Here on the prairies at the eastern foot of the Canadian Rockies, January days are full of harsh winter light in a cloudless blue sky.
The land is grey on black on white. Leafless trees stand stark. Barren gardens lie silently waiting for spring beneath a blanket of snow. Prairie grasses rustle dry and brittle in the crisp winter air.
It is there, amidst the frozen landscape lying dormant beneath a January sun, I paint, my palette loaded with all the colours of the rainbow.
Playing with colour distracts my mind from world events and disheartening news of death counts and violence, changes in governments and travel restrictions and weather-forecasters’ foreboding messages of a Polar Vortex about to descend.
It is there, on the palette, I am reminded that my power lies not in my ability to change the whole world but to create beauty in my own. In that act of creation, I set in motion a ripple of beauty flowing within me and out into the world all around me.
It is there I remember that the power of art to awaken nascent possibilities for humanity to find peace, love, joy, together, is not transitory. It is always present.
To awaken it, to be present within and to it, I must keep my attention on the things I want to grow stronger in my life.
Let my attention be on creating joy, love, harmony.
Let my attention be on sharing peace and love with all the world around me.
I have been feeling unsettled. Discordant notes of anxiety burble up into my consciousness, creating ripples of unease within my peace of mind.
Much of my unease is initiated because I keep returning to newsfeeds that do little to create confidence in humankind’s ability to create better. I tell myself I must stop only to catch myself awhile later falling down the rabbit hole of yet another story about some political, environmental, economic or pandemic related story dragging me into the darkness.
I turn away, come back to the palette and begin again.
Practice they say makes perfect.
I am feeling very practiced at dragging myself out of the darkness, though I am getting tired of the dance!
Yesterday, I desperately needed the distraction of working on small things to help bring myself back into the present moment unfolding right in front of me.
I am grateful for my art practice. Grateful for my beautiful studio where I can find my balance again amidst the noise of the world around me.
How do you find your balance? What do you do to distract yourself from the world ‘out there’ so that you can find peace, harmony and joy within?