The paintbrush is more human than willpower


Dear Friends,

How do you move from resentment to acceptance and graciousness?  Have you ever been in a situation where you know exactly what stage you need to be in next, but just can’t seem to get there by will alone?

I find that I really resent the extra time it takes to deal with my chronic challenges:  because I don’t sleep well, I often need to be resting 11-13 hours a day just to get 8 hours of sleep, which is barely enough for my needs.  Add to that the 20 minutes here, the half day there, and the “only 10 minutes” everywhere, I end up living in the struggle between what I have to be doing and what I want to be doing.

I have been overwhelmed with the backlog of daily chores, emails, and “stuff”  that have accumulated while I was away at Dr. Estes’ training, and while I was in Calgary for an extended family get-together.  Also, in hope and excitement, I signed up for a 10-week online course that includes more painting and writing. (You know how it is:  it was a REALLY good idea at the time!)  Then “there’s always the unexpected” nature of life, the unexpecteds which usually need more time and attention rather than eliminating a chore or commitment.  In this category are the two summer online courses that Liberty has taken in the past 3 weeks (two more days to go. . . ) which promised to occupy him and free me up, but have turned out to completely stress him out yet draw me in as chief organizer, calmer downer, and cheerleader.

Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day, and life continually intrudes on our best laid plans.  I seem to live in this fantasy that if I only didn’t have my chronic health conditions and their pain and fatigue, that I would have enough time to “get it all done” — whatever that means!  But of course the problem isn’t the arthritis, etc., (well, they really are problems, but. . . ), the problem here is higher aspirations than human limitations can fulfil.  I guess one could also call that greed — always wanting more than you have, but I’m sticking with “wanting to do more than is possible in this situation.”

There are always stories about individuals who do the “impossible,” who overcome huge obstacles to achieve a goal.  I respect those people, but the stories also contain the undertones of what they had to give up, or what sacrifices their families made to help them accomplish what they did.  Those heroic stories are ones of single-mindedness and focus.  I don’t have a life where I can or want to be single-minded — I have many goals, not one overarching all others.

In my earlier life I lived the Hero’s (Shero’s?) story.  We’re often led to believe that that’s the only or best story that there is to live. I’m feeling that now, though, I need to live with another story or two.  I know what will and grit will accomplish, but life isn’t asking that these days.  Sheer will power isn’t going to accomplish acceptance.  That’s like trying really, really hard to relax more.  (Been there, done that!)

The painting and art journaling are really helping.  There’s been a transformation happening in my last three major paintings that I’ll talk about when I post my next painting and poem.  While “the pen is mightier than the sword” is pithier than what I want to say, I’ll still tell you that the paintbrush is more human than sheer willpower.

Thanks for joining me in thinking about these things,


2 thoughts on “The paintbrush is more human than willpower

  1. Audrey

    Wow, Cat, you are such a great writer and I can hear your voice when I am reading your blog. Love it, love it, love it! You ARE accomplishing lots of great things by the way!


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