I've been concentrating on the "now" for the last few weeks, and as a result it has been very quiet on this blog. In a way I have been reconstructing myself, crawling out of the darkness and into the light of my life.
It isn't as though I haven't been writing....I just haven't shared. I've been sorting things out, following signs from the universe--savoring the little moments of spring that somehow I have managed to miss for 30 some years. It's been heavenly to see my beloved trees get their clothes (leaves) back on. As much as I think I am watching them for signs of change via buds and blooms, it seems they go from bare to bedazzled overnight. It is magnificent.
I spent the first half of this year "turtling" in and focusing on finding and keeping my calm inner center, and now I am feeling the urge to be creative. For years I have believed my own lies and thought that I was not artistic. I recently took a chance on trying my hand at painting, and oddly enough it gave me self-confidence (not so much in my painting), but in my artistic vision.
I am oddly proud of the things I have created lately. (And it feels really weird to admit this to myself and to you.)
Maybe the difference is that I have stopped judging everything the way I once did, so I don't paint, photograph nature or write for any other reason than it fuels my soul. I don't care if anyone else likes it. I am not doing it to be liked. I am doing it because my inner voice tells me I need to do it.
It is not only freeing to release judgment of my own work (which I did for decades and always found it lacking), but crazily motivating to allow myself to feel pride in it. I spent the majority of my life pointing out flaws in myself instead of celebrating my strengths. This new self-appreciation does a lot to support my inner cheerleader, the one who not only believes in me, but encourages me.
As memories and childhood experiences float through my now quieter mind, I realize that I spent the majority of my life as an observer of the world around me. It was my way of making sure I "fit in", wasn't a burden, did my share, and never let anyone down. I was a good person to have around--I got things whipped into shape, I walked in front of many and smoothed out bumps in the path ahead--sometimes before they even recognized there was going to be a bump-- but in doing so I rarely considered my own needs. I focused outward and wrongly believed that putting myself first in line meant I was being selfish. Silly me. I have learned that I cannot fully be present with those I love unless I am being true to myself. The old adage "You cannot heal those around you until you heal yourself" is one that has made a huge difference in me in the last year. Finding my way back to "me" has led to better relationships with everyone I love.
I recognize now that I never really fully lived or appreciated the moments of my life. I was just passing through until....until something. Next week, more money, when the kids grew up, when I had the house clean. I put off my joy until I accomplished the next thing, only it got so crazy that the next thing never stopped coming. It was like an obsession to keep accomplishing or what ...I would fall apart? I would fail? I would be judged lazy? I would cease to exist? I am not really sure what my ego convinced me of....I just know that life became overwhelming and exhausting.
Maybe my book (the one I have started writing) will help peel back the layers of why I allowed this to happen. Maybe writing it out will help someone else learn from my mistakes and avoid the dark trap of accomplishment and doing.
All I know is that I am forever changed. I intend to truly live in every moment of my life. I will put myself at the front of the line because I realize I am nothing to those I love unless I am truly and 100% myself. And to be truly myself I have to heed the quiet voice inside that says move your body, creatively express your soul, talk with the trees, and laugh with those you love; often and fully.
So I am, and I will continue. And I will savor every second.