If I were a painter, this post would be an open door to my studio where I work. You would see paint splattered across my work table surrounded by paint brushes in disarray. If I was a musician this post would be a behind the scenes video while rehearing countless takes of the same chorus. If I was a sculptor, you’d see a discarded pile of clay beneath the wheel that spins the master piece.
I’m not any of those types of artists, but I believe my life is a form of art. And this post is a transparent view of my exploration of life. I am a forty year old woman. I am a daughter, sister and aunt. I am a wife and mother. I am a writer. Just as artists create their work of art, I believe that there is potential in every day to create compassionate energy and collaborate with Life in its manifestation of love.
How I feel during the process of living
There are days when I wake up feeling a strong connection with all of Life, feeling joyful and radiant. I am grateful for the unobstructed access to this connection when it shows up this way. These moments are how I define grace = the gentle swoop of Life’s compassion when it’s hard for me to access it myself.
However, there are days when I wake up thinking, thinking, thinking. I think about losing 10 pounds, I think about fixing my child's anxiety, I think about forcing family bonding time. I think about where my peace is hiding. And it feels like I’m running a marathon (well what I imagine running a marathon would feel like - I have never actually done this). Today my dear friend, Suzi Lula, reminded me of the phrase "the longest journey is from the head to the heart." This is the one marathon that does't give a medal and that feels never ending.
How I am able to soothe myself
I set out an intention recently to recognize the ways throughout the day that offer my mind a rest so that my Spirit can show up uninhibited and joyful. I experienced that I feel this way when I'm:
- mindfully breathing
- singing my favorite songs
- connecting with people
- walking outside
- eating / drinking
- getting dressed
- creating art
- during my newly established practice of evening meditations.
In these times, I see all parts of myself. Every curve, corner and shadow. Only compassion and acceptance show up while I’m journaling or meditating, and this allows my mind to rest.
How I realized that I was over thinking
It was my daughter who reflected to me that I need to transcend my thoughts with feelings of self compassion and self acceptance. When I would rush her in the morning to get out the door, she'd say “Mama, you don’t have to be perfect,” but I looked away from the mirror. After all, I don’t think being on time is perfect. Then when she was sitting on my lap and I signed about her shoe marks on my white pants, she said “Mom, it’s ok if you get dirty.” I looked away from the mirror again because I wasn’t willing to listen to someone who wears her breakfast, lunch and dinner on her pants.
Then with a swoop of grace, I looked in the mirror and saw that she was absolutely right. I don’t have to be perfect, and it’s actually empowering to get dirty and not care about it. She reflected the need to me and then I connected with a Spiritual Counselor to help me pull that thread of perfectionism right out of my tangled up knot of self confusion.
I see that art requires a mess. Painters, musicians and sculptors leave remnants of their art work chaotically around their studios. And I suppose that in my exploration of life, the lessons I learn are similar…..chaotically splattered throughout the years. All the while, a master piece is in the works.