Tag Archives: awarness

A new year- thoughts on the future

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dark-winter-night-image,1366x768,54916I picked up a book that I had started reading a few months ago and put down and this is the quote that jumped out at me:

 

“So whatever you do, just do it, without expecting anyone’s help. Don’t spoil your effort by seeking for shelter. Protect your-self and grow upright to the sky; that is all.” Shunryu Suzuki- Not always so

 

It was like slap in the face…the good kind. After I got over the hurt from two years ago, I wanted to escape and after that I wanted someone to fill the hole in my heart. I have been on the spiritual path and through enough therapy to know that this is my work to do but the illusion that another person could help and heal that emptiness is so seductive.

I was certain that I was leaving this town as soon as I could. That this place was nothing more than a lay over to heal my wounds and then move on to the promised land…wherever that might be. But it didn’t happen that way, not because there were not opportunities or because I didn’t try (tip to Portland) but my heart would not buy it.

Then I embarked on the dating distraction. This was highly entertaining but there came a moment when I realized that  I was not willing to risk anything so I stopped pretending. And then I met someone. Of course being me it had to be the most complicated and impossible person to be with. I came to realize slowing that was a large part of the attraction. Don’t get me wrong he had lots of other wonderful qualities but the nature of the whole situation suited my melancholy nature far too well. And in the end it proved to be the impossible situation I was seeking. Minus two points for walking into fire knowingly.

I know your thinking (she’s at it again rambling about god knows what again) but when I read that quote this morning and it was like something broke loose inside me. All this time I have wanted to survive, over come, forget, start over but I never loved myself enough to protect myself.  I put up walls and shut people out but that was only to avoid pain it was not to protect myself.

When I think about how I would begin to do that it seems hard. I am in danger from no one but myself and in many ways it is harder to counter than someone hitting me. My boss complimented me the other day and I shifted the credit to my team and she said “Amanda, take a little credit for your work.” It is so engrained to see myself as pass-able at best that I’m not sure where to begin pause the voices in my head, to protect myself from me.

But…I am going to try. Try to love my life because its mine, just the way it is. This holiday season was particularly hard, mostly because I didn’t make the effort to lie for other people’s comfort. When they asked if I was alone I said yes. When they asked if I was seeing my family I said no. When they asked if I was okay/ happy I mostly told the truth and said I didn’t know. If I had lied they would have gone on their blissful holiday way for the most part. But by telling the truth it gave me the opportunity to look at my feelings and choices. It hurt but it was honest.

As I go forward into this new year, I hope to be kinder and more forgiving to myself. I think it is a lesson I will be learning my whole life: how to love me.

 

 

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Opening a door

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     It’s funny how sometimes the people who don’t know us very well make the best observations because their thoughts are not colored by “how far we have come” or “if it will hurt our feelings.”

I unknowingly had this experience a week or so ago and am now just beginning to get the message. A friend of a friend was traveling with a group of us to an event a few hours away and as long car trips are want to do there was lots of conversation there and back.

At some point he and I started talk, not knowing each other there were the usual, “what do you do for a living?” and “do you like it?” kind of questions. Somewhere in the middle of all the “fluff” conversation two things stuck in my head. One that his sister died a few years ago and that he said he couldn’t stand people who wasted their talent (pointed in my direction). At the time I did think much of it- I personally think that I do waste what ever talent I may have had.

Just look at that last sentence- this is what he was referring too. Lots of people are not “really” good at anything notable (whatever that means) but there are people -like me- who know that they are good at something but don’t necessarily do anything with it. I know this is a little convoluted but stay with me I’m almost there.

This brings me to today, a random Sunday afternoon. Nothing special going on, just finished the chores (sorting paper work and filing it- I really hate that) when I happen to open my closet and see art supplies. I should say that, I have not painted, drawn really taken photos or done anything that used my skill as an artist in almost a year.

As my hand brushed over the bamboo pain set I knew that it was time. My excuses had outlived their reality. I told myself for a long time that I just didn’t want to make art but that was not the truth. At its core I did not want to feel. For me to create something I have to let go of the logical controlling part of my mind and open myself to were the art wants to go.

From the moment the brush or pencil touches the paper it is not about a plan or a destination, it only about how I feel as my hand creates mark on a page. This is why I was not making art, I cannot lie  to myself and create, it is just not possible. So today  I stared down the white paper and though if this friend of a friend who goes to work every day living with the death of his sister. I could tell from the way that he talked about her that he loved her very much and that her loss was still in someways painful to him- if you can ever get over something like that. And it made me think about my own losses.

How long will I choose to use the loss of my old life and an excuse not to live? This man gets up every day and lives, so why can’t I? Why have I let myself fester for so long? I think I was afraid of what would come out of my hands, what I would feel once I opened the door. It was not what I expected.

At first the novelty of it all amused and distracted me. It was pleasant to see that unlike signing, my hand remembered  the shapes and colors.  But as I went on and I could no longer ignore myself.  I could see my lost-ness in the water, confusion in the clouds; a restlessness in the brush strokes…I began to make mistakes.

I could have given up at that point and given myself a great lecture about how “untalented” I really was but I didn’t. Some how I heard a professor telling me that when you get frustrated put your work across the room and look at it, because half of your issues come from being to close to the work.

So I did. It did not make the flaws any less visible but…I saw hope in the dragon fly’s wing and inspiration in the petals of the waterlily and joy in the speckles of the coi fish. I think I have the same problem with my life, I am too close to it. It is easy to stand in the middle of a mess and scream in frustration about how you’re not getting anywhere. It takes more courage to realize that getting past a death or loss of someone or thing in your life is not easy or measured in large steps.

As I look back over the past year I have done a lot of things, most good and all towards finding a life by myself and for myself again. When I stand across the room I can see the progress I have made and I don’t judge the size of the steps against one another, I see how they fit together to make something better than a blank page or scared canvas.

I am not done with the painting, it needs a little more time and attention like my life. But it is beautiful in its own right and so is this new beginning I’m working on. It won’t be done in a day like a painting but it will be just as rewarding when I get there.

So thanks Dave for your insight and willingness to talk to a stranger about your life. I made a difference to me.