One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

19 August 2012

The Blind Side

From the time I could hold a crayon, I wanted to be an artist...no, I KNEW I was an artist. About eight years ago, I discovered a love for writing...and thoughts poured out of me faster than I could line them up into words. Between bouts of painting I wrote essays, poems and songs.

Suddenly, I stopped.
Earlier this year I stopped doing other things I loved...and finally, a couple of months ago...
I stopped painting.

As I look back over the old posts here (and the dates), I wonder how one can get so far from something they love...especially when you're doing it for love. Funny how we can find ourselves so far down a path that we are blind-sided before we realize we might have taken a wrong turn along the way.
Then again...I don't really believe there are wrong turns...

There is a Buddhist saying: when you come to a fork in the road, choose the harder path. In hindsight, I remember seeing some of the breaks in the brush, game-trails and even four-lane highways that might have put me "back on track". Hindsight changes nothing, though...the experiences, "good" and "bad", are already woven into the tapestry of my soul. Whether in travel or art, I've never liked backtracking...the same applies to life, so those missed trails will be left unexplored this time around. We don't have the luxury of foresight to tell us which trail to choose, so the best we can do is choose the path that feels right and make the best of it. In present-sight, I am deeply grateful for the trails and trials that have brought me to this point in my life.

It is too easy to judge ourselves and/or the people and experiences that brought us to where we are...but the truth is that it is not our place to judge and there is no point to judgement. Seriously...does patting yourself on the back, beating yourself up with regret, working yourself up into a rage or blaming someone/something else EVER change ANYthing? It is what it is...and we, alone, choose what we do with the experience...and what we learn from it.

Every moment of our life, we make choices...including what to remember. Memory is a beautiful and dangerous thing. On a grand scale, history continues to repeat itself because of what we choose to remember...and what we refuse to see. The same applies to us as individuals. Choosing to see only the best in things (or people) is great, in theory...but maybe isn't always a good decision. By the same token, focusing on the bad is no better...there needs to be balance.

We have a tendency to put blinders on as we move through life. There are things we don't want to see, refuse to acknowledge and are at a loss to understand. Sometimes it is easier to close down the field of view than to try and look at the things that make us uncomfortable. Then again, sometimes it is necessary to narrow your focus to get through a tough stretch or attain a goal. The question is...how do we know WHEN to turn a blind eye? How do we know when we are choosing to see only what we WANT to see and missing something vital?

The hardest life lesson may be learning to pay attention to your inner voice...especially when it whispers something you don't want to hear. Listening to your intuition in the first place is not an easy thing when we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by "white noise"...the inane babble of television, the chatter of the people who surround us and so much more...not the least of which being our own minds.

How do you determine when you are thinking too much...or not enough?
How do you know whether to follow your heart, go with your gut or mind your mind?
How do we learn to take the blinders off once and for all?

We learn by trying and failing...by leaping and falling...by taking that first step and tripping over our own feet...by trusting, having that trust betrayed, then trusting again...by loving and losing...and, ultimately, by simply continuing to get up, brush off the dirt, (hopefully have a good laugh)...and then going for it again.

Maybe finding an ear for our intuition has nothing to do with filtering the "noise" around us...and is more about finding love, respect and trust WITHIN ourselves and FOR ourselves.

We have the innate ability to tap into something greater than ourselves if we just take the time to listen. Like everything worth doing, this takes practice. It means making the effort to look at our world and our actions with objectivity, love, detachment, forgiveness and compassion.

It seems I haven't got it down pat, yet...but I will keep practicing.