So Much Past Inside My Present

My car broke down this past Sunday. It’s a ’99 Honda Civic that I bought about 7 years ago from a used car dealer. I’ve decided it’s not worth investing any more money into the car, and I am donating it to charity. Even though I will do fine without this car, it was a tough decision. The car has served me well these past seven years, but I don’t really have fondness for it. As a matter of fact, the memories that come to mind the most are the crazy abuses it has received. After the first time I discovered that someone slammed into it when it was parallel parked, leaving a dented hood and scratching most of the paint off of the front bumper (but being polite enough to leave the Honda emblem they knocked off on the hood of the car),  I was never surprised, nor did I really care if I discovered a new ding, scratch or dent. I considered driving it a practice of non-attachment to materialism.

 

Car_700
R.I.P.

 

It’s interesting that I have mixed feelings about letting it go. So many memories attached to that car, and it will serve me to let go of many of them. But the past is coming up in interesting ways with this vehicle. For example, we cleaned out the car today and discovered my old art portfolio packed away in the trunk. I’ve been revisiting old art work of mine and there is a mix of emotion coming up. Why was I so afraid of my artistic side for so many years? Why did I hide it away in the trunk of this car? And then there are the feelings of regret which have been visiting me lately…why did I not follow through on art school? Why did I make such a drastic decision to drop out? Why did I not choose to go to study science illustration at University of California, Santa Cruz, when I was accepted? Why was I constantly running away and hiding from what brought me the most joy? I can ponder these questions and stay in a hurt, judgmental, dark place…. OR,  I can let go. Forgive myself and my past, and thank it for serving me and helping to build me up to a new place in my life. This is what I am choosing to do.

 

Tiga
I painted this watercolor in 2005. It’s a scene from a sailing trip I took in the Virgin Islands. This is Tiga, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever that sailed with us.

 

As I let go of the old, I am finding myself opening up to something new, and that is the saying, “I deserve.” I deserve a reliable mode of transportation. I deserve a car with a working radio and power windows. I deserve a happy and stable home life. I deserve financial abundance. I deserve to paint to my heart’s content. I DESERVE JOY.

 

Pansies
I painted these Pansies in 2005 as well. This was done at Longwood Gardens in a botanical illustration watercolor class.

 

We are interesting creatures. Our minds will latch onto almost anything to keep them entertained. Even if it’s negativity and drama. Everything can be going smoothly in life, but notice what stays on the forefront of your mind. Notice what you want to tell people when they ask how you are doing. Is it something immediately negative? I’ve been doing this lately. If I am really speaking from my truth though, my life has gotten very easy this past year. I am so beautifully blessed with many unexpected gifts of abundance. But I’ve been in this pattern of survival mode, with many years of having to get through one tough time period to the next. My mind is somewhat confused by the stillness, equating the sudden peace with boredom. Why are we so afraid to feel our joy?  Brené Brown speaks of the tendency of fear to pop up into our joyful moments in an interview with Oprah. It is essentially an instinctive reaction to knowing that joy won’t last, so we keep ourselves from fully embracing it. Well that seems rather silly! Why not bask in it when life offers you joyful moments? Brené Brown also says the number one way to combat that fear instinct and to open ourselves to letting in joy, is gratitude. I deserve and I am grateful…these two tools are what I am working with the most right now. I am also taking out my old artwork, signing it proudly, and getting it framed, as one way of forgiving my past. It is, after all, a part of my present, and for this I am grateful.

 

Lightning
I believe I painted this watercolor in 2008. This was my neighbor’s Burmese Mountain dog, Lightning. Lightning ate an entirely vegetarian diet believe it or not.

 

 

 

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