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.