When I guide someone to paint from their heart, I invite them to look at the palette, pick up the brush, and spontaneously choose a color. I say, “Breathe, suspend your disbelief, and trust the process.” Now I look at the letters on the keyboard and challenge myself to listen to my own teachings. Let go.
Thump. Like a bird flying head first into a windowpane. Okay, I’ll shake it off and try again.
The notion of caring comes up. That’s what inspires me to write. I’m not one to join organizations. I will always opt to stay home if given the choice. I do enjoy the occasional gathering or dinner out but otherwise I hang close to nature and my trusty health food store. I work from my home office and, for the most part, I’m happily isolated. I do enjoy socializing with one person at a time, and occasionally more, especially if laughing is involved. I was never one to enjoy professional gatherings. I find that people tend to hang tight to their personalities there. I don’t know why we can’t just check them at the door. I know that wearing mine around is exhausting. I end up over-heated and consumed with an indescribable longing for my bed.
So here I am, writing to you from my paint-splattered “desk” with a nature view. I have grown to be extremely grateful for technology. It has allowed me to feel more connected and to share my hard-earned collection of human understanding with you.
Yet today I feel a bit mute. Nothing to say. An old one for me. Let’s review.
As a safety patrol, I was stretching out my do-not-cross arms at the street in front of my elementary school. I was 10 years old and a fellow classmate approached me. He said, “You never talk”. I remember my reply as if it was yesterday. I quietly muttered, “I have nothing to say”. Fast forward to my second year of college. I was majoring in fine arts with a minor in psychology. My art classes didn’t teach much technique. The focus was on conceptual projects that required a point of view. I concluded that I would not continue to pursue the study of art. My stated reason was, “I have nothing to say”.
Rewind further to the yellow kitchen, circa 1964. I sat at the dinner table with my quiet father to my right, my anxious-to-hold-it-together mother to my left, and my older brother and grandmother across the food. My extroverted brother chose to fill the air space with words about his day. I, on the the other hand, like my father, sat in silence. I replayed the words “I have nothing to say” in my mind until the needle groove was so deep I couldn’t change the track.
Many lives, or so it seems, later I can still fall prey to this voice. I realize that I vowed to stay quiet in order to feel safe and accepted. I appreciate the need I had back then but it’s time for a new vow.
I invite you to join me in the creation of a personal vow that is not a fearful reaction from the past, but a commitment to love and accept ourselves in the present. As adults, we no longer have to live in fear of our differences. It doesn’t serve us to blame or attribute our challenges to others. It’s time to claim our freedom to live true to our hearts.
I have lots to say and I know you do too.
Let’s hear it.