Musings of the Day
Reflecting on What I Have Painted this past year
hear this read aloud below
The end of the calendar year is approaching, a time when I usually reflect and ask myself if I have fulfilled the intention I set for myself when the year began. Looking back over these months of “Painting a New Life,” it is apparent to me that I have. The colors of my life have shifted to hues that are more to my liking and though the painting is not complete, the process of deleting what wasn’t working has made space for something new to emerge. Reflecting upon this new empty space, I feel a sense of liberation and excitement. What used to frighten me about empty space and the unknown, now fills me with anticipation. It opens the doors for more expansive dreams.
This year I have begun writing again. I’ve planted some seeds that will need to be watered over the coming seasons. And I have cleared the path of much of the clutter that was preventing me from stepping into my true life. There is more to clear and more seeds to scatter, a new garden or two to create, but a new path has begun to form in front of me. In painting this new life, I have become aware of how important it is for me to cut loose from the restraints of my past, to create with abandon. To let my “wild” run free and to trust the guidance I am receiving. The guidance that has accompanied my intention for this year has led me beautifully to fulfilling what I set out to do, which is step into my true self and be ready to embody who I am, fully.
This leads me to creating a new intention for the coming year.
2023 will be all about “Living An Embodied Life.”
I’ve alluded to embodiment in some of the writing I’ve shared over these past months, but there is so much more to expand upon as I step into the next phase of my journey. There has been a shift over the past year or so from being primarily on a journey to remember who I am, to now discovering what is needed to actually live that way. The “living” part is more challenging than I imagined it would be. Each footstep I take, tentative though it might be at this point, seems to bring with it some of the clutter that I thought I had cleared. There are vestiges yet to be shaken loose and my new legs are still a bit shaky.
Though I don’t have a clear vision of what this embodied life will look like, what I am focusing on is the feeling I seek. It is the experience of taking a full breath into each day with the freedom to be exactly who I am without justification or explanation. It is the feeling of opening my lungs and inhaling more than enough oxygen, rather than just enough to survive. And it is the shift from living life in spoonfuls to one of allowing myself the full meal with chocolate cake on top. The details will show up as they usually do with each new step I take, just like the process of painting. I am guided by a call to something that is unseen, but felt. And with each brushstroke, the feeling takes on more physical form. But the form is not the feeling and it is now the experience I am after rather than the particular form it takes.
Who I am is unconventional. I have never fit into any box or felt at home living by someone else’s rules or standards. There is no definition that fits me and no words adequate to name me. An embodied life means that I give myself permission to be exactly who I am and live without a box to fit into, a life of expansion into the unknown territories of my imagination without constraint. I am taking off the chains, the shackles of the past, of who I thought I was and who others defined me as. An embodied life means that it is my true essence, my heart, my soul, that guides and creates my life, not anything external to me. I make my own path and my own rules. I am sovereign in my life.
January is my birth month, my true new year. This one marks the beginning of my 7th decade on this earth. It is a milestone for me, not so much in years, but an important marker on my journey. I knew that this shift into an embodied life would come by the end of my 6th decade. It was an intuitive knowing from long ago and no matter how hard I worked at making it come sooner, it never did. It was meant for now, this time in my life and this time on our planet.
I am being called to share my journey now. I have a contribution to make with my years and experience, something that I can no longer keep to myself. Over the past year, Spirit has been guiding me to paint myself into existence for service to others as well as for myself. I am beginning 2023 with a commitment to do just that—to paint myself into this embodied life, expanding myself and my reach, sharing my heart and soul and the ups and downs of this journey. And though technically I have one birth date, I will be celebrating my new life all year from now on. I am discovering a new love in my life and one day of the year is not enough to celebrate. This is a love that has been in plain sight all my life, but I have failed to notice until now.
The love of my life, the one I have been searching for all my life, turns out to be me. I have been on a quest my entire life to bring myself back home to who I truly am. Now that I have, I get to live with myself instead of in search of myself. As with every love affair, there are times when the connection to our loved one needs a bit of tending, repairing, and nurturing. This new life I am stepping into is one in which I will do that for myself as well as for the others in my life that I love. I could not go on to live an embodied life if I maintained the illusion that what I seek is outside myself. The only way to continue this journey is by taking my own hand and leading myself, with all of the care, the unconditional love and the wisdom that I would offer another. I know more than I have given myself credit for. I need more than I have been willing to give myself. And the circle has taken me back to the beginning yet again - back to looking myself in the eyes for the answers I seek.
My 70th birthday marks a new trail to follow, one that I will walk hand in hand with myself and with the spirits that have been my companions all of my life. I will create and then share this journey in the hope that something of my experience lights a fire, or at the very least ignites a spark of recognition and inspiration for you as well.
All of these paintings will soon be found on my fine art website in the "Awakenings" Gallery of images.