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The Art of Surrender

I have always thought of myself as very left brain orientated and not very creative. At school my favorite subjects were maths and accounting, art used cause a lot of angst and I gave it up at the first possible chance. I always wished I could paint, sing and dance there seems to be something so appealing and freeing in being able to glide through the air on your toes or sweep a paintbrush over a blank canvas and watch it come alive. My paternal grandmother was a ballroom dancer and my maternal grandmother was good at water colors so surely there should be some spark of creativity lurking somewhere beneath the surface of my being??

This year has been all about stepping out of my comfort zone, saying yes to life and trying new things. Generally this causes a lot of anxiety and apprehension but in the end it is always worth it!

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I wanted to join a 6 week painting class, the very thought of it made my insides curl into a knot, but I said yes without giving it too much thought, that was on a Friday, the class started the following Tuesday. The whole weekend I wanted to pull out and back track, Tuesday arrived and to say I was in a bit of a state would have been an understatement! Anyway I went along with a picture of a simple sunflower and probably the smallest canvas I could find. The first few classes were okay, I was more tense than relaxed but starting to get the hang out it. Well eventually by week 5 I had finally relaxed and really enjoyed the class, while painting I could almost feel my body start to relax and realised that nothing had to be perfect, if it didn’t come out exactly as hoped that’s okay, it might be even better!  This is a bit like life, this theme of perfection seems to be coming up quite often and I’ve written a lot about it lately. I really never thought I was a perfectionist, I don’t mind a little bit of mess and if things aren’t in their place it doesn’t really bother me, and I’m quite happy in old jeans and a T-shirt. However I have come to realise that control and perfection go hand in hand. I would like to think I’m not a control freak either but my body tells a different story. I know when I’m trying too hard to control things because it shows up in extreme tightness in my jaw and my neck and shoulders. If we are always trying to control life or the outcomes of life are we not indeed perfectionists? Perhaps the image I feel I have to portray to the world is one of perfection, always having to keep it together,  holding onto to things too tightly, ensuring everything goes according to plan. The ironic thing is that nothing in life so far has gone according to plan! What if instead we saw life as a blank canvas, an endless realm of possibility, you are always going to be led in the right direction so instead of trying so hard to control the outcome or predict the future why not just let the river of life take you to where you are meant to go, let each step be a beautiful part of the painting, bright, colourful, joyful filled with enthusiasm and gratitude. Perhaps life would be pleasurable instead of stressful.

A few weeks ago I was on the Artists Way course and we had to write about our God concept, it feels appropriate to end off with it here:

“There is a deep, strong force of love that is working for us not against us. If we let go, surrender and trust, we will be led in the right direction. Doors will open, synchronicity will unfold and magic will happen. Who are we to think we are in control? What a relief to let go of all resistance. What a relief to surrender.”

pic 4 art of surrender

*First published November 2016*

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