Tell Me What Love Is

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The Burning Bush, the painting above, is a watercolor painting I did some time ago.  I chose it to share today along with the first two paragraphs from the book I’m writing, Tell Me What Love Is, because this painting is the closest to what I felt when I finally admitted to myself that the unhappiness I was feeling was really a yearning to recover the sense of self  I lost while married to a man I became unable to stand up to because of fear.

My memoir is about how I finally take the steps to recover what I lost, the strength and courage to “face the dragon”, and along the way, to use all the challenges and tests which come my way after that to look within.  It’s a story of how I finally am able to know that the only enemy, the only obstacle to my happiness is coming from myself.

For anyone wanting to delve into your minds, to see more about how we sabotage and hurt ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs and judgements, this book will shed the light on all that obstructs us from what we all want, love, joy, happiness, peace and gratitude.

So, here’s a quote from the first chapter of my book:

I’m feeling like a freight train out of control, like I’m heading down this steep hill loaded with all that excess baggage I’ve been carrying for at least five years, and then at blue streak speed, being forced to a halting stop. A painful stop. Bawling uncontrollably, sitting on top of the suitcases I just packed to leave him, the rage that left me headstrong and so sure of myself suddenly reverses directions, and now I’m feeling insecure, humiliated, and full of shame. I’ve become defeated.

What is wrong with me?, I wonder. Why can’t I stand up to someone who undermines my every desire? Where is the courage I always took for granted? How have I become this—a weak casualty of a domineering husband?

 

  

New Beginnings

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I chose this painting to go along with sharing a new beginning that’s occurring in my writing right now.  First, the painting.  I painted Bosque del Apache right after a divorce and a move to a new apartment.  Whenever I go through major changes in my life, I find myself wanting to experience new beginnings.  This painting is a result of having bought two new gessoes, one gold, the other red oxide. The cranes are coming to nestle for the night at this location they come to every year during their migration.  I’d painted with metallic paints before, but just as decorative touches.  In this painting, the gold gesso is the predominant color.  It’s a departure from how I’ve always painted, and the first of several I experimented the new gessoes with, therefore it is a new beginning.

Now to the writing.  As I’ve written on my blog, I’m in the midst of writing a memoir.  I was almost finished when several serendipitous happenings caught my attention.  First a friend of mine texted a website for authors to me, sharing that she’d read not to write in a passive voice.  I then went on Amazon to look for a new book to read, and, somehow, I was directed on my computer to a full screen view of a new Oprah selection.  The book is a memoir and is titled “Love Warrior.”  I figured if that book had appeared in such a strange and powerful way to me, I better read it.  I loved the writing in this book so much, I felt jealous.

Then I pulled up my book on my computer to check for places where I’d used a passive voice.  I found some examples, but what blew me away is that for the first time, I saw that I’d been writing my book in the past tense, while the book I felt jealous of is written in the present.  Aha! I say to myself.

Now I’m starting my book over, tackling a new beginning.  I’m finding myself writing more authentically, becoming more honest, and getting new ideas of what to include to say what I want more powerfully.  The present tense is forcing me to “tell it like it is”.  I’m having fun, and the work feels more like play.  I’ve found my voice.

I’ll share some of the book later.  In the meantime I’d really appreciate any comments and I would love to answer any questions you might have.  It would really help me to know what interests you most.

Until later, thank you for visiting my blog,

Love, Doretta

 

 

 

 

 

Change

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Have you ever noticed that when something unexpected happens, or when you take action unexpectedly, that you feel your heart racing, your stomach tightens, your sense of self feels vulnerable?  That’s a good thing.  It’s an opening for more possibilities to enter your life.

That’s what was happening to me when I painted the picture above.  I had just quit a job to devote myself to painting full time.  It wasn’t a well planned move, nor was it rational.  Throwing caution to the wind, this painting turned out to have the feeling of being free from the sensibilities I wanted to be able to finally overcome.  I had finally given full reign to my emotions instead of “having to”, “should”, “must”, or any other fear based thoughts which had kept me from surrendering.

I’m finding that creativity depends on being vulnerable.  I have been writing these blog posts without any plans.  I pick one of my paintings to inspire the words and ideas I want to share.  It’s a lot like, when you want to spark your imagination, just go to the dictionary and pick any word.  That word will take you to unexplored places in your heart.

Creativity also depends on change.  If you aren’t mixing up things, you grow stagnant and what you do becomes boring.  An artist or writer or anyone else wanting to create something new always needs to find that one spark to motivate them.  You don’t have to put your whole life in jeopardy to accomplish what I did with this painting.  You can prepare yourself beforehand by making friends with change in your life, to let go of all fear by opening up your heart to trust that Divine Providence will step in to guide you, and then begin.

So what if this time you don’t meet your expectations?  Do it again.  Allow mistakes because sometimes those are the tidbits of the light that takes you in the direction of what you couldn’t know would be even better than the way you thought you should go.

More about change next time.  In the meantime, I would appreciate questions, comments and feedback.  Thanks for visiting my blog!

Hiding

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As I was looking through pictures of my paintings to post on my blog, I came across this one.  I painted this several years ago while my life was changing and I was facing challenges.  When I paint, sometimes I don’t understand what motivated me to paint what I did at the time.  In many of those instances it might take several years to realize what I couldn’t have before.

When I first painted the woman in this painting, at first her image was dominant, then she began fading , becoming muted into the background.  I write this as if she played a part in the actual painting of herself, and of course an image in a painting can’t do the painting, but she represented what I was feeling and it was the feelings  deep inside me that led the decisions I made painting.

I realized today that she had faded because she’d been going into hiding.  So apropos for what I want to share today, because she was me as I allowed fear to cause me to run into hiding while in the midst of a challenge.  When we dismiss our fear by hiding rather than confronting it, we lose that part of us that is alive, creative and inspired.  We sink deep into mindlessness, doing out of rote and necessity instead of out of a higher calling of purpose.

And, even more dire and harmful circumstances can evolve when we aren’t connected to our higher vibrations of love and peace.  It’s not because we’re bad that this occurs.  It is because fear creates more to fear.  In my case, each time I tried to hide to stay safe, I experienced physical repercussions.  Luckily none were severe and life-changing, but they did cause me to question why this was happening to me.  In each case I investigated, I discovered the fear that had sent me into hiding in the first place.

In the case of this painting, the fear was one of being afraid to move forward.  Actually, that was the same fear I have had countless times, but I’m stubborn, I guess, because I had to allow the fear to stop me so many times I finally was able to get the message that not doing anything about the fear would end up like this, the fear producing more situations to fear.

So, if you want to be free of fear, listen to it, tell it you know you’ve been afraid of this before but you’re no longer going to let that fear stop you.  Then take one step to confront the fear.  Providence will take over after that one step, or after several more steps, but those deliberate steps you make in the direction of what you once feared will melt the fear away.

 

 

Curiousity

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When we were as young as this toddler above, curiosity was something we practiced every day.  We were open to learning.  It was exciting to discover.

As adults, we have formed opinions, we have built judgements based on what we think is right and what’s wrong, and we have taken on beliefs that have been passed on to us.  Our thoughts run the gamut of ways that we have used in the past to keep us safe, to remind us how best to act, and, sometimes, they are self critical.  All this thinking keeps us from new possibilities, from new perceptions, and seeing anything creatively.

We have lost the art of curiosity.  We are no longer open to learning.  We are so satiated with all we’ve experienced and seen that we no longer look to discover.

I’m not saying that we have to start over.  The point I want to make is that, maybe, there’s more.  Maybe, if we were open to it, we might discover a better way to do something.  Maybe, if we were more eager to discover, we would come upon something innovative that would make our lives more meaningful.  Surely there must be a better way of being when we realize we’re not as happy with our life anymore.

The world is in a state of flux right now.  A lot of us are questioning why there’s so much more tumult in the world today.  There is a lot of change going on now.

The only way, in my opinion, to get through all this change is to begin questioning.  To begin to be curious about everything that impacts us.  To allow ourselves to not take everything so seriously and to open up to possibilities.

We get the choice to focus on what we want to.  Choose to focus on something that excites you.  Be curious.  Open yourself up to discover more.  Learn more about yourself and what makes you happy.

You’ll be glad you did.  You’ll discover more and be led to more possibilities for your life.  You’ll free yourself from the mindless chatter in your mind, and you will be happier.

More about this later.  In the meantime, I invite you to ask questions and leave comments. Thank you for visiting my blog.

 

 

Reflections

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I’m in the process of making a blog design makeover.  I also want to continue writing about change.  Change is a constant.  From one moment to the next, each moment is different in some way.

When we resist change, thinking, “Oh, no, I don’t want to go there”, you’re perceiving something that scares you.  Think of it this way, say something comes up in your life, like for me now, when I realize I have to make changes on my blog in order to be able to achieve all I want for the blog.  My first reaction is, an emphatic, “No way!”  I’m no techie, I don’t know what I’m doing with all that, I’ll fail miserably.

Well, guess what?  If you want to go forward, there will always be something that scares us to do.  Take the painting above.  I got to an impasse after I painted the woman on top.  How was I going to best express the woman in the water at the bottom of my painting?What did I want to convey?  (I can’t remember, but I think that what scared me was having no idea what I wanted to convey.)

I let the painting sit for awhile…not too long to encourage more fear to come up.  And, if it had, I would’ve jumped right back into the painting and would’ve taken one stroke at a time, each step closer to something that would inspire to continue.  Baby steps, one after another, always lead to BIG changes.

The inspiration for what to do with the reflection of the woman in the water came out of these baby steps.  The idea came from deep inside myself, from feeling like my not knowing what to do was telling me that this reflection was complete as it already was, a line drawing in ink I’d made before.  All that was needed was the transparency of the water to finish the whole painting.

Fear is an indicator that you’re focused on the future.  Once you let those thought dissipate, try to talk to yourself, tell yourself that there’s just right now, and right now you can try something out.  If it doesn’t work, that’s okay.  Now you know what doesn’t work.  In the next moment, try something new.  Something happens that’s amazing if you keep at it.  At one of those moments, an idea comes out of the blue, one that excites and thrills you, and you feel more powerful, more unlimited than you ever have.

This blog is about going from ordinary to extraordinary and there’s no way to get there without risk.  Try it, see it as a choice instead of a challenge.  And then play and have fun with it.  Change will never be the same spooky and intimidating experience ever again.