I recently joined an online writing group, Little Altars, led by Licia Morelli. I love the frequent writing challenges that are posted. One of the first challenges I came across was to write for 5 minutes about where you are, and then to write for 5 minutes about where you want to be. I loved that challenge and I used the same challenge for a couple of days to help me fine tune my feelings of gratitude. This challenge also enabled me to move out of a place of fear for the future and back into a place of looking forward to that future. I am sharing that very private, but also heavily edited, challenge with you.
It is a beautiful sunny day outside. Sugar the cat and I are on the couch listening to the gossiping of the birds outside the window. There is a tapping sound at one of the neighbor’s homes that just made Sugar raise her head, looking to see what interrupted her sleep.
I am alone, except for the cat, and I am comfortable with that. Last night I had a whisper of a whim to go out and listen to music, but no one was free to join me and I decided not to search too deep in my list of contacts to find someone to go with.
Instead, I binged on Netflix and solitude. There may or may not have been a glass of fine Irish whiskey on the table beside me. I celebrate my ability to be alone. There were many times in my life when I would do almost anything to be entertained, to have somewhere to go, to have someone to be with. Now, those desires feel like ghosts that once haunted my mind, but have gone willingly to the grave of the past.
I am so grateful I have the time in my life to sit quietly and write or sketch. It’s hard for me to remember the days when I was imprisoned by an 8-5 work day. I love not being tied to working hard to earn someone else a living. I still have a schedule and I still work, but I can come and go and work on the things I love. I love the idea of never having to work a desk job again.
I am so happy with the sketch I did yesterday. I celebrate being able to capture a portrait with my pencil again. I had created fear around doing portraits and I celebrate looking that fear in the eye and trying anyway. It wasn’t a perfect sketch, but it was good. The sketch was actually far better than I expected it to be. What a wonderful feeling to re-capture an old skill!
It is heaven for me to be able to come and go when I want and to be able to sit down and write whenever a thought enters my mind. I love being able to sketch out a vision or throw a canvas on my easel and start playing with the colors I love. The beauty of mixing colors and seeing them leave patterns on the canvas makes me happy each and every time. I become as fascinated with what’s unfolding as an observer would be. It so frequently feels like the paint or the pencil are guiding me instead of the other way around.
People are fascinated by my journey, but the vast majority are too scared to try to even envision the leap, much less take it. I am so sorry that it feels so unreachable to so many. The freedom I live with is a joy each and every day. There’s an old saying “my worst day (here, in the now) is better than my best day (there, in the past.)” My joy is such I can’t even compare my current life with my old life.
In looking to the future I am divided on what I wish to celebrate. There is the old, social, me that feels like I should be listing having a romantic love in my life as the thing to celebrate. Instead, I am more interested in where my work will take me. I am drawn to envisioning my success as an artist.
I have had exhibits and shows, but I will celebrate with gratitude the day when I am truly the featured artist at a gallery of great repute in the country. People will be drawn to stop in front of various paintings of mine, reacting to the resonance and movement of the piece that stills their feet. Not only are people happy to pay my requested price for the pieces, they are excited that they get to have such a beautiful piece in their life, to look at and relate to every time they pass by it.
The gallery is large and spacious with waiters floating from group to group offering whiskey and appetizers. There will be wine, of course, because some people will insist on it, but it will be a whiskey type of crowd. Women in interesting fashions will be there, comfortable in their solitude, or comfortable with the people they are with. The conversations will be light, joyous and interesting; the music will be classical.
I love that this writing group came to me at a time when I needed to find hope for the future. I still have my fears and concerns, but I refuse to let my apprehension define me. I appreciate that you are letting me share this with you, and I hope that you find the right thing in your life to help you look forward to your future.