Just a reminder; regardless whether it “looks easy”, it probably took work. Just saying, it’s rare that things are truly “easy” or without effort, however effortless some other human primate is making it look. 😉 Don’t let the appearance of someone else’s mastery dissuade you from making your own choices, following your own path, or embracing the very real likelihood that learning something new and becoming great at it will require considerable work. 🙂

We’re all working at something.

I have no idea why we’ve ended up with the notion that things need to look easy. That’s a bit weird, isn’t it?

That thing you want to do or learn? It’s worth the work involved. 🙂 Go ahead, go for it – begin! 🙂

…Be prepared to begin, again, a fair few times along the way. 😉

I pause from my studio time to have another coffee, consider the day, and the work so far, and just to take a needed break. Tables everywhere, a desk, a large easel – and I still often find myself working on the floor. lol It’s not as easy as it once was. Breaks are a good practice. 🙂 I shifted, at some point, from stretching my legs to pacing. I didn’t really notice the change, my thoughts were still in the studio.

I contentedly note that although I’ve spent considerable time in the studio, this weekend, and very satisfyingly so; I don’t have much “to show for it”. It hasn’t been a frenzy of hastily conceived and completed work (one of the ways I commonly work is bursts of inspiration resulting in a dozen or so new pieces over a weekend, then… nothing for months. lol). In fact, this weekend has been a slower, deeper creative spell. I spent time tidying and organizing the studio, lost in creative thought. I spent time sorting through previously prepared backgrounds of various sorts, looking at them with new eyes, and new inspiration. I spent time contemplating a couple major works, still in progress, half-surprised that the slow pace has not frustrated me at all, making notes about next steps, and assembling materials. I spent time working out technical challenges involved in some new work I want to do – some ideas come to life more easily than others. What have I not done? I haven’t actually painted much. Nonetheless, a deeply satisfying creative weekend, savored moment-by-moment, rich with inspiration, and an awaking-from-within, as vague notions become detailed plans, sketches, and notes.

I needed this time spent with and on self. I sit contentedly with an afternoon coffee, reluctant to pass up the luxury of it, even knowing tomorrow is a work day. (I made a good choice, and made decaf. 🙂 )

There is much to be learned from moments, and the day is not yet over. There’s more that I want to do – practical things, like laundry, cleaning paint brushes, and showering. It’s been a busy weekend, and I find myself reluctantly recognizing that I’m nearing the end of my physical resources, for the time being. Maybe for the day, and certainly for now. I allow the acknowledgement of fatigue to become encouragement to take time to savor the experiences of the weekend, at leisure. Breathe. Relax. Consider some detail or another. Feeling the contentment. The satisfaction, and feeling of wholeness. I continue, breath by breath, recollection by recollection. I feel my smile. I feel the comfortable relaxed posture I am in. I take note that I am not in any noteworthy pain at present, only a bit tired. I look around the studio at what I’ve gotten done this weekend. Tube after enticing tube of paint, and dozens of jars of glitter, sparkling bits and pieces, threads, chains, and shards of glass, draw my eye around the room hungrily. It does feel like a sort of hunger – to touch, to arrange, to feel the textures of paint and canvas, to see a thought become a vision – but I am sated already, and too tired, now.

…There will be other weekends…

In the meantime, there are practices to practice, and self-care to manage. For now, that’s enough. 🙂

I was sipping my coffee between moments in the studio when I really noticed; there’s a tree missing from the view beyond my deck.

What I expected to see…

It’s not a great picture, and I warn you now, it isn’t from an identical perspective – and perhaps that’s why it nagged at me so much. Something is different, I spotted that right away, but figured, in the gloom of twilight, last night, that perhaps it was just more winter, fewer leaves, more lights in the distance… something.

…what I see today.

There’s a missing tangle of mostly-dead tree. Obvious as anything could be, once I allowed myself to really see it, absent my expectations. There’s something to be learned from that.

The healthy heart-wood of the stump left-behind, quite evenly cut, about 18 inches from the ground, tells me it was not lost to misadventure or high winds. Willful. Probably well-intended. I feel sad about it anyway, thinking about the owl that had been making her home there. The squirrels using it as a freeway ramp to the tree nearer the deck. The loss of privacy from neighbors beyond. Just… the loss of a tree. It’s painful. Oh, I’m sure a dead tree just hanging out there on the steep edge of the yard, where it suddenly drops off just past the fence, was a hazard of some sort, to something, but… fucking hell. I’m getting a little sick of people just taking my fucking trees away every-fucking-where that I move. Irksome.

There’s much to learn from contemplating this change. Trees fall. Trees are cut. Impermanence is. Non-attachment helps with the pain of circumstantial misfortunes. We have choices. Trees can be planted. Trees sprout. Trees grow.

I sip a delicious afternoon coffee – a perk of having a 3-day weekend, afternoon coffee always feels like luxury to me. 🙂 I contemplate impermanence, and change – and choices. I think about seeing. I mean, really seeing – eyes and mind both open to what may be new and changed. I contemplate acceptance; change can be hard. Recognizing what has changed is not without it’s own challenges. I breathe. Relax, and consider what I am practicing, and what I want to achieve. I think over conversations with my Traveling Partner; this last visit was rich with thought-provoking, inspiring, observations, and discussion. Connected. Insightful. Loving.

We become what we practice. (Remember, “trees take a long time” 😉 )

Once you “find your joy”, don’t forget to enjoy it. To explore it. To lavish yourself with the experience of it. Work toward it with purpose – fearless, guiltless, and without shame.

For me, it’s time to blur the line between art and self-reflection, and spend some time creatively, and in my own head (and heart).

This weekend I’ll be in the studio. Maybe I write, maybe I don’t. I’m feeling inspired by love, and deeply appreciative of a mature partnership that allows me to choose me, to choose us, to choose him; no wrong answers. We consider each other. We reciprocate. I feel more loved, and valued, than I’ve experienced in other intimate relationships, with the exception of a few rare very deep connected friendships of long-standing, and I want to celebrate this experience of being deeply loved. Love hasn’t always been my inspiration – I found love later in life.

Inspiration deserves action, and I certainly deserve to treat the woman in the mirror well, and nurture her creative side. 🙂 Choices.

I’ll see you right here, in a few days. There’s a canvas on my easel, and I earnestly need to begin again. 🙂

It’s a question worth asking, I think. It’s at least worth reflecting upon it, asking it of yourself, and perhaps even being prepared that this could eventually be a thing you have to wrap your head around; what if you had to completely start over – with nothing?

Where you would begin in life, if you had to begin again on an entirely different level? What if you lost everything, even losing your “way”, your sense of place in the world, your job, your home, your standing in the community? How to start over…? Where to begin…? What matters most?

What matters most?

If you’ve “lost everything”, it’s likely you still have something precious to count on… this moment. Here. Now. Maybe some choices? If you’ve already lost everything, you’ve also lost reasons to turn away from choices that could take you somewhere really new… that’s something. Maybe that doesn’t seem like much, by itself, just the freedom to choose. Choose anything. To start from nothing and rebuild doesn’t sound at all pleasant, but once we’re on the other side of that “rip off the band-aid” moment of loss, isn’t it, potentially, all forward momentum?

For fuck’s sake, though, grieve if you’re hurting! Don’t mistake loss – and the emotions that it evokes – for anything more permanent than any other emotional experience, but do give yourself – and take – the time you need to heal and be okay! Impermanence is one thing, but please, oh please, don’t treat yourself harshly when you’re hurting. Feel your feelings. Be the best friend you may not feel you have, right now. Treat yourself with the consideration you’d give anyone else who is hurting. There’s no magic happy pill (no, really really there isn’t). Maybe it’ll be slow going to pull yourself out of whatever you are mired in right now… but you can.

Where would you begin, if it were you? A cup of coffee and a good book? A few minutes on a meditation cushion, a lovely view, the sound of breezes through tree tops? A few hours playing video games? A walk alone through a beautiful forest? I don’t know where you’d begin again… that one’s on you. I’ve gone without more than a few times. I lost a lot in life, and rebuilt a time or two; it’s why I refer to my lives in the plural, and reference “past lifetimes” – it really feels that way. lol I’m here, now, though, and I’m okay. Choices.

Yeah, but… circumstances, too. Don’t forget about the circumstances, right? Unavoidable, undebatable, immutable circumstances. Well, shit…

…Nah, I’m going to argue that one. Not gonna let that go. It’s an excuse to fail. Circumstances are circumstances; you still choose your adventure, still decide who you are as a human being, and you still have choices – how to act, how to react, what to say, how to treat people, how to treat yourself, where to go in life… all choices. Are you going to get handed some tiles in this game? Yep. It’s true. Starting points. From there; choices.

Choose wisely.

There’s much suffering in the world (and in my feeds), and I don’t much want to call it out, but some of it appears to be based on… choices. You can choose so much of your experience, and yes, even the suffering. Why choose to suffer?

We become what we practice. What are you practicing?

Damn, look at the time! It’s time to begin again. That’s a choice. ❤