New Painting and, of course, a new story. Because the painting is always about more than just the scene.
I was walking my dog Strider one of those rare, deeply appreciated beautiful warm January days. We walk up a hill commonly referred to as Heart Attack Hill. The trail traverses a water right-of-way that runs from the mountains to bring clean water to our area. At the top of the path you can look to the East and see the Cascade Mountains, and you can look to the West and see the Olympic Mountains. The walk down and then back up the hill to my friend Mandy’s house is about two miles round trip. But with the elevation, it seems like more. I usually lead the way on the first mile, and I try to keep up with Strider on the second.
I was walking back up this hill with Strider on a sunny day last week, and I couldn’t help but feel so happy. I looked around, took a deep breath and had such a sense of warmth in my heart — contentment in the current moment.
If you have read along, you know I have been working on the idea of chasing happiness. In short, I woke up one day and realized I was terribly unhappy, and I have been exploring what happiness is and how to find it the last couple of years. Through this process, I realized I was so occupied with figuring out what other people wanted and how to give it, that I never took the time to think about what I wanted for myself.
I felt guilty even thinking that I had the right to want things for myself.
Happiness comes from making what is meaningful to you more important than what others expect of you.
“All of the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor those possibilities”. John O’Donohue
It is strange to me the way the world tries to pull you into the ideal right direction. And how hard it can sometimes be to choose a different path.
True happiness lies in trusting your judgment and making choices to spend your life in your own way.
Look for the things that fascinate you just to do them. That makes you fulfilled merely by the effort of playing the game, without regard to whether or not you win.
Walking my dog makes me happy. Even up that big hill.
Making wine makes the vintner happy.
Painting makes me happy. It opens up this warm spot in my heart. Some may call it your soul. It feels real and sensual. Honestly, sometimes I cry when I paint. Sometimes I laugh. A lot of the time I sing.
It is hard and challenging to be an artist. I am working hard right now to reach a new growth level, and it is exhausting and frustrating and beautiful.
And I feel confused and exhausted and entirely wonderfully alive.
“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver