A page from my art journal that I created when looking for answers this last week.
Most people spend more waking hours with their co-workers than their family. Your co-workers become an extended family. If you are really lucky some of your co-workers become your friends. I had a co-worker who was one-of-kind guy. Our careers ran parallel paths in so many ways that made us click and become more than co-workers. We were friends. Unfortunately last week I lost my friend to suicide.
Montana has a rampant problem with suicide. We are often number one or two in the nation per capita when looking at our suicide rates. It is a sad reality to know so many families personally affected by suicide. For RangerSir and I it is not people we know second or third hand that have been impacted by this crisis. It is people who we know as a member of our inner circle. In January we attended two funerals for victims of suicide. It has left us stunned and reeling seeking to understand. Something we may never do.
Suicide affects young and old alike. If reaches across gender and economics. It is a problem in rural and our cities. Suicide leaves behind family and friends who wonder what more they could have or should have done. There are no answers. Only holes in lives about what was possible that will not be.
I beg of you if it is a moment of great despair or if it is a long battle with mental health, please seek help. It may not feel like there is anyone out there who cares, but there is. It may not feel like there is anyone you can share your burden with, but there is. It may feel like there is no way out, but there is. Call out for help. Ask for help. Accept the offer of help. The world is a better place because you are in it.
One night coming home from work last week I was taken aback by the beauty of the moon rise. It was so amazing to see the clouds that were sneaking in to cover parts of it. I so wanted to capture it and share it. The way the clouds moved back and forth covering the moon and then not was like a magical show of nature. The colors of the night were like a blanket covering night sky and snow-cover lands alike. it was almost indecipherable where the sky ended and the horizon started. The color was a blue of melancholy, sadness, loneliness and yet so peaceful.
I talked myself out of stopping my truck and taking a picture until I was nearly home. The reasons were many for not taking the picture. It was approaching night so the light wasn’t good, but that is what made the sight so special. I didn’t have the right set up to take the photo, I had just a phone. The picture wasn’t framed right and there were things in the picture I really didn’t want. It was bitter cold and I was dressed to commute, not stand outside for an extended period of time. Dinner was waiting. The list in my mind was a mile long as I continued to look at that moon and watching the changing images as the clouds moved in and out.
I recently started a new creative set of classes for 2017 and my statement his year is: Change the Pattern of Your Life. It hit me. I was letting the same pattern of excuses make me not take a chance and see what would happen. When I was just a 1/4-mile from home I finally I just got out and took a half dozen shots. None of them will make National Geographic, but I did it. It doesn’t capture the sight as I saw it, but it still serves as a medium to share something of that night with others. I did not let the pattern of letting the same reasons for not doing something continue to drive me and prevent me from trying.
Do you let a very repeatable list of reasons prevent you from trying something? Does your selftalk sound like a parrot repeating the words over and over? When was the reason you tell yourself for not trying something a new reason, not the same reason you told yourself 100 times over? Challenge yourself to explore, do something that those comfortable reasons say not to. Don’t let the pattern of your life prevent you from living it.
If you are interested in the class I am taking samples of my creative work and information on the class can be found about it on my other blog Playing Without Limits.
Working outside the home and commuting daily allows a person to notice when the days get longer and shorter. There is a consistent time piece of our daily routine when we walk out the door, get on the highway, catch the commuter bus or train by which we are able to measure our days. We noticed day and night relative to that constant migration daily to work and home again.
I feel like I have been living in constant darkness lately. Each day I left home in the dark of night with the stars overhead heading to town and came home in the same darkness. If I was going to get some sunshine it had to be during my lunch hour. This first week of January we had vicious cold snap of subzero temperatures. One day we got all the way down to -30 at our house, and that was before we factored in the wind. I was down right miserable in the cold and darkness. Yet by the end of the week, even with the nasty freezing temps, I had found hope. I was driving home as the sun was setting. In Montana twilight lasts forever, so suddenly I was driving home in the last vests of daylight. The days were still cold, but the afternoon light was giving me hope and encouragement. The hint of days getting longer has gave me optimism and hope that no matter how cold the days were yet to come and no matter how long the nights, spring though months away is slowing making its way to my neck of the woods.
Today is another day. It is the day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow. For me is not some magical special day that I make resolutions, promises or goals tied to the new year. It is a just day. It is another 24 hours to be spent by me, if I am lucky followed by another It is a day in my life. Each one special and one of kind.
Each morning somewhere between the time when I wake up and when I actually start my day I reflect how do I want to use this day. During the time when I do the routine morning tasks of cleaning up, eating and getting dressed I start to think about what this day holds. I begin to organize my thoughts recognizing what things I have to do today and the things I want to do. I want to fully experience life each day, but I don’t want to get lost in all the externals that I don’t actively be me. I don’t want to feel like at the end of the day my existence did not make a difference. It is a balancing act. What I plan for each day isn’t the same every day. Many things influence my plan for the day, if I work or not, is there a commitment I need to fulfill or a deadline approaching, how do I feel, what my family needs, my friends, and so much more. Some days I have a simple wish, to walk more steps than I did yesterday or eat a healthy lunch. Recently my goal was to pray for a family who has lost a son and that I learn more about compassion and empathy because I can not imagine their pain. Some days it is to accomplish something at work, something that won’t likely change much of anything in the world. While other days it is do a random act of kindness for someone who I don’t know.
Most days I pick several things for my daily goals and other days I just aspire to accomplish one thing. I try to make it a mix of for tasks but sometimes I when I feel spent I just wish for a day for me. This weekend I gave myself the gift of nothing. Nothing for me is to allow myself the luxury of doing what is calling me at the moment. For me nothing can be to read, sew, write, play in my studio, talk to my life-time friend, pull my camera out or take a walk. My wish for the day can be a grand task impacting everyone I meet or just a single movement toward a lifetime quest that only I recognize. It changes for me each day.
It is not about a resolution I make on the first day of the year. Instead it is about my life list. All those things I want to see, do and change. My life list does include places I want to see and things that are personal goals, but it contains bigger unreachable items as well. Those big things, like world peace, I don’t serious believe I can change all by myself, nor will even see in my lifetime, but I want to be a drop in the water that sends out waves or a butterfly wing that contributed to a distant tornado that is part of that change. I want to waste one less minute than I did yesterday. Today I want to make better use of the time allotted to me than I did the previous day I was given. I fully embrace each day no matter what day of the year it is. I wish the same for each of you.