On August 18th of this year, I stepped into ‘retirement’. That was a bit more than three months ago. Three months have gone by! How time flies! So far it’s been an interesting experience.
At my retirement party, I was asked about what was next for me. My response was a true Ginette response, of course! I tend to be quite an open book, maybe a tad too much at times. My response went somewhat like this… “First I want to put my energy into re-building myself, my self-confidence. I’ve done quite a number on myself in the past few years and I want to change this. Once I’ve done this, I’ll see what comes next.”. I said more than this but that is the gist of it. It’s been more than three months now. How is this re-building job going?
As I contemplate this question, I realize that perhaps ‘re-building myself’ are not exactly the right words and maybe not even the right intent. Firstly, these words are heavy with judgments. Secondly, they eradicate any forward movement I might have done in the past few years. And finally, these words are telling me that I’m not good enough as I am right now and that until I have achieved this ideal goal of re-building myself and my confidence I cannot enjoy being at peace with myself. What if increasing being at peace with myself was the ideal goal? Wouldn’t the rest naturally follow?
In the past 3 months, the necessity of accepting myself as I am has become very evident. This is the first step. It makes no sense to want to change things about myself if I haven’t yet accepted myself as I am now, today. Interestingly, this is something that is happening naturally within myself, bit by bit. I’m surrendering more and more to what is. I’m aware that this is happening on a very small scale and that I have a long way to fully accepting myself as I am. However, I am moving in the right direction and I choose to celebrate this. That in itself brings me peace of mind. In this now moment.
Do you observe yourself? I mean as if you are a separated entity from who you are in your day to day activity, without judgments, just observing yourself do what you do and think what you think? I do that! I didn’t always do that but I find myself do this quite regularly now. There’s so much information I can gather about myself when I do observe myself without judgments. It is usually information that can help me, if I so choose, in navigating my inner and outer life better.
One of the things I’ve observed about myself lately is a need to loosen up in my art practice. I realized that there is something holding me back. Back from what, I’m not sure. But I do know that I’m not putting ‘myself’ on my art journal pages. Art journaling can be a powerfully therapeutic practice. I know this but I have yet to reach that in my own practice. There’s a definite struggle taking place there.
The need to let go of control comes to mind.
Then I think of another ongoing struggle that permeates a great part of my life: the food addiction, health issues related to body weight, wanting to lose weight and never reaching that goal, and the resulting reduction in mobility and consequently the quality of my life. It occurred to me yesterday that I was putting a whole lot of pressure on my self in the way that I judge myself and in the way that I burden myself with unrealistic expectations. I’m relentless with myself. In my mind.
And again, the need to let go of control comes to mind.
The truth is the more I try to control something, the less control I actually have. This is not news to me. I’ve known this for a long time. Or did I? As Laozi said long ago: “To know and not to do is not yet to know.”
Art… Life… What is the link? There is a link there for sure! Letting go of control. Loosening up the grip on my art and on my life. What does that mean? How do I do this? How do I learn to trust myself to the point of surrender? That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? To trust ourselves to the point of surrender? TRUST, then, IS the answer. Indeed, it is!