Lessons Learned from Hearts on Canvas
When I first picked up a paintbrush this past winter, I had no idea what would come out. All I wanted was to take some time to slow down -- to be in the moment. I had just gotten back from 4 months away (more on that later) and honestly, I was tired of worrying about what happens next…
DISCLOSURE: I’ve spent SO much of my life worrying about what happens next. I’m pretty sure my entire educational experience from high school through grad school trained me to always think of the next thing. Do you guys relate? It’s like we can never just pause and be glad for where we are. There’s always something more to do, something to else to finish, another degree to get, another job to apply for, another diet to try, some sort of pressure to be more or better than we are right now. While we may not always realize it at the time, the implication is that wherever we are just isn’t good enough.
(Oh, you got your Bachelor’s degree? Great, now go get a Masters. Oh you’re done with your PhD? Ok, now you need a post-doctoral appointment or two. Oh you’re a Mom or a Dad? Cool, now go back to work and do all the things you were doing before you created a little person. Get my drift? )
The expectation is that we are supposed to be able to do it all and if you can’t, you’re just not good enough. Well guess what? I’m calling bullshit. That’s not true. We’re forgetting about all of the things we *have* done. I think It’s time to celebrate ourselves for who we are NOW and what we’ve accomplished so far. Because this human thing? It’s not so easy…
OK, so what does this have to do with Love in Color?
One February day this past winter I stumbled into a local art & coffeehouse — the greatest thing, btw! If you’re ever in or around Northborough, MA go visit 291 Coffeehouse; Leisu is amazing! Anyway, as I was waiting for my coffee I started chatting with the owner (the aforementioned amazing Leisu) about the kind of art I like to create. As I was attempting to explain myself and fumbling over words, an image popped into my head. Leisu basically said “here’s a canvas, why don’t you paint it?” I hemmed and hawed and listed about 3 or 4 reasons why I couldn’t (“it’s really simple”, “it’s nothing”, “it’s not real art”) but eventually I picked up a brush, dipped it in some black paint and drew a big swirly heart on her canvas. She smiled, nodded, and suggested I start to trace my design in a few different colors. The next thing I knew, Love in Color #1 was finished. Believe me when I say I had no idea that when I went to go get coffee that day I would end up creating art, but it just felt so good to do it! That’s truly what the Love in Color series is about — feeling good in the moment.
Sometimes I still look at that first painting, the one I never meant to create, and think “I should add more” or “It needs something else.” But I’ve promised myself I will leave it alone. Because I think sometimes it’s important to make that choice — the choice that things are good enough just as they are. Full disclosure: I still struggle to make this choice for/about myself every day. But know that if I can choose to leave Love in Color #1 alone, to let the painting stand as it is, then it *is* enough. Further, I am enough and so are you.