All artists love what they give birth to. . . . How then could God hate a single thing since God is the artist of everything? ~Thomas Aquinas

I am grateful for the flow of change and the shift of conscious choice.

Namaste’ Fellow Travelers,

One of the greatest gifts my paternal grandmother gave me was her love of art, which included oil painting and ceramics. She enthusiastically taught how to work with both, especially to her grandchildren. When I went to college, I majored in art. In my first college painting class, my teacher saw me hunched over my painting with a tiny brush, so she began plowing through my paintbox and came up with a palette knife. “Here, try this,” she said. That afternoon my whole perspective of painting changed. I went from trying to achieve a photographic effect to slopping paint on with wide swipes. I began coloring outside the lines. It was liberating.

Going through art school in the 70’s was a hugely liberating experience, not just going from tight-ass painting to wielding a roller brush, but also realizing the ideas I grew up with were not etched in stone…in every area of my life. Upon finishing my degree in art, I quickly realized there was not a high demand for art teachers. A superintendent of schools assured me a masters in reading would get me a job, so I began working on that degree. He was right, although I never considered my art degree a wasted effort because it gave me a life-long appreciation for all kinds of art – both realistic and abstract.

Vincent Van Gogh lived a passionate life, but only after working at other jobs that did not fulfill him. He only painted for the last ten years of his life, yet he was prolific, painting purely for himself as he did not sell a single painting during his 39 years of life. Perhaps that is why his work is so highly regarded now; it has a breath-taking sense of passion and energy.

One of the best books I’ve found for exploring the passion of drawing is Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Edwards, an art teacher, describes techniques that enabled her students to tap into the right side of their brain while drawing and painting. The right-brain is our source of innovation. It is activated when we are doing something creative. When considering changes you can make around following your passion, give yourself permission to think beyond any preconceived ideas you may have developed in the past.

The summer of 2007, I traveled to New Zealand where I connected with an artist who reawakened my love of watercolor painting. The semester after I returned from my trip, I accepted the position of department chair. I also signed up for a watercolor painting class because I knew if I did not, I would never find the time to paint because of my demanding job.

For many years, I was critique partners with, Debbie, a lady who was in a wheelchair and had limited mobility with her hands. She wrote using a device strapped to her hand that allowed her to type one key at a time. Debbie treated writing like her job and with gratitude each day logged the hours she worked and what she produced. During my years of working with her, she wrote and edited three books – all at the speed of one key at a time. Her tenacity has inspired me to keep plugging away at my writing when I might have otherwise quit.

Too often our interests and passions get shoved to the back burner of life behind work and family. So now is the time to create a plan for how you can carve out the time you deserve to do the things that make your heart sing. Only you can do it. Waiting for someone else to present you with a strategy simply will not happen. If small children are part of the mix, you may want to include ways to negotiate time with a spouse. You may want to brainstorm ways to create a support system like a critique group or a class. Focusing on what you have achieved thus far is key because it will build your confidence. Plus, the more we think about what we desire, the more it will come to fruition.

Even though you may have never followed your passion, it is not too late to start. Grandma Moses did not start painting until she was in her later years. Having a sense of whether or not you are giving yourself permission to actually recognize your passion and then pursue it is a good place to start.

Journal: Do some serious soul searching about what gives you energy and be honest about how much you give yourself permission to do that. How can you change your current attitude and behavior to allow more time and energy to pursue your passion? What small life-giving steps can you gratefully take in pursuing your passion? Create a plan for moving forward with your passion.

Affirmation: Write a one sentence summary of what you gleaned from your journal writing. Example: I am willing to follow my passion wherever it takes me. 

Letter from your soul: Review your journal entry and your affirmation then write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love that your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.

Buen Camino, Pat

The minute you do what you really want to do, it’s really a different kind of life. ~Buckminster Fuller