Thirty-one days ago I made a decision to try and alter, or disrupt, or shift myself away from a rather depressing track that had been building over the past months.
All of this pandemic stuff, and the negative news surrounding the state of this planet, was weighing heavily on my psyche.
I needed a major attitude adjustment.
When I thought about what I could do, I began to think about what made me happy. Don’t we all, at our core, just want to be happy?
So, I decided to immerse myself in art for the month of August as a means of welcoming familiar joy back in my life.
Art makes me happy.
There was no official plan, but rather the will to re-familiarize myself with my camera, refocus my writing, and reacquaint myself with my paints. I had also selected a number of books to reinvigorate my sense of art, or of self.
I chose to use the word “immersion” rather than challenge, because this was not a test as much as an observation (life already has too many challenges). It meant paying more attention to what I do, or how I create, or the process of my process.
So, each morning, as soon as I woke I would write for half an hour (at least). I then set out, usually with my camera, and continued the practice of a morning walk that had become a habit since COVID-19 set in.
Over the month I went to the gallery weekly, and I thought more about art. I read more about art and I simply did more art.
It was a conscious decision to make it matter. It was a conscious effort to avoid the news and to involve myself, in a deeper way, in my own life.
It was a conscious effort to be happy.
One of the most satisfying projects I involved myself with each week was that of what I now call “mindful non-judgmental painting” where I would climb on my bike and take my paint box down to the lakeshore and simply paint.
Each session I would sit at a now-familiar picnic bench, look out at the now-familiar scene, and paint more what I felt than what I saw.
I will, today, do the same thing. It makes me happy.
At the time of this writing, it is still to early, and to dark, to see if there will be clouds, but today I feel like painting clouds.
But really it doesn’t matter to me if I paint clouds, or a tree, or the lake and sky and Toronto Island off in the distance.
What matters to me, today, is that I paint.
What matters is that I create.
It matters to me.
It is a process.
Repetition is part of that process.
The focus this entire month has been on art; not on the results but on the reason. I have many paintings and poems that are still not complete (some may never get to that state) but that does not matter.
It matters only that I tried, or had the patience to try.
It’s probably still to early to see if this month-long immersion has had the desired effect, but I’ve got the patience to see if it has, indeed, worked.
Happiness is a process.
Patience, above all else, is the most important part of the process.