Tag Archives: Val Boyko

Accepting our own power

Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 Louise Gallagher
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 36
Louise Gallagher

“If you tell me I just have to accept it, I’ll scream,” my friend said as she finished telling the story of a ‘wrong’ she’d experienced. “I feel like hitting someone, not accepting their bad behaviour.”

“What does acceptance mean to you?” I asked.

“It means I can’t do anything about it. I just have to accept it and move on.” (Okay. She wasn’t quite that calm but that is the gist of what she said.)

Too often, we equate acceptance with being helpless.

My friend was not helpless in this instance, and once she talked it through, she came up with several things she could do to ease her burdened heart and circle-thinking mind.

Acceptance wasn’t found in the victim’s role of throwing up her hands and telling herself ‘there’s nothing I can do. Accept it and move on.’

Acceptance was found in the acknowledging the impact the other person’s behaviour had on her, and then, identifying where she had the power to not let their behaviour cause her to act without integrity, to contravene her own values.

Acceptance was in recognizing that what the other person did was not a statement of my friend’s worth, but of the other person’s position. No matter what motivated the other, what they did caused harm to my friend. And that is not okay.

It’s also not okay to retaliate in kind. As the wise and gentle Val at Find Your Middle Ground wrote in her post, Outer and Inner Lives, on her blog yesterday,

Our outer lives and living are a reflection of our inner lives.
When we are at peace within we are at peace without.

My friend is not a violent person. She’d never hit another, even in that instance when she claimed she wanted to. It is not her nature. Violence is not a value she upholds.

Yet, in her frustration and belief that acceptance means ‘accepting the other’s bad behaviour’, she felt powerless, helpless, confused. And in her confusion, she wanted to lash out at those who hurt her.

It is human nature to want to right wrongs, correct mistakes, fix problems.

We all make mistakes and sometimes, we don’t want to face our role in what has happened in our lives because we want someone else to be held accountable for what they did to cause the problems in our lives.

I will never be powerful enough to make the man who abused me be accountable for what he did.

I will never be powerful enough to change the past.

I am powerful enough to be accountable for the harm and pain it caused my daughters and those around me and to create better today.

I am powerful enough to let go of holding onto the need to avenge his wrong-doing and live freely in the beauty of today without letting revenge and bitterness steal my joy.

I am powerful enough to accept I am not helpless. I am powerful beyond my wildest imaginings.

When I let go of holding on to my fear of letting go of all the things I tell myself hurt me, I cannot change, or cannot let go of, I am free to live my life on the wild side of my dreams.

When I accept that the change I want to create in the world begins with me, I fall with grace into Love.

 

 

 

Life is a work in progress

Art Journal Feb 21, 2015
Art Journal
Feb 21, 2015

Val Boyko writes beautiful and enriching words on living life in the balance of all things at her blog, Find your Middle Ground. Last week she shared a delightful acronym for the word STOP in her post, STOP and Find Balance.

STOP in Val’s words is a good reminder to,

S = Stop for a moment…

T = Take a full deep breath…

O = Observe… What am I aware of right now? … What is alive in me? Can I be with it whatever is coming up right now.

P = Proceed… What do I choose to do now that I have stepped back and been an observer of myself. The options are many…

I don’t work Fridays. By design my work-week is four days. As I’ve got so much to do right now, however, taking Friday’s off is not my choice.

Which means, I need to STOP more often to find myself amidst all the lovely things on my plate because, no matter how lovely the things, I can get lost in the busy-ness of it all.

C.C. plays hockey Friday afternoons and afterwards was watching the NHL game with team mates. When I got home I had the house to myself and in the quiet of it all found myself immersed in the joy of creation in my studio.

Saturday, I had intended to work on the final proof of the report we need to have printed this week, but I didn’t have the final version back yet, so let my plans go. I spent a bit of time cleaning up some work I needed to do and then, once finished, slipped back down to the studio to keep playing.

Yesterday, still no final proof and a great opportunity to keep creating.

But, rather than paint, I worked on the brooch bouquet I’m creating for our wedding. If you’ve never seen a brooch bouquet, check out Pinterest ideas. They’re stunningly beautiful and as in the case of my bouquet, have meaning. Some of the brooches I’m using were contributed by family and friends. There’s an elephant my sister gave me years ago, one from my father’s sister, another from the wonderful Kerry Parsons who will be officiating at our wedding.

I’d started working on the bouquet after Christmas and was stalled in that space of chaos in the middle of creation — the not finished project hasn’t had enough space to breathe and my head wants to tell me to give up. It is quite time-consuming as each brooch needs to have two wire stems affixed and spun together to create enough stability to hold their place in the bouquet.

Brooch Bouquet --  A work in Progress
Brooch Bouquet —
A work in Progress

The process is meditative. As I worked, I felt myself settling into the rhythm of creation, and even though I was watching “Romancing the Stone” 🙂 on Netflix, I found myself slowing down, I felt my breathing deepen, my heartbeat quiet.

I listened deeply to my heart yesterday. As I wired and spun and worked to create a thing of beauty to carry on our wedding day, I rejoiced in the wonder and awe of walking in love. As I carefully constructed the bouquet, I cherished the memories of each piece of jewelry and savoured the essence of the person who gave it to me and the gift of carrying them in my heart, and hands, today and every day.

It still needs some work to find its balance, some added space fillers to find its symmetry. But I’m happy. It is, like all things creative, a work in progress.

 

 

Go ahead…Click

The View Through My Window This Morning
The View Through My Window This Morning

I got blown away this morning by one short paragraph. Imagine, all it took to stop my heart, deepen my breathing and open my senses wide open to the truth were a string of vowels and consonants strung together to create a vision of wisdom for my soul to feast on.

My blog-friend Val Boyko shares a quote and photo from Zen philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh on her blog this morning entitled, That Particular Moment

The quote she shares begins with, “When something upsets you, when something happens that is not to your liking in your family or your community, you want to change it right away.”  What Thich Nhat Hanh writes afterwards is so simple, so elegant so filled with loving kindness putting it into practice cannot help but create a better world for all.

Go ahead…. Click.

Photographer and a new blog find for me, Mary Hone, shares beautiful photographs of the journey she and her artist husband, Al Hone, are taking on backroads of America with their dog and fifth wheeler on her blog, Tales from the Backroad. On Tuesday, Mary asked for help with votes in a competition she’s entered at Fine Art America. It’s a simple and elegant way to make a difference today simply by clicking on the title above each of Mary’s photos and voting (you need a FB account). You’ll make a difference today and give a feast to your eyes and all your senses.

Go ahead… Click.

Yvonne, at The Presents of Presence, is a breast cancer survivor and a woman of deep faith and beauty. In Wasting a Mind Away, she writes with loving kindness about caring for her Aunt Mable whose mind has been devastated by loss and disease.

Go ahead… Click.

Mark Kolke, the man who originally inspired me to begin blogging 8 years ago, has a blog today on a decision coming down from the Supreme Court of Canada today on Assisted Suicide. A touchy, divisive and important conversation is being held right now on our Eastern slopes to decide, do we or don’t we allow those who are standing helplessly by while loved ones struggle to breathe, ease their pain and suffering. Mark’s post, There Will Be Change, is worth the read. Let’s hope those who make the law of our land agree.

Go ahead… Click.

Have a wonderful Friday!

Isn’t that fascinating!

Sky hangs heavy
like a dream unbidden
tears fall silent in the night

photo (75)I have been working on a new art journal based on the 10 Things I would tell my 13 year old self post I wrote last week. Last night, I messed up.  I know. I know. Unbelievable! Inconceivable. But it’s true. I did. Mess up. 🙂

I came home from the office with good intentions. A couple of hours in the studio. A late yin yoga class. Bed by 10:30.

I missed the yoga class. Became so engrossed in creation, time passed unnoticed. That’s not at all a bad thing, other than I didn’t give my body the attention it deserves.  Dang. How easy it is to lose that  balance thingie when I become singular in my attention.

The real mess up, though, came in my creating.

I overworked a page.

Took it over the edge of what pleased me into that place where I kept hemming and hawing about what to do to bring it back into balance.

I didn’t really want to go back in and rework it and I definitely didn’t want to paint it over or throw it out. I actually didn’t even want to not like it, but I didn’t like it, and I couldn’t ignore my feelings nor my thoughts no matter how hard I was trying to pretend it was ok.

My gut speaks loud in those instances where I am attempting to accept the unacceptable and make it ok.

I didn’t always listen to my gut. Now I do.

I painted over the page I was working on and let it dry.

It is one of the greatest lessons in painting, and life, that I hold true.

If you don’t like it, paint over it.

Painting over it doesn’t mean I have to get rid of everything I’ve done already. It just means, creating a clean slate while allowing some of what was there to show through, to be part of the underpainting of what is happening now.

Yesterday, Val at Find Your Middle Ground wrote,

We are still weaving our tapestry of life.
We can repair and recreate into our own unique design.
Nothing is really lost. Be kind and careful with your tapestry.
Have faith that you can bring new life to it.

We are always weaving into our life, threading moments that inspire and moments that conspire to pull us out of the light. It is in our capacity to find the value in each moment and thread that through our needle that creates the difference between a life lived as a daily grind, or a life expressed through moments that take each breath away.

Last night, as I sat in my big comfy chair that sits in the corner of the studio and wrote in my journal, I thought about what was the value of overworking that page and found myself laughing at myself. As Benjamin Zander exclaims when he’s done something that is totally not what he intended, “Isn’t that fascinating!”

I was fascinated last night by my capacity to let go of being in the moment, going with the flow and trusting in the process.

In my forgetfulness, I became rigid in my thinking that I knew what I was doing. In thinking I ‘knew’, I didn’t allow space for my intuition, my creative muse, my source to guide me.

See, the reason the page went over the edge is because I wasn’t paying attention to being in the creative process. I was paying attention to the act of creating. That space where me, myself and I, compel me to get busy doing the act of creating and not be One with the art of creating.

In that space of pushing and pulling and wanting to make it happen, my need for perfection, my need to ‘make it look smart’, make it appear clever, overtook my soul’s desire to simply be present and flow with the process.

In each of our tapestries there are moments of wonder and awe and moments of’ “really? what was I thinking?”. Finding the value in all things, allows us to thread our needle with purpose and allow the design of our tapestry to be a unique expression of our lives.

Last night, I found wisdom in stepping back and allowing myself the grace of painting over. And, I was reminded that my ego (aka The Critter) likes to jump into the foray when I am least expecting him. Who knew the critter could paint? I wonder if I should tell him he can’t, or simply let him live with his delusions as I paint over the messes he creates and exclaim, “Wow Mr. Critter. Isn’t that fascinating!”