Janet Pearlman

Living in the Stream of Yes

Rewards in the Flow

Moment at Mint Spring, 16 x 20, $475

Moment at Mint Spring, 16 x 20, $475

I want to remember that there is a rainbow after a storm. Don’t you? I want to remember that good flows when I process something unwanted and discover what I do want. Isn’t the flow of life wondrous!

Here is an episode from  

my life a few years ago– my experience with an art class describing how I soothed myself through the discomforts that arose and the pay offs that surprised me. Read on…

For each session we had painting homework. At, first I spent just an hour, then at the last assignment I devoted five hours in creating the piece. In my art sessions outside of class, I might spend 5 hours on one work but less intensely not in 2 or 3 days in a row. Several times during the intense home projects I would suffer, reaching to apply the class lessons- beyond the comfort zone, beyond what I felt I knew, not unlike walking in a fog feeling for landmarks. When I concentrated and applied a technique,  I usually felt ok. At a pause, looking at it, inside my head I often judged myself and then suffered. Between classes I would have thoughts running like “I don’t know what I am getting from this class. I want to believe there might be something…” I called on my will and persisted.

During the final homework  between hours 4 and 5 I broke through some frustrated inner space. I declared to myself, “Oh for Heavens’ sake I am going to focus on having fun.”  In bold strokes I applied more layers of color and let myself flow bringing life to this piece that had been feeling stilted and dull up to then. Stepping back, I liked it. And it felt great to return to pleasing myself. I let go of “trying to” please the teacher, to embrace her perspective.

In that last class when the teacher critiqued this creation, she exclaimed how she liked the color, and she loved the water. Animatedly she noted how much I progressed during the class, evidencing an integration of the lessons. Success!

But that is not the punch line of this blog. When I returned to painting I took up two landscape pieces I had put aside before the class, thinking myself “stuck” about how to improve them. I worked on them with vigor, renewed energy and applying new tools. When I paused to view them, I saw a new level of skill. I brought them to my weekly art review session with a dear friend. She gaped and said, “Wow”. Truth be told when I looked at them I cried with release. I really impressed myself!

Going through this class part of me wanted quite frequently to quit and as I have recounted, I experienced uncomfortable feelings along the way. In this process I did not know clearly what the “pay off” would be. At times I felt like the woman shoveling excrement in the barn saying, “There must be  a pony in here somewhere.” I followed the guidance that led me to take the class and continued.

Dear Reader, I had not thought my painting would improve as much as it has. Please take away that going through contrasting experiences, discomforts, even tragedies, may have unforeseen rewards for you as you persist. Very good things, satisfying things,  might come from what you do not at all prefer. I recommend using the ideas for soothing yourself from last week’s post and reaching to feel as good as you can in each moment. Life is a journey: keep going. Pay offs abound!

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