There are some days when you just have to let go of everything and paint.
It helps to have Byron Katie talking in the background, about self-inquiry and the stories we build up around us… especially when the painting you happen to be working on is of a wild woman riding a wolf through a magical forest, and especially if said painting has been sitting untouched for over three months.
I suppose that’s one of the best (and sometimes the most frustrating) things about summer. The agenda goes out the window.
I didn’t plan to paint. I planned to work on my book, play with some new circle ideas, do some spring/summer cleaning, be with my kids.
Every summer, I have the intention to be deeply present with whatever is in front in me in any given moment, imagining that I’ll magically have time for everything… and yet, every summer is different. My kids are needier this year than last. I don’t consider that a bad thing– but I consider it an unexpected thing, as I am faced with the startling realization that there likely won’t be a whole lot of ”work” getting done.
I could be wrong. Afterall, it’s only our second week. We’re still finding our rhythm. But I do think there’s a different energy on board… it could be because both kids have had a lot of social challenges at school this year… it could be because I’m that much more exhausted because of moving into the summer directly after a triathlon. Everyone is just a tad bit crankier. Everyone needs a few more hugs than usual. And a few more games of Parcheesi.
I could fight it. Lord knows I’ve been known to throw a tantrum or two. And I’ll admit… I’ve had a few crying spells here and there during moments of profound wishing to simply be with myself, whether it’s the athlete in me who wants to run and sweat, or it’s the writer in me who wants more than ten minutes of uninterrupted time to put words together (so far during the writing of this blogpost alone, Zoe has come in twice to ask what she should wear today, and Noah has plopped down on my big cozy leopard chair and declared that he’s bored).
I’ve been getting up at 5:30am every morning just to have that quiet hour, to witness the world waking up outside my studio window and inside my journal pages. Yesterday a phrase from a dream I had had stuck with me as I got comfy in my chair for my morning pages… ”I’m listening with all my strings attached.” For a little while, I really couldn’t understand what it meant… it didn’t feel as negative as first impressions might imply.
After sitting with it, I realized that it’s about listening to my own soul’s longing while being fully and openly engaged with the demands and limits of my life. And yesterday, my soul whispered, “paint.” As if some part of me knew that it was do-able among the mishmash of expectations I had strewn out before me.
And so I painted. As if my life depended on it. Zoe decorated a pair of shoes with glitter glue and spray paint. Noah drew an elaborate picture of battleships and robots from Star Wars, making lots of scary gun and explosion sounds all the while. And everyone was happy, being with themselves. All in the same room, while listening to Byron Katie.
Sometimes the agenda needs to fly out the window in order for us to see what it is our hearts really want from us. Sometimes we need to let go in order to hold on.
Sometimes we need to just let go of everything and paint.