Starting Over

Right now I sit in silence, enjoying the quiet before this evening's slumber party festivities commence. I am looking forward to having a fun girl's night with my dear friend Tanya and her two girls, Katarina (age 10) and Sofia (age 6). At the grocery store I purchased pizzas, ice cream and Twizzlers - all of the usual slumber party staples. I almost threw popcorn into that mix but decided that was a bit too over the top. Besides, I'd rather stuff my face with more ice cream. I have completed a few more paintings and now have six finished. They will take some time to fully dry, so I am doing research on varnishes and continuing to work on other paintings in progress and begin new ones. There are still many times when I sit and stare at a canvas, not knowing what to paint, but all it takes is a reminder that I can always paint over anything I don't like. One of my largest paintings - the one that marked the beginning of my letting go of doubt and anxiety and just enjoying the process (and loving the result) - is actually on a canvas that went through a number of layers before the final one. There is no erasing with oil painting, but there is always the option of just painting over and starting anew.

Is this a metaphor for life? If we embark upon a journey and don't like what we see, what we are creating or what we are experiencing, can we just paint over it and start anew? In some ways, yes, but the layers underneath will always exist, even if they are not seen on the surface. I believe everyone has a story or experience that exists just beneath the surface and exerts a profound influence on their daily lives. I know this is true for me. There are certain experiences, both good and bad, that continue to guide me through so many of my decisions, choices and actions, from the seemingly mundane to more complex dilemmas and situations. As much as I possibly can, I try to stay focused on what my deepest priorities are and act in those best interests. It is not always easy or convenient, but I have learned time and again it is the best way to live. Once that focus is lost, it is all too easy to become lazy and indifferent. I feel blessed to have such convictions and priorities for which I am willing to work hard and even fight for. Life feels FULL and abundant with endless possibility.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide