The positive response to my recent article titled The Grateful Artist has been a lesson in the human condition. It has also shown me perhaps for the first time in my life that gratitude is possibly the most powerful force we humans can access. What about love you may ask. What is love if you are not grateful for it to begin with?
My journey through art has been long, but it is perhaps only the past four years that I have become fully aware of this gift. There is a huge rift between the blind stumble that I went through for so long. Undervaluing the gifts that we have or not seeing them at all. It is one of our human frailties that we take too much for granted. We are creatures of habit they say. Familiar steps every day make us feel secure, but like pinballs we bounce off the hard knocks until we are practically sleep walking.
I did hear talk of gratitude opening people's eyes to their own potential. In the past that message did not sink in. Now I get the picture. I have also seen that there is a real need for so many people to wake up and realise their own potential. I firmly believe that it begins with gratitude. Fortunately gratitude does not require a big outlay. No fancy clothes, car or house is required. No degrees or endorsements and no entrance fee. Just you and I acknowledging that there is a purpose to our lives. There is something to be grateful for.
Life as an artist became possible when I took a risk. The risk sounds trivial now, but it meant confronting a fear and walking past it. For me it was simply about putting my paintings before the public. Would I take it personally if someone scoffed or if the paintings were ignored completely? Was I merely a pretender? It is much safer to stay out of sight, but that is damaging on so many levels. Not taking the risk would have been ungratefulness. We are all given something positive to offer the world and keeping it to ourselves is just not on. Fortunately fear is weak when confronted and gratefulness keeps the fear away. My worries were baseless. I did the work and let go of the angst.
Another shock to me has been the spontaneous goodwill that so many people have offered me. I have not asked for things yet they have been given. I have tried to give something of value and it has come back to me multiplied. Is there a catch? Real life still goes on. I still have to pay bills and get up and get to work. The difference is in the choices that open up when you are doing the work that was meant for you. You can say no, but it seems that I get to say yes more often to what I ask for.
Perhaps with more awareness I see more opportunity. Sometimes I still want to blame coincidence rather than anything esoteric like fulfillment of my soul's purpose. Awareness - with this comes the right to choose and be grateful.
When I finish typing this I will continue my new painting based on this past weekend's plein air work. It is a moment to accept and gently acknowledge with gratitude. What tomorrow brings is a mystery, but I have today and it is good.