Primed And Ready...

I've been doing a lot of inner work throughout 2023. I've needed healing and empowerment to live my life abundantly as I begin this new chapter.  Five of our six children are adults now, and while the youngest is still very much our primary focus, he is very independent and spends a lot of time with his older siblings and friends. The house is quieting down.  Mike and I have learned a lot of very important lessons. Some... I wish we had learned a very long time ago. But alas... there is no going back. And neither of us believes in regrets. We've lived a great life together. We just didn't realize it could have been even more. I don't mean material things. I mean deep things. Full things. Miracle things. We've had a few, yes. But we limited ourselves. We've learned. We're growing. 

One way, I personally, have limited myself is by staying in the shadows. I was so determined not to be a control freak that I unintentionally set up a pattern of "staying out of the way." Ouch. No one asked me to. No one wanted me to. But everyone else was so busy. They all had commitments, appointments, classes, jobs, etc. Me? I was just "here" for everyone... when they needed or wanted me. That was great when they were little and needed and wanted me all the time. As they grew.... I kept retreating into my self isolation and eventual "hiding". I became such an introvert, I didn't even see myself. 

One way I did that was soul crushing. I let my art disappear with me. Yes, part of it was physical challenges from my arthritis. But even on good days, I didn't work. This may be the worst part of all. Talk about staying out of the way.... For years, I would work, and my creative energy would take me in new directions, but I would put the breaks on because "it was too similar to someone else's work." I can't draw cute faces like that, because "this artist" does that.  I can't paint minimalist landscapes like that because "this artist" does that.  I was so worried about anyone thinking I had copied someone else's style that I put the breaks on my own creative growth. I can remember painting a vase of flowers and sending the image to ask a friend if she thought it looked too much like someone else's work. She said no. But.... I still didn't share it, and it's still in my closet. 

Here's the tragedy. You know the lady who painted the cute faces? She started painting more grungy.... like me. And you know the lady who painted the minimalist landscapes? She started painting mixed media with scribbles and scratches... like me.  And the final "aha" moment for me was recently. An abstract artist I admire very much paints in a style and palette I like to use. I didn't share my work because I was afraid it was too similar and she is more well known. Well.... I logged on to instagram this week and noticed she has an entire series of mixed media portraits over grungy backgrounds.... like mine. 

The moral of my story is that while I was busy hiding and staying out of everyone else's way.... they were living! They were painting. They were painting, and painting, and PAINTING. They didn't give a sh!t about what I was painting. Heck..... They don't even know I exist! They didn't listen to the negative self talk in their heads. They didn't listen to any negative comments written on their social media. And they don't care if their work is similar to anyone else's. And guess what? It IS. Everyone's is! I read someone's wisdom earlier this year.... I believe it was Elizabeth Gilbert in "Big Magic". She said,  "Forget about being original. No one is original. EVERYTHING under the sun has already been done. Focus on being authentic." 

BOOM!!! That hit me like a ton of bricks. If it comes from our heart, and is an expression of our soul, it will resonate with someone "out there" who needs it. 

If I had been focused on my work, I would have been living BIG MAGIC. I can't change the past. But I am stepping into my BIG MAGIC. Mike is too. Something special is brewing. I can't wait to share. And share. And SHARE! Because like this canvas, I am primed and ready for something BEAUTIFUL to happen.