Friday, July 19, 2013

I Think Therefore You Are

As you walk through my front door, the first thing you see is an acrylic abstract painting that I did about 15 years ago. It's not uncommon that interpretations are made when my guests see it for the first time. There are those who see the same thing and those who have wildly different perceptions. Some takes are at odds with what I knew, felt and attempted to express at the time. Today, cosmically, they make sense.

This painting was the first I ever had an inspiration to do and, to tell you the truth, I was a little intimidated of putting brush to canvas. I had never painted before. Yet, something told me at the time that this was exactly what I needed and was supposed to do.

Taking Back My Life
It started after we moved to Florida from Montreal. I felt alone and uneasy in my new surroundings. I was starting over in a strange place devoid of family, friends, familiarity and the culture I had known for my entire life. I became anxious at one point, and started suffering from panic attacks. On the verge of calling my doctor to get a prescription, something stopped me. 

To this day I still don't know how or why I came up with this, but I decided to go to the local art store and buy a canvas, brushes and acrylic paints. I chose the colors that attracted me and went home, already beginning to feel better. That night, after my son had been fed, read to and tucked in, I turned a kitchen chair upside down and placed it on the dining table - my first easel! Then I turned on the radio to a classical music station. Without preamble, save a quick drawing in a sketch book that I quickly transferred to the canvas, I began to paint.

"Happiness, emptiness, defeat, love, escape, sadness, fear, elation, acceptance, anger, hope and angst," are some of my friends' takes on the emotions behind the painting. Then there are the comments about the subject matter; "I see two snails." "Are those two ovaries?" "It looks like an owl." "Is that a waterfall?"  "Looks like fire and brimstone at the bottom."

Everyone thinks they understand this painting. They do.  And they don't. It is about happiness. It is about sadness. It reflects life and death. It conveys hope and defeat, elation and angst. Notice that the word or is of no consequence. Life is, after all, not one or the other. And what we see - at least what we think we see, is our frame of reference - nothing else and of no one else.

There are times when we're so sure of why we didn't get the promotion or why a friend has become distant. We look at strangers on the street, in the store, at the bank and they seem unhappy, or angry. We decide they are, so they must be. The problem here is ... we're not inside their pictures or their heads. We think, therefore they are. We limit them based on our own preconceived concepts and assumptions.

Consequently, we limit ourselves while changing the course of history.

This happens when we assume that we know their story; we shut down the possibility of getting to hear it, first hand, from the author, the originator. Without ever realizing it we change history using our own observations to alter the course of life. We are powerful beyond our own comprehension. 

Enjoy sharing your interpretations of modern art hanging in museums, or discussing the latest fashions paraded down a cat-walk, but tread lightly when it comes to matters of the mind, spirit and soul. I may be what you think I am, but chances are, I'm not.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Your Path of Destiny

The high road is not always the easiest of journeys. It takes great inner strength. Yet, most do not realize that it takes even more energy to travel the crowded low road.  Some move along at a brisk pace, out of breath, heart racing and uneasy, while others slowly and painfully as if carrying too much invisible weight, so it's not always noticeable to the untrained eye who is traveling which road.

There is a silent often indiscernible trade off, and few are aware of this and succumb to the ways of the low road, figuring that both are difficult in one way or another. The cave-in point for some is the idea of keeping a confidence when speaking will give them the inside edge and a lot of money. For others it's allowing a deal to take place at the expense of a friendship. And for others it's remaining silent, while co-workers have a grand time blaming and bad mouthing a fellow co-worker, because they want to be a part of the larger, more popular group. These low-road people are incapable of traversing the high road because they don't fully understand the results of their actions.

If you draft a comparative chart dividing the low and high roads,  and take into consideration the following points, it gives a clearer picture:

LOW ROAD                                                   HIGH ROAD                        

Mental Fatigue (carrying too much old baggage)    Productive Mind (dumped old baggage)
Cluttered Mind (old baggage overflow = no room)  Creativity (abounds with an uncluttered mind)
Mind Chatter (mentally & physically unhealthy)       Inner Calm (healthy, peaceful demeanor)
Friendless (alone due to gossiping & untruths)        Befriended (thinking the best attracts others)

Road Signs

Surprisingly, road signs are plentiful for both -  the less-traveled higher path and the over-trampled lower. The high-road exits and side streets abound with plaques leading to:  Integrity, Peace, Health, Full Life, Friendship, Success and Happiness. The lower roads are filled with another type of signage: Complacency, Old Baggage, Blame, Disease, Failure and Isolation.

Neither path is easy. Both give behavioral-based results. Considering that both take energy and are learned behaviors, how would you answer these questions?

Parent: Do you believe in teaching by example? Do you want happy, well-adjusted children?
New-Age Scholar: Do you believe in the law of attraction and apply it to your own way of life?
Executive/Entrepreneur: Do you believe that honesty in business dealings will affect your ROI?

Life in Review 

We have a pretty good idea of what went right or wrong with our lives based on present circumstances. Everyday results from present and past actions are the indicators. What remains oblivious to most is what our own roles have been in creating it. The mind is responsible - good, honest, pure thoughts, or otherwise, is what creates our lives.

Safe Journey
Road maps give routes and alternate routes, but only you can navigate your destiny - the unique path that you travel in your own personal life.

What's it to be - high road or low road?

Wishing you a safe journey ...