The Best Reminder I Ever Received

yin yang

I was sitting alone on my lawn feeling frustrated, angry, sad, and depressed. For several days I’d avoided people and refused to make any commitments. I wanted to be left alone. While the details leading up to that difficult week have been forgotten, one general theme stuck with me: I’d begun to reject the notion of myself as a creative person. 

Like I said, I was sitting on the grass and out of the blue I heard “You are here to live in joy.” I turned to see who had spoken. No one was there.

I didn’t know what to think, but I knew that I’d clearly heard the words.

My self-imposed time out gradually came to an end. I resumed tasks and for the next 25 or so years, I worked at a job and at being a wife and mother. Once in a while, I’d think about that afternoon. I read a couple of books about how to feel joy, but I never really did it. Not until 2018.

The message is delivered again.

I’d purchased an online painting class and the book Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks was on the recommended reading list for the class. I bought the Kindle version of the book and started reading. On page 8 in bold type I read, “You said, I will live in joy.” 

In the paragraph that followed, I read:

You said, “I will go forth into the physical time-space reality among other Beings, and I will assume an identity with a clear and specific perspective. I will learn to see myself from that point of view, and I will enoy being seen as that point of view….You said, “I will love pouring myself into this physical body, into physical time-space reality, for that environment will cause me to focus the powerful Energy that is me into something more specific. And in the specifics of that focus, there will be powerful motion forward—and joy.”

I didn’t know what to think. But I kept reading.

On page 23, I read:

By paying attetnion to the signals of your emotions, you can understand, with absolute precision, everything you are now living or have ever lived. By understanding your emotional connection to who you really are, you will come to understand not only what is happening in you own world and why, but you will also understand every other living Being with whom you interact.

Now, I felt stunned. Here someone was saying that my emotions could help me understand myself and what was happening around me. I’d been trained through all the years of my life to control my emotions, hide emotions, and to insert logic before emotions in every circumstance, because reason and logic (as we’re also taught) are reliable while emotions unreliable and lead to Trouble.

Fast forward: Why was that the best reminder ever?

Because I’m learning to honor my emotions and when I focus on feeling good, I FEEL good and things go well for me. When I let negative emotions shatter my focus, I don’t feel good and things don’t go as well. These things are true. No exceptions.

Disallowing and misunderstanding emotions are only ever what holds me and you apart from feeling good, living with more joy in our lives, and CREATING the lives we want to live.

With every thought, we have a choice to make. When thoughts are:

  • Should I trust myself?
  • Do I know enough?
  • Am I smart enough?
  • Am I worthy enough?
  • Is fate working against me?
  • Do I deserve ________?

You feel negative emotions. When you choose to not trust yourself or feel worthy, or when you blame fate or someone else, you feel negative emotions. These negative emotions are not signaling us that we’re wrong or bad or stupid. We feel negative emotions because we judge and value ourselves based on what we perceive others will think about us. Always.

Feeling emotions is the way to understand with absolute precision everything you need to know about you and what to do next and next and next. By paying attention to how you feel and understanding that when you feel bad, you’re going against yourself for no good reason, it becomes easier and easier to live more joyfully.

I don’t expect you to take my word for any of this. You shouldn’t.

Power Play

We learn through experience. If you want to learn to create you life deliberately, check out Ask and It is Given or listen to Abraham Hicks on YouTube—when you’re ready to believe in and trust yourself.

Why an Artist’s Date is Worthwhile

Matisse Still Life

Still Life with Pascal’s “Pensées”, oil on canvas by Henri Matisse, 1924. Minneapolis Institute of Art.

This is my birthday month and I’ve decided to focus the whole month toward being happy as much of the time as I can. Why? Because I know feeling happy is a state of mind that I have control over. I can choose to be happy or not and feeling happy has benefits. A lot of other things just seem to work out better. I made a list of 26 things that I feel happy doing. My list includes:

  • Looking at the sky and cloud watching
  • Painting
  • Connecting with my adult children
  • Listening to music
  • Looking at other artist’s paintings
  • Buying art supplies
  • Artist dates

I’ll add more things to the list as I think of them. I’m committed to being intentional about doing at least one thing from my list every day and to pay attention to how I feel as the day goes on because I know I can choose how my emotions impact me. Noticing how I feel is as important, maybe even more important, because it’s so, so easy to let other influences (people, events, circumstances) hijack even the best intentions. I’ve had lots of practice doing just that. Now, I’m going to practice myself into the momentum of feeling happy just because I want to. I’m also keeping a record of good things that happen every day, because noticing the good things that come to me will be fun and it’ll be a reminder of the benefit of a positive mindset.

I took myself on an artist’s date.

Julia Cameron launched the idea of having artist’s dates in her book The Artist’s Way. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it amounts to setting aside time every week to do some fun, simple thing: go to a museum, see a movie, visit a garden center. Artist’s dates are time designated for having FUN and maybe also being inspired. These dates often bring insight and teach us things about ourselves as creators.

I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and spent a couple of hours strolling through rooms filled with paintings from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist periods. Some of my favorite art was produced by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and John Singer Sargent.

Paul Gauguin Tahiti

“Tahitian Landscape” by Paul Gauguin, oil on canvas, 1891. Minneapolis Institute of Art collection.

Sargent Moorish Courtyard

“Moorish Courtyard” by John Singer Sargent, oil on canvas, 1913. Minneapolis Institute of Art collection.

An “aha moment” and why this artist date was so worthwhile.

I’ve seen the MIA collection of Impressionist paintings before but as I stood in front of a piece of art by Paul Cezanne, another of my favorite artists, it dawned on me that an artist’s reason for making art is a game changer. Not all masters are highly skilled technicians. What masters do is use their natural talents, skills, and tools to work out problems. They find solutions that other artists can adopt and because the new knowledge is shared, art advances.