New Years – a time for fresh starts, a clean slate and the….resolutions. Each year, flocks of people make bold statements and plans to change, to improve themselves. And while it lasts for a time, let’s be completely honest here – not many of them stick. Why? This question can lead a discussion that still would not be complete in my lifetime, so what’s the use in unraveling it?
It’s been a rough past couple years in my life. A terrible divorce left me with a completely demolished ego, lack of trust in anything (including myself), and one heck of a mess – across all areas of my life – to clean up and put back together. It was easy to spiral into a depressed state and see only the bad, the gloom and the nightmare that seemed to encompass both night and day. I no longer recognized my own face in the mirror – “Who is this person? What have I become?”
Now, while that may be on the extreme end of things (one thing will never change and that is my complete and utter reveling in the extremes of life), when I look at that last question, “What have I become?” – I believe that that is the very question that many of you have asked yourself while looking in the mirror and has led to the creation of some of your New Years resolutions.
I tried nearly everything that came across my plate to feel better, to bring back that which I thought I had lost – my light, my laugh, my heart. Two years went by and, still, nothing – I didn’t feel in my heart. To clarify, I felt physical pain just like anyone else, pinch me and I’d say “ouch” or “ooooo” depending on the intensity & the intent of the other person – I just didn’t feel emotions in my heart, I was numb – it was like the cord that connects my heart, mind, body and soul had been severed (each one of them operating individually and not unified). Just when I was beginning to put myself back together, my grandmother died and it nearly crippled me – it was as if the universe kept pulling me under water, thrashing me in this cyclone of waves just out of reach from shore of some new land (though I didn’t know I was about to hit shore, all I could see was the engulfing of the abyss). I was a painter that could no longer feel and see color in her heart. Hell is very real and it is having no heart.
This perspective scared me more than the most grueling nightmare I could imagine. How do I ‘reboot’ my heart when there is nothing physically wrong with it? How does one begin to repair a wound that you cannot see or touch? In all cases in the aftermath of any traumatic experience, you begin healing the most critical injuries first and progressively work your way on to each subsequent item, not knowing how much the catalystic event has impacted you – only time shows the domino effect. Once I took care of all the things I thought were most important, I still did not feel in my heart. I thought all those ‘things’ I was fixing were the cause of my broken heart, they were not and no amount of ‘fixing’ things in the external was healing the internal emotional bleeding. Because there is nothing to ‘see’ or ‘touch’ there is no one outside of yourself that can help you, only you can help yourself – you must accept full responsibility for the care of your heart.
With that realization, the New Year of 2013 was approaching. Instead of resolutions, I set out with an intention for the year. JOY. I wanted, desired and would do anything to feel JOY in my heart. The most critical injury was going to get my full and undivided attention for a complete year. No plan on what would happen, where it would lead or any expectations – just a hope that maybe this would help, how would I ever know unless I tried? Social Media was the easiest way for me to facilitate this idea. #joykk2013 ~ it started with the idea that I would take a photo every single day, something that captured a moment where I felt joy in my heart. I would focus, solely, on my emotional needs and truth as I felt it. As with any injury, there is a rehabilitation treatment, and #joykk2013 was my self-prescribed remedy for recovery – what did I have to lose?
I trained my mind, body and intentions to seek out joy and find it every day in everyday things – not just in the extravagant moments of adventures, new places, life changing moments, etc…I wanted to see joy all around me all the time and that meant seeing it in the every day mundane areas of LIFE. I wanted to become saturated in joy at every moment, dripping from its gooiness that would hopefully penetrate the steel case I placed around my heart.
Yup – gooiness.
I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but this art project started to rebuild the connector between my mind, body, soul and heart. My soul desired art/expression, my mind focused, and my body acted – all gathering strength and support to help my heart. I was rebuilding the connection within myself (re-wiring my system) – like an athlete training for a marathon or the Olympics or some noteworthy expedition that requires all of your dedication to complete. Each month became progressively easier to see joy, to find it, recognize it, feel it & let it guide me – when I felt joy I followed it (my mind took a back seat and allowed my emotions to have the steering wheel for a change – no more, “yes, but”).
#joykk2013 images ranged from food, to sunsets, animals, flowers, people, art and into seeing joy in the ability to take care of myself, to protect myself in the face of adversity, to provide for myself – basically, all the ways that I was really doing a great job for myself. Not in a narcissistic manner, but in realizing all the good that was, and is, within me – I started to see my light again, I was laughing again. Then the paintings started coming again and my goodness were they vibrant and changed from years ago. Changes in technology and social media allowed opportunities to play with video, and apps and all sorts of ways to convey emotion, to mentally discover how to communicate an emotion – which was it’s own rehabilitation because, how could I create it if I couldn’t see it (or feel it)? My mind and heart were now working together as a team – not polar opposites.
By golly, I was getting somewhere! It was working.
Now we are in 2014 and I’m looking back, fondly, at the past and all the beautiful treasures that have come from ‘seemingly’ traumatic events. I finally feel peace within myself, trust and connected. I could do some fun creative things with all the content generated with #joykk2013 and the artwork, new style of expression and I most certainly will; however, I’m allowing myself time without demands, without expectations – I’ve learned how to be kind to myself. I’ve learned who I’ve become and how I choose to live my life, for now. I’m imperfect and there is so much happiness in accepting that. That is pure joy for me.
Life is in session and remains in session until we transition – then who knows what happens. So please, make the most of it. Want something – state it, set an intention and find out what it takes from you to achieve it. We expand when we are looking up, looking forward – filled with hope. Try using an intention instead of a resolution. Maybe that is all the difference it takes.
All my best, xx
(blog post from 1/2/2014)
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Additional Artistic Inspiration
Compass (original artwork has been sold)
I know your insides are feeling so hollow
and it’s a hard pill for you to swallow.
Give me a moment,
some kinda mysterious
you’ve carried on so long
you couldn’t stop if you tried it.
You’ve built your wall so high
that no one could climb it,
but I’m gonna try.
Cross the border in a blaze of hope.
I don’t care how you get here
Just get here if you can.
Say what you wanna say
and let the words fall out.
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
I’m running out of ways to make you see
I want you to stay here beside me.
I won’t be okay and I won’t pretend I am,
so just tell me today and take my hand.
Please, take my hand.
Just say yes.
Just say there’s nothing holding you back.
It’s not a test
nor a trick of the mind,
The taste of love is sweet,
when hearts like ours meet.
Now touch me, babe
can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
You let me feel your loving power.
There’s a rainbow over my shoulder.
I’m not hiding the remedy
to cure this old heart of mine.
Before I knew it,
you were walkin’ next to me
holdin’ my hand just as natural as can be.
Just say the word.
Now I know that I’m too young,
my love has just begun.
Give me a chance.
Give me a sign.
When I look into your eyes
it’s like watching the night sky
or a beautiful sunrise
there’s so much they hold.
I see that you’ve come so far
to be right where you are.
I won’t give up on us
even if the skies get rough.
I’m giving you all my love,
I’m still looking up.