Ben and I went to a Sukkot celebration at an urban farm syesterday. There were chickens and goats, a whole acre of vegetable beds growing delicious things, fresh baked cookies from a cob oven, face painting and awesome music. What got Ben most excited though was when he saw that kids were painting the sides of the vegetable beds. He sprinted over to the paints, found a brush and went to work, all within ten seconds.
It has taken me years to get a brush back in my own hand. It was my first love and I imagine myself as an old woman, still painting my heart out. It’s the medium that gets me deeper than anything else, that gives me more joy than any other possible thing. Something about brushing those rich colors around, putting pinks next to oranges next to the brightest blues and lime greens. It makes me want to squeeze the tubes of paint directly into my mouth and devour them. (It is at these moments I completely understand how Nico would want to do the same)
Once, many years ago, I took Bari Tessler’s Conscious Bookkeeping class. She led us through a visualization where you imagined what you would be doing for work, how you’d want to be spending your time (and with whom) if you knew you had 10 years to live, or five, or one. Then we imagined knowing it was our last day. (This exercise is totally intense, right?) Anyway, what I remember so clearly from that exercise is that even though I hadn’t done it in years, painting is what came to mind in every scenario.
So you’d think I’d rush out and hop to it, right? buy some canvases and begin. But no. I am human. I am like you, perhaps? Which means I still haven’t done it, all these years later. I go for what’s practical, what’s my habit, because (as far as I know) I’m not dying this year and I figure I’ll have plenty of time to do what I love.
So yesterday, when Ben darted over to the painting area, the first thing he did before beginning was spin around and smear a ginormous streak of royal blue paint across my dress. This is my favorite dress, one that I have blogged about, the dress I have been wearing almost daily. And then I surprised myself. Instead of getting mad, I took it as an invitation to get messy, to grab a brush and go for it. The planter that Ben and I painted is pictured above. It’s no Picasso, but man, it felt amazing. I felt free, I felt happy, I felt more me than I have in a long while.
How about you?
Is there something you love to do that you haven’t done in ages? Do you feel like a million bucks after yoga but never get to class? Does dancing make you feel totally alive but you always have an excuse about why you can’t go? Have you decided that you just don’t have the money to travel? Case closed?
For someone like myself who teaches a course in dreaming big, you’d think I’d have this stuff nailed. The sky’s the limit! You can have anything you want! Just write it down and you’re half way there!
But we teach what we most need to learn.
There is a painting retreat that I am longing to go to. There are about a hundred reasons I am telling myself it isn’t practical and yet some part of my heart is bursting at the thought. Some piece of me is whispering, This is going to change your life! This yes is a doorway. This is the life you dream of having, one in which you say yes to things exactly like this…”
Have you ever said yes to that little whisper in your heart? What gifts did it bring you? What did it open up in your life? (Please tell me your story in the comments below!)