Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here I Am!

To begin this blog, I'd like to introduce myself by sharing a speech I wrote for a college class in the fall of 2002.

Ursula K le Guin wrote, “It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

I am a traveler through life. I am also an artist and imagine my life as a painting which has many paths in it. Of these paths some are decided by anothers actions, some are chosen by me, and some cannot be known until they appear suddenly. Each path colors my painting differently. Ms. le Guin’s quote means a lot to me now because I’ve experienced the disappointment of an unattained goal. I have learned that it is very important to enjoy the “painting” on the way to the goal for the direction could change in an instant.

This baby book represents my past. My parents chose my initial path and began my life’s painting during my conception, birth, and subsequent upbringing. Throughout my childhood I began choosing my own path and painting my own images of music, creativity, helping others, and loving nature. My heart’s desire at 16 was to be like Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie; to live on the land and raise a family. At 19 I was married, farming and had a one year old daughter. Then, one August day, life as I knew it changed abruptly when my daughter drowned. My direction was altered overnight. I was completely unprepared for the effect her death had on me. I eventually left my marriage, beginning a new journey.

When I compare my current goals to those of the past I find that they have changed, yet elements of the past still remain in the painting. Even so, I have realized that what Emerson said is true. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” This collage represents my life in the present. The intent now is to paint my life in a way that really matters, not only to me, but to all whose lives I touch. My focus is learning to teach others the value of creativity and expressive art for a healthy and fulfilling life; tools for designing the life they imagine.

This blank canvas represents my future. To me, the future is invisible. I may have goals and dreams which I journey towards, but I really have no idea what will eventually come to be. Just as I never imagined my daughter would die so young. When I think of my future I see a canvas full of potential and opportunity, open space for the colors of my life that will be painted on it as I imagine it. I also know that there are those unseen paths along the way, but my reaction to them has changed. Yes, the dramatically altered path can be challenging and sad. I know. But I look at all the young faces around me and am gladdened, for they are the canvas of the future waiting to be painted.

So, my life painting began with choices made by others, yet I was eventually able to choose most of the paths. The unexpected events that I had no power over altered my direction and colored my life in a way I didn’t choose. But, I decided instead to enjoy the process of painting and not just focus on the goal. Thus, I have a very colorful life, painted by all my experiences, both chosen and not. My future remains a blank canvas and only becomes painted with each passing moment. Upon my death my painting will be complete - at least in this world.

I leave you with this thought: Henry David Thoreau once said, “This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.”

I ask you, how will you paint yours?

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