I began this canvas irritated. I don't know why. I couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe my fear, anger, or distress about the election. Maybe not getting enough sleep. Maybe some frustrations at the work place. Maybe feeling disconnected in key relationships. Whatever was the cause, I wasn't in an inspired place. And I thought, this is it, this is the moment to practice what I preach, to show up at the canvas anyway. To see what can happen at the canvas. I've articulated my confidence and transformation at the canvas for my heartache and sorrow. Can the canvas handle my anger? Hopefully I don't ruin this canvas with anger and pain, but show up anyway, not ready, not centered, not joyful.
The first day working at the canvas. Not much happened, no big insight or transformation on the inside. I carried on. Painting. With this sense of agitation and irritability. Finished painting for the day. No clear insights. No uplifting feeling.
On my morning walk before I returned to the canvas I thought, maybe the lesson is just showing up. Maybe it is just the loyalty, the devotion, the commitment to this canvas, to relationships, to this country. Maybe that is the message this canvas wants to give me.
Then day three, I paint a bit more. Mid morning, I take a break and I'm visiting with a friend in my living room. She sees the incomplete canvas and says. "It is moving." I look at it again. Yes it is.
It is moving. Maybe there is something there about our unrest, our pain, our anger, our discontent that is moving. Maybe the salve is in the movement. I don't feel exactly the same way today I did when I started the canvas. There is a shift. It is subtle. It isn't a new start or a clean slate. But there is a hint of inner movement. I'm reminded that movement is the Divine. The ever changing nature of life, though it terrifies us, it also carries us. Life marches on. And with repetition and showing up repeatedly to love, there is a movement that carries whatever we feel toward that love.
I've been away from the canvas for a few days for the holidays. I'm feeling agitated about a conflict in a relationship. And with the canvas ahead of me this morning I'm reminded, it will change. The relationship won't always feel just like this. I continue working, trusting in this change.
As I review the canvas, my eye catches on patches that are solitary colors. Over simplified shadows. I make sure to blend in a little more color. Life isn't simple. Even the shadows have texture and movement. So do the highlights. Moving.
Today I put the finishing touches on this painting. I make sure I've touched each side. I put in a few final highlights. And I'm so thankful for the lessons that arrived for me in the process.
I hold this prayer in my heart and for others.
A Prayer for Movement
God of the river, God of the stream, God of the warm Spring breeze, God that moves within and around us, thank you. Thank you for this movement. Thank you for the passing of seasons. Thank you for the passing of anger and heartache. May we step into a river of love, may we step into a stream of providence, may we be comforted by the wind, and may we trust in the path of the seasons. May we keep showing up to our lives breathing through the difficulty, breathing through the pain, breathing through the anger, breathing in the joy as well. Trusting that we too are being moved. We are being carried. God, gently help us to open our tight grip, that we might be open to being carried. Help us let go of the need to understand or solve every moment. Help us to be courageous and show up. To use our voice. To give our best. To forgive. To try again.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ” ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times
"Come Together Again Fall Apart Again" 40" x 30" (C) Bronwen Mayer Henry [Available for purchase. Contact Artist for details.]