay. I can accept okay. I actually like okay. There is no mystery in a reliable okay.

With life nothing stays the same and lately I have been experiencing little spurts of better than okay. I am trying not to get too excited about it but it is good. Today while I was bantering back and forth with a co-worker through email I made a joke. He made a joke back that made me laugh and I couldn't stop laughing. I sat alone in my office laughing. It felt really good. Weird but really good.

I thought about it tonight and remembered that I use to be funny. I remember small pockets of my life when I wasn't dealing with serious crisis or working to reach some goal that I could be funny.

I have spent a lifetime working on myself. Thinking if I could be better or fix what was wrong with me things would turn out better. I would be more attractive and earn the love I wanted.  In the future the people I love wouldn't leave me. I believed that if I changed it would make difference.

With the depression and the final breaking open of who I am I have been released from this idea. It is an old part of my story and without the weight of feeling I must do more I am finally free to just enjoy my life.

Love just happens and real love isn't earned. Even if love is lost the moments while it lasted were real and something to be cherished. We change and when we change sometimes we no longer fit together and we go our separate ways. It wasn't a mistake it is just how thing are not how we want them to be.

I am free now and not afraid to live the life I want. I am not afraid anymore of not being who I think someone else wants me to be. I am free to let go of the idea that I need to be fixed. I am free to laugh again.  






Sunday, April 5, 2015

Feeling Great = Resistance - Surrender

Feeling great is something that I am always in search of and on the occasion that I find it I try to analyze and re-create the circumstance that led me to feeling this way. When I am sad or depressed I do the same thing I try to figure out what made me take the dip and how to avoid it the next time.

This is a tiresome rotation that seems natural and logical in the real world but for me I find it does more harm than good. I find myself saying to myself  "I don't want to be this person" the person that feels out of control and unlikeable mostly to myself.

As I move further into freedom from these traps of the past I can see it is this pattern of thinking that causes just about all of my pain and suffering. Not to mention the time I have spent thinking about how to feel one thing and not the other.

This week I made a mistake and some cabinets had to be reordered. When I found out about it I was crushed I didn't want to be the person that made this mistake. I didn't want to feel this way and I didn't want this idea that I have about myself, that I am good at what I do, to be tarnished either.

I squirmed around with this feeling for the whole day. I thought what will the customer think of me? Then I realized this was just in my mind and that this kind of resistance was not helping. I realized I didn't want to be where I was and I was scrambling, only in my mind, to get away.

Making a mistake touched some part of me that is convinced that I not good at anything. This is proof positive. Right? How old is this story?

It is hard to recognize the story we have about ourselves it has been there a long time. I feel freer than I ever have these days to live in the moment and not have a story at all. I see that withou my story I can surrender and all those judgements I have about myself fall away. They are just thoughts not reality.

I called my customer and she was totally okay with everything and said "these things happen" I wanted to defend myself and say this doesn't normally happen to me but I didn't. I let it go.

When I can relax into what is and not grasp onto just the good feelings and push back anything that doesn't feel good I can be free from the desperation, that all this wanting something different, makes me feel. I can move on to the next thing and enjoy the silence in my head. OK it is never completely silent.




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Change - Uncertainty versus Freedom

I ended my six day work week on a high note. We were extremely busy and yesterday I never sat down for the six hours we were open. This helps relieve me of some of the uncertainty I have with my and the idea that might run out of business.

This idea stems from the recession when I had my own business and the customers were few and far between. I had to make something out of every person that came into the showroom. That isn't the case where I am now we have a steady flow of customers. I haven't relaxed into this fact yet.

I had a glimpse of the past yesterday when a woman I knew from the mortgage business came in and I helped her make some final decisions about tile for her kitchen. I identified myself and she acknowledged who I was but she wasn't too friendly. She never was so I didn't take it personally she was in accounting and the numbers people aren't known for their outgoing personalities. She is working with another designer so I won't see her again.

She is still there at my old company which has changed its name a few times. Later I was thinking I could still be there 14 years later.  It has been that long since I lost my job and made the decision to pursue a more creative profession.

At the time I was devastated and angry. This didn't keep me from taking action I sold my house and moved in with my ex and went back to school. It never occurred to me that I could fail. This is what that relationship gave me that I never experienced with my alcoholic husband. We were emotionally and financially on the same page and I felt secure enough to not go back to the mortgage industry.

I am a analytical person and usually look at every situation with a critical eye looking for what would have worked better or what I could have done differently. I never look at what I have done right. Seeing her made me think that I could still be there doing the same thing another 14 years. It wasn't my decision to leave but I could have found another job and spent the recession in a cubical.

I do love my work it is something I was born to do even if I have to live with more obvious uncertainty every day than most corporate jobs. I say obvious because there is no search thing as certainty in life ever just sometimes one situation appears to be more certain than another.

I like feeling safe but I like being free too and these two things don't actually go together when it comes to my profession. I don't often feel like I can just be free to take off mentally. I usually do best on Sundays when most people aren't expecting anything from me.

Today I feel grateful I had a very productive week and ended the week with a glimpse of how my own ability to be fearless gave me a career that is perfect for me. I can also thank my ex for making me feel like I could trust someone to have my back when I needed to make a change.












Sunday, March 22, 2015

Time off - More freedom

It has been a good week I opted to take a long weekend. This always makes me feel guilty. When you work on commission your mind is trained to think about the next job keeping the flow going so you don't hit a dry spell somewhere in the future. This doesn't exactly help me live in the present.

I made myself suffer on Friday. I haven't really felt too inspired to do anything lately so that being said my mind says "hey you got nothing more interesting to do so you should be working." the problem with that idea is you never get recharged. You never get the creative juices flowing so you can be present when you are working on some one's dream kitchen or bath.

It didn't help that when I finally surrendered to my day off on Friday I got a call from the office saying that one of my customers couldn't get a hold of me. I called her and she didn't call me back so I felt a little freedom at that point.

I have done nothing too much for the past two days. On Friday I did make a decision to purchase a stationary bike. My work schedule doesn't lend too well to a gym membership which I do have. But biking at night while watching TV does seem like something that would work for me.

I placed the order for the bike at midnight on Friday and by 8 am I got a text that it was ready for pick up at Sears. Ask and you shall receive. This is what I love about the Internet. I spent a few hours today putting it together and have already completed my first five miles. I am in terrible shape but that is the point isn't it?

I did want to touch on my last post. I wanted to convey the freedom I have found through my own personal journey and the relief I feel knowing that my own inner spirit has always been leading me in the right direction and it only my mind that needs the distraction of complexity.

Each of us has to find our own way. For me listening to the journeys of others inspired me not to give up but no one could tell me exactly how to find the truth I was looking for. Only I know what my mind is keeping from me and only I can challenge the stories I tell myself about me.  

Questioning the honesty of my own mind turned my life upside down. It showed me that my story was just that a story a story that I kept alive in my own mind.  It was this story that kept me entertained and also kept me stuck in the same place.

My story included one of being a victim. A victim is not something you are for a lifetime it is something you experience from time to time during your life. Along with the bad labels I had give up some labels that I have been proud up because those labels also put limitations on me. In the past I kept those labels even when they no longer suited me.

Today I want to be a more fluid person not wanting to be locked into anything not even a spiritual path. It feels freeing and terrifying to just let go and move on when I don't know what I am moving on to. But it feels more natural than what I have done in the past.

This all sounds good tonight but tomorrow I will go back to work and I may lose this clarity. I will be dealing with people and the stories they carry with them. What is different is that I won't always blame myself for the way they feel.