Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Pondering

I've put up another picture to remind me of where I want to be in a few month's time. This painting by Charles Courtney Curran looks so much like a view near my chosen relocation spot that it took my breath away. I want to be that woman in the painting. I used to climb to such vantage points when I was young and there is nothing like it.

When I began my paint session on Thursday, I was riding euphoria brought on by the previous day's events. I'd successfully taken a major step towards my relocation goal, one I'd been dreading and putting off for many reasons. The next step is equally daunting but hinged on the results of this first one. I'd had a chance to share my experience, thoughts, fears, strategies with a friend, a venting which allowed me this momentary freedom from obsessive non-productive worry. Thursday was glorious with a sense of calm and confidence, efficiency and motivation. I couldn't help but wonder if this state of mind was a major player in the way I felt while working with the paints, for the lack of furrowed brow and for the general satisfaction with the session. Was I in an unsettled and worried state of mind on the days the painting did not go well?

The euphoria was short-lived. By Friday I was worrying again about the logistics of the move, putting off taking the next step. Don't want to know, don't want to know... As my mood deteriorated, so too did my positive feelings about the outcome of Thursday's painting session. This is stupid, I told myself. Nothing about the painted fabric has changed between yesterday and today. The only thing that has changed is how I'm feeling about myself.

Many artists, quilters, crafters comment that working in their medium can calm and uplift them, distract them from the worries and woes of the world, provide an escape from the inescapable realities of life. I've felt this myself. But now I am wondering if much of our success or failure can be attributed to our state of mind on any given day, if there are times when our craft does not overcome or distract us from that which is consuming our thoughts. Do those worries instead turn all we try to do into one more way to shake our confidence in ourselves?

I suppose a medical professional would diagnose me as manic-depressive and put me on something to even things out. Frankly, I treasure my highs enough that I'm willing to put up with the occasional lows. I'm convinced that without them, I would not have the revelations that I do, nor appreciate those highs when they come. In the low times, I remind myself that life is a series of peaks and valleys. How long you stay in the valley is somewhat up to you. The climb to the peak is always worth the effort. The view can take you away, bring peace, inspire, fortify and sustain you on the trip back down.


Shirley Goodwin said...

You've been busy, Sheila! I like the "after" shell pic better too. I also like the pale blue and emerald piece - very restful.

Shirley in New Zealand
(Also on surfacing list)

margaret said...

Was it Picasso who said, If you can imagine it, you can make it happen...

Meg Manderson said...

Sheila, I am a new visitor to your blog, but "know" you from AQ. Didn't know of your relocation challenge, tho.

I did it three years ago, escaping the Northeast to move to western North Carolina. Most people thought we were crazy, but I had been trying to get out of New England practically since I got there!

Hold your nose and jump! If it doesn't work out where you land you can do it again! Scary, but do you want to be in the retirement home going, If only...?

I have loved it here and only wish I had done it years ago. I love my mountains and the creative community and the lack of brutal winter. And the slower pace of life, the more cooperative spirit, the lower cost of living.

Is it perfect? Of course not. Do I miss my few friends in Boston. Oh yeah. But I have made many new friends, which frankly, surprised me at my, ahem, advanced age. And I am renewed, rejuvenated (some might say overly so!) and content.

So, like they say, just do it! It isn't non-reversible and mistakes are not fatal!

Good luck,