I’ve heard from a lot of you that, like me, you find it very hard to even begin clearing out the things in your life that no longer serve. For me, this is true of not only the physical stuff we all accumulate but also the responsibilities I take on. It is easy to get buried because it’s so hard to sift through, sort out and let go, isn’t it?
For me, I really think it all started with my license plate. I’d wanted the beautiful, new, turquoise plate ever since it first came out a few years ago but that would have meant going to a state licensing office and standing in line, so I just kept putting it off. Then a couple of months ago I got pulled over for speeding (just a little) on my way to Taos. The nice officer let me go with a warning. But he also noted the registration I’d given him was last year’s. And, search as I might, the current one was apparently lost. This meant I HAD to go to the motor vehicles department to get a replacement registration so while I was there I also picked up the turquoise license plate. I tossed out that old yellow plate I’d disliked for so long and bolted on the new. Ah, what a breath of fresh air!
I haven’t really painted in a very long time. I’d told myself that I was spending my creative energy writing. And although this was partly true, the fact is I had taken on so much that I no longer had the time or energy to paint. In fact nearly every minute of every day was allocated. I was living high-speed up here in the gorgeous mountains of northern New Mexico and my blood pressure showed it. My body felt it. How could I feed painting when I was moving so fast I wasn’t feeding my soul?
The first thing I came to recognize, with some gentle but consistent nudging from dear friends, was that the blog had consumed me and this simply had to change, for myself and for my readers. This is when I first told you about changing the posting schedule (see previous post Naked in the Periwinkle) which was quickly followed by another decision to write and post only when I felt passionate about something (see previous post Passion Versus Obligation).
And then I made the difficult decision to leave my partnership with Anna in our Anna Karin Gallery. It was simply taking too much time and energy. And it took me away from painting.
These two major steps very suddenly reordered my life. I was paring down and coming back to my original purpose. I was clearing.
When it came time for Kim to move back to his Airstream that is sitting on my land right now (see previous post A Very Mini Artist Colony in New Mexico) from wintering in Hand Artes Gallery (see previous post Living In An Art Gallery), I started looking at our soon-to-be shared studio space here in the house. I just hung out there and stared. And soon I began seeing changes. What if I moved that into the mudroom? Then I could slide that and that over there and move this here. And suddenly, without having planned it, the studio opened up and, at the same time, seemed to divide itself into two distinct and separate studio spaces. A revelation.
Which got me to thinking about writing upstairs. Wouldn’t this give us a further sense of our own, personal, creative spaces? Yes indeed it would (I’m writing to you right now from my perch on top of the world, looking out at the mountain. Why didn’t I think of this before?).
So one thing led to another and I just couldn’t help it. My eyes fell upon the mudroom. The mudroom is the room just off the studio that I’d always intended as storage space for my paintings and blank canvases. But when I moved here and couldn’t afford to build the intended garage with its upstairs room for storage, everything that had always been relegated to the garage was suddenly in the house. You guessed it: it all ended up in the mudroom. And my canvases were stuffed in a crawl space under the stairs.
So what was all this stuff anyway? Cardboard file boxes, yard tools, two tall plastic cabinets filled to the brim. But, really, what WAS this stuff? Put simply, it was anything and everything I’d never wanted to make decisions about. It was all those old legal papers and banking records we’re unsure of. Which was I supposed to save? Not knowing I’d kept them all. I just moved them with me from one house to another, one state to another… And when I started going through it all I found I’d kept almost 40 years of the stuff! An entire room full! I emailed my accountant to get clear on what I needed to legally save and I RECYCLED ALL THE REST!!!!
I moved my canvases out of their constricted, dark quarters under the stairs, into the light. I gave them room to breathe, to stretch their wings. I put them where I could see them—where my imagination could begin to play with them. And I tell you what: it feels incredible.
Of course clearing this room is just a metaphor for clearing my own psyche, for taking myself out of a constricted place, for giving wing to my own creative spirit. For making room to paint.
And as it turns out the light is so great in there that I’ve moved in one of my easels. I’m going to paint in both spaces! So I LITERALLY made room to paint too. I just love the symmetry of how the universe works, don’t you?
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, sheer beauty.
But here is the thing about clearing, about paring down to what is essential in a life: you will need to make difficult choices. And these choices can put into motion things you couldn’t possibly have foreseen.
The Anna Karin Gallery closed this past weekend. I never imagined. But the good news is that my friend Pierre Delattre is moving back in. Pierre lives in Penasco and had had a gallery in that building for many years before he moved it to Taos. But he’d always missed his place in Truchas, so he is coming back and we welcome him with open arms. AND Bill Loyd’s bells will still be offered there. And my work can still be seen at Hand Artes Gallery here in Truchas (see previous post Disparate Pieces). Anna’s paintings will be available through her gallery which is now located on the site of Bill Loyd’s Studio/Gallery.
But back to that license plate. What could it possibly have had to do with all this? Well, you see, as small as it seemingly was, it made me realize how easy it could be to let go of the things that no longer serve and how wonderful it is to take on what does.
May we all continue to sift and sort our way to clarity. And may we continually find the courage to do what is in our hearts to do.
Love to you all,