Last night I went over to a friends house to do some water color painting, eating, drinking and all-around being merry-ness. Insert my immediate panic, fear and all around nervousness when I heard the word “painting”. I have things I’m good at, and I surely have things I’m bad at – and painting, my friend, is something I’m bad at. Drawing. Sketching. Art. Be creative! Use this as inspiration! Words and phrases like that make me bite my bottom lip.
I have creative outlets, and I’m creative in my own way – and drawing, I assure you, is definitely not one of those ways (if you are one of the unlucky friends of mine that plays Draw Something with me you can attest to this). But I thought what the heck – she did say we’d be drinking and eating too, so how bad can this be?
She gave me a very thorough tutorial on the sketch pad, what paints were what, what the acryllics did vs. the water colors, etc. You know – lots of artist lingo going on 🙂 Oh, and did I forgot to mention she is really good at drawing, like really, really good? Yep. She’s good. So you know, not like there was any pressure for me to be great or anything…..sigh.
So we started. And by “started” I mean sat there. Staring. At a blank canvas. (Me of course – not her)
I knew how I wanted it to end up. I knew what I wanted it to look like. Hell, I was even beginning to imagine where I would hang the damn thing or who I would give it to. But I couldn’t start it.
All I was thinking about was the end. Finishing it. Being proud of it. And having it be something really profound, and really meaningful. I mean this painting just had to be a reflection of myself and my life didn’t it?
So I just started drawing. And painting. And mixing colors. And being artful. And being creative. And following the same kind of concepts she had drawn on the pages before me. Pages that told stories of places she had been, and places she wanted to go.
I started doing these really, simple, easy things that – once I got started – really created little thought. Turns out most times, your biggest critic is yourself.
When I was finished, I liked what I saw. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what it’s suppose to be. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it – but at least I friggin painted something. My favorite part was the random newspaper clippings at the bottom that had words like “dream” “journey” and “imagine” on them. Very crafty.
Today when I’m looking at my finished piece I see how silly it was that I was stressed about how to start, or what to do first, or how to get there. Sure it looks like a 5 year old did it. I mean yes, maybe it was suppose to be abstract and ended up being so literal. But do we ever really truly ever know how to take the first step?
We think, we ponder, we analyze, and sometimes we don’t even move. We imagine, we envision, and yet most times – we stand still.
We just wait. For whatever reason, we wait. We know what we want – we know how we want the story to end up, but we just stay still.
I think when I look at this painting (wherever she may end up), I want to remind myself how important it is not not just focus on the end. But to focus on all of the blunders, absurdities and other distractions that crept in along the way (thanks Ralph Waldo Emerson card on my bulletin board). Because of those lil creepers – the ending tells the story it was always meant to tell.
I guess it really doesn’t matter where we end up – it’s the journey of how we got there that matters (SO cliche I know but damnit it’s true!).
And of course – whoever we held onto during those bumpy rides that counts.
Rituals are funny. My morning ritual at work has turned into making my breakfast, running through the un-godly amount of emails in my inbox and starting some project plans – and then settling back into my ghetto office chair from 19 million years ago that I’m always afraid will awkwardly tip over some day, and checking out some of my favorite new blogs for some inspirational or thought-provoking reads for the day.
A post I came across today really made me think. We are all constantly facing seemingly insurmountable challenges on a daily basis. Sometimes big, sometimes small – sometimes they are one after another – wham, bam thank you m’am. Let’s see how many more life lessons we can really teach you all at once. Let’s see if you truly know how to dance in the rain.
So I wanted to share today’s great find. I really love www.marcandangel.com – their blog isn’t too sappy – it’s real and simple and just makes sense to me. So enjoy.
One or more of these thoughts may really speak to you – so let it. And soak it in baby.
As quoted below “Sometimes you have to journey through hell on Earth to find heaven on Earth.”
10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago
Re-blogged from www.marcandangel.com
Stay in tune with your spirit. Be calm and think. Listen to your inner voice. Anticipate and plan. Take 100% responsibility for your life. Lean into your struggles. Act with courage. Maintain an open mind. Practice kindness and compassion. Keep your promises. Forgive, let go, and move forward. This is how you get from where you are to where you want to be.
I’ve learned these concepts gradually over the last decade. Together they have helped me live a life of purpose. Had I understood these things 10 years ago, I could have avoided quite a bit of confusion and grief. So today I figured I’d share a few more things I wish I had known sooner. My hope is that they help you hurdle over some of the barriers I stumbled into on the road of life.
- Loving someone should not mean losing YOU. – True love empowers you, it doesn’t erase you. True love allows human beings to build amazing things, by working together through passion, kindness, and good will. So be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to share your love and stand together when the time comes. Read The Mastery of Love.
- Getting even doesn’t help you get ahead. – You will never get ahead of anyone as long as you try to get even with them. Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot move forward without it. To forgive is to rediscover the inner peace and purpose that at first you thought someone took away when they betrayed you.
- You attract what you show to the world. – So if you want it, reflect it. Happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them out to others without expectation. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are eventually helped. You have two hands; one to help yourself, the second to help those around you.
- Failure is success when you learn from it. – Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Other people can’t stop you. These barriers are temporary – they come and go. Which is why, over the course of a lifetime, the only barrier that can truly stop you, is YOU. So don’t give up. Sometimes you have to journey through hell on Earth to find heaven on Earth.
- You are not what you have done, but what you have overcome. – All the hardships. All the mistakes. All the rejections. All the pain. All the times you questioned why. All of these things have given birth to the wisdom and strength that will help you shine your light on the world, even in the darkest of hours. Read Emotional Freedom.
- Your past can only hurt you today if you let it. – Do not pay any attention to what the past whispers if all it’s doing is bad-mouthing what today has to offer. There are times when you need to release the bitterness and grab a firm hold of happiness, without permission and without reason. The only way to get over the past is to leave it behind. If you spend your time re-living moments that are gone forever, you might miss the special moments that are yet to come.
- It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being. – Repeat after me: “I AM FREE.” You can fulfill your life purpose by starting here, in this moment. The purpose of life is not to simply be happy, but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to make some kind of difference that you have lived at all. Remember, life is constant change, but growth is optional. Choose wisely, starting now.
- Passion is important. – If you are trapped between your dreams and what other people think is right for you, always travel the route that makes you happy – unless you want everybody to be happy, except you. And whatever you do, don’t chase the money. Catch up to the ideas and activities that make you come alive. Go for the things of greater value – the things money can’t buy – and use them to create a relevant profession. Read Quitter.
- The pain is worth it. – You can’t really begin to appreciate life until it has knocked you down a few times. You can’t really begin to appreciate love until your heart has been broken. You can’t really begin to appreciate happiness until you’ve known sadness. You have to struggle up the mountainside to appreciate the breathtaking view at the mountaintop.
- Sometimes what you don’t want is what you need. – Sometimes the things you can’t change end up changing you for the better. Master your responses to external events; don’t always attempt to control them. You will rarely end up exactly where you wanted to go, but you will always end up exactly where you need to be.
Today is the anniversary of September 11th. A day that took the lives of 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
I’m sure you can remember exactly what you were doing that day – where you were when you heard, what you did after, how you felt, who you wanted to call – Everything. 9/11 brings back the smells, the sounds, the feelings of that exact day – and it was over 11 years ago. It’s astonishing really, I mean sometimes I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast a few days ago,let alone what street I lived on 11 years ago. But that day took something away from Americans – our innocence, or maybe our belief that we’d always be okay. That day will always be ingrained in our heads.
Every year on 9/11 we remember the victims, the families, the workers, the rescuers – everyone who suffered.
But we also remember where we were, who we were with, and what we were doing when we heard of the horrific news.
So as I’m reading all of the heroic and sad stories today I keep reading mentions of the “Survivor Tree” and then I realized why it sounded so familiar to me – I saw that tree when I was at Ground Zero 2 years ago and I took a picture of it, not really knowing the story behind it.
It’s a medium sized pear tree that was discovered among the rubble, and horrific sight of the aftermath of the morning we’d all never forget. Workers rescued it, freed it from all of the death around it and managed to bring it back to life – it’s limbs, roots and trunk slowly healing and flourishing back into life.
The obvious decision was to re-plant the tree at Ground Zero – maybe as a symbol of hope, or one of strength, maybe as a place of rememberance – not knowing whether or not it would survive.
This year at the start of spring that same broken, hopeless and lifeless tree started to miraculously blossom. And not only did it blossom – it flourished. It now rises taller, higher and prouder than all of the other trees in the Memorial Plaza at the World Trade Center.
Yes, a tree can be prouder.
Just like this tree, I feel that we have each had a smiliar story – maybe the anniversary of 9/11 reminds you of someone you once were, a place you once lived – a story you once told yourself.
You most likely have come a long way in the past 11 years – like me.
Just like this tree, each of us have risen up against all odds, have needed to lean on someone, or be leaned on, and have ultimately stood proud.
11 years ago I was someone completely different than I am today, and I am so much prouder of that.
While all other trees at this Memorial site die and shed dead leaves earlier and faster, this Surivor Tree grows – a renewed life after an unimaginable loss.
Sometimes we all need a tree like this to remind us of our own inner strength, and to remind us that it’s okay to lean on others to help bring you back to the beautiful, proud tree you were always meant to be.