It was doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron in 1996 that brought me back to my art. I want to share an exercise I did in July of ‘96 that I’ve kept all these years. The task was to write a letter from me at 80 to me at my current age. I was 46 at the time. I offer it exactly as I wrote it 14 years ago:
“Most importantly, know you can let yourself go. You can trust. Have faith. There is a wonderful plan for your life and you are on the right path.
Heal. Be Happy.
Trust God. Drop your defenses. Relish the sun and the rain. Go barefoot. Play. Continue to write and paint. Paint and write together.
Deepen your friendships. Expand them.
Eat well. Rest. Be at peace. Anything that touches you, pursue it.
Open yourself to your own heart and soul and then to humanity. Love the masses. Learn not to judge. Understand that the universe is a magical, friendly place. Be free in it, not afraid.
Open your spirit. Let God in. Follow your instincts.
Play more, lots more. Laugh always. Delight freely. Fill your days with wonder.”
These words were like a foreign language to me back then but I read them now and my heart swells because they are describing the essence of my life. I never thought I could have peace. I have it now. I thought happiness belonged to someone else but it is mine too.
I do trust. I do have faith. They are tested every day because faith and trust are founded in belief in self and that has been the hardest part of this journey for me. That’s where I always falter. But I believe in life, which I never thought I would, and I am not afraid. I do relish the sun and the rain and, now, the snow—who knew? I need to play more. That’s never been an easy one for me. But I do understand the universe is a magical place and I’m learning to be free in it. My heart and soul are open. I love.
Every single day, as I wake up on this land, from the moment my eyes open I am filled with wonder.
And I am healing. It’s a long and deep process that will be unfolding until the day I die. But it’s been such a blessing to have something physical needing my attention because it introduced me to the whole that needed to heal.
My weakest link is self-confidence. Sometimes I worry old messages will continue to hold me hostage and I’ll never believe I’m worthy of this life, my art, my love and security. But then I read the wishes my 80 year-old self had for my 46 year-old self and I am in awe because I am living its reality at 60. Being simply practical here, I need to get over the whole narcissistic self-doubt drama and make more wishes. Because wishes are powerful and dreams really do come true.