It's another autumnal morning as I sit here typing away. Molly is perched on top of her "kitty condo" on the watch for any daring birds that might happen to perch on our balcony. The truth is when they do, Molly hides behind the curtains furtively watching these tresspassers, but too afraid to do anything about them. I'm sitting at my desk watching her antics and sipping a nice hot mug of tea. We're living in the moment, this moment, right now, that's what we're doing and consciously aware of it.
I hadn't really given this phrase much thought until I won a ring from @MerCuriosJewels and this was the phrase engraved on it. See Mary-Jo's web site listed to the right under the heading "Some other sites you might enjoy." Mary-Jo ran a contest and I was the lucky winner of the ring. I wear it all the time and have spent a lot of time thinking about the phrase she engraved on the ring. Mary-Jo is a very positive person and has been a great influence in my life during the short time that I've known her through our tweets. She's the kind of person you need in your life because she doesn't sugar coat anything and tells you exactly what she thinks. She picked up on my doubting myself, who I was, what I was doing and so on. She pretty much told me in no uncertain terms that I'm in charge of my own fate and it would be wise for me to read "Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting" written by Lynn Grabhorn. Once I read the book, I would understand how badly I needed to read and put into practice the concept of positive thinking.
I owe Mary-Jo a big thank you for making me stop and re-evaluate myself, my life and where I wanted to go with it. So, Mary-Jo, this post is dedicated to you for your help in making me live in the moment.
What does the phrase mean to you? To me, it means to live in the here and now not thinking so much about what could or might happen. Deal with what is happening now, pin point what you don't like about it, whether it's your life, your job, or your livingroom and deal with it in a positive way. Don't approach the thing you don't like negatively, approach it with optimism. You don't like your life, what part of it don't you like, why does that part bother you so much, why are you spinning your wheels not doing something about it? You identify what it is that is negative and keep asking your self question after question until you find the underlying truth. For me, I wasn't really happy with the way life was rolling out for me, but the reality of it was I was the one putting up the stop signs, detours, delays and so on. I was responsible for my own fate.
What a concept! It was so true and even though deep down I had realized that I had to make some changes, it took Mary-Jo and this book to make me realize this, admit it openly and force myself to move on and do something about it. I wanted and still want to be a mixed media artist so badly that . . . What was I doing to further my aspirations? Well, I wasn't really putting myself out there, out in the world saying not that I want to be an artist but rather I am an artist with a lot to learn, but that doesn't mean I'm not an artist or that I'm not creative. For my entire life, I had always made do with what came my way. That was good enough for me, I didn't really deserve more. Hold on, stop the bus! Did I just say I wasn't good enough? Basically, that was just what I was saying and even worse, I believed it. Making it even more devious, those were the vibes I was sending out to all. My bad! I had a lot of thinking to do and I had better get thinking fast, make a complete 360 turn and make myself the master of my own fate. I had better begin to live in the moment, stop thinking about past mistakes, hopefully I had learned from them and moved on in life. Not so much, so it seems. I perpetuated the view of myself as being not so smart, making poor choices and not knowing where I was heading or why. Further, I was worrying about the future when I hadn't dealt with the present. It doesn't work that way. So, what I've learned is that I need to kinder to myself and not reprimand me for not moving ahead fast enough, not doing enough, not knowing where to turn. It was up to me right this very moment to know what was bothering me or what it was that I needed and work on accomplishing and finessing the fine details, all the while feeling that this was to be, this was what I wanted and be positive about it in how I thought about myself. I have every right to be an artist if I choose to be. There is no cosmic law out there telling me that no, that's not for you, you really can't do that. Why not? Because I didn't believe in myself.
So, what changes have I made? I define myself as an artist, a mixed media artist. When I'm in the art supply store and another customer asks me if I'm an artist, I answer in the afirmative. Yes, I am an artist. YES, I AM an ARTIST. Sorry, didn't mean to yell, but I had to make my point. Turns out that while I have a lot to learn in technique, I do have direction in my art, I know and understand my weaknesses, I am working to be the person I want to be because I am that person. Wait a minute, I hear everyone out there thinking - she said she has a lot to learn so how can she be an artist? The same way a doctor is a doctor. Even though s/he has the initials M.D. after their name and has graduated from medical school in the top ten, doesn't mean that the learning stops there. A doctor is always updating his or her knowledge in order to keep up with new advances in medicine. But, that doesn't change the fact that the doctor is and will be a doctor. So, let's push this a little further - I am an artist and will always be working on my technique, trying new ones, pushing my limits, trying new mediums. The search for knowledge isn't an indicator that I am any less of an artist, it's an admission that I realize that in this moment, I still have a lot to learn and will always be in the process of learning.
Give this a little thought. Believe in yourself. Think about what it is that you want to change in your life and facilitate that change. I believe you can do it, but more importantly, do you believe you can?
These past few days I've been painting with a vengence. I'm tackling the canvases that have been giving me problems and starting to work on other pieces. I've been reading about colour theory, techniques and practising drawing images that appeal to me. I'm working on my fears and acquiring knowledge. I'd say it's been a positive week!
I've previously put up pictures of "Millenium" and "Losing My Religion" for you to see. I'm not finished with these pieces, but it's getting so close that I can feel how good it's going to be to hang these up on the wall and can say that I'm done. "Millenium" has a companion canvas at long last. "The 80's" shows images of that decade that stand out for me and for the couple who will have the two canvases. Images that define the two decades, both of which were important to each of us for various reasons.
The third canvas, " Losing My Religion" is becoming more and more significant to me with each brush stroke. This piece has me thinking, questioning old beliefs, wondering about what I had been taught as a student attending parochial school during my formative years. For so long, I had just accepted what I had been taught about religion, never stopping to ask myself if I had any doubts, fears or questions. You didn't question your faith, you accepted what you were taught in religious studies and could repeat back like little parrots what the teacher had put forth in that lesson. To question any of the concepts would have meant instant damnation or at very least a call from the school to your parents. Yes, I was a good little soldier and memorized my cathechism lessons with due diligence. It's only now, as I paint out the story, that I start to question openly what I had so obediently believed. Maybe this piece came to my mind as a painting that needed to be put to canvas because it's only now that I feel confident enough to actively question whether I truly believe or if there are some parts of the whole belief system that I need to rethink, digest or reject. These are my thoughts as I paint, they may upset you or cause you to question your own set of beliefs. That's a good thing. To close off a subject and never discuss it whether or not we all agree on a point of view would be closing doors of communication. Look at the painting and talk about it with your friends or even better, leave me a comment. Tell me what it is you like or don't like about the painting and why. How does this painting make you feel? Do you have a sense of unease as if fire and brimstone will come down on all of us or do you feel a sense of relief that someone else has questions about all this religious knowledge that we openly accepted and never dared to question? Let me know and I'll post all the comments and respond to what you have to say. I'm not saying I'm right, I'm saying I have some doubts and still need to decide. If and when the verdict comes in I'll let you know.
Meanwhile, I hope last week was one in which you found some peace of mind artistically. Hopefully, you thought about what you might like to try whether it's painting, writing a blog (yes, that's an art!), embroidery or reading a book on an art form that you've always wanted to try. Here's hoping that whatever you choose brings you the same internal comfort that I feel when I'm painting.
Have a great week and don't forget about our tiara challenge! I'm hoping to see some real divas and knights in action. Don't forget to come back to this blog once you've posted your avatar on Twitter and let me know your username, i.e. @rutheemac, so that I can keep an updated list of who we should all be looking for when we log into Twitter. I'd love to hear your comments about how you came to decorate your tiara the way you did. You can post your avatar pic with you wearing your tiara, your pet wearing your tiara or whatever catches your fancy. Be original and have some fun!