Friday, July 29, 2016

Several weeks ago I had surgery on my thumb. Ugh. I had been in a deep funk nearly every day since then, hesitant to engage in any activities in which I could accidentally bump this area which would need two to three weeks to heel. Unfortunately, that choice proved to be fruitless as I would bump my thumb on random solid objects likes doors, shelves, or walls. Anyone who knows me understands my low threshold of pain and clumsiness make for a bad mixture.

I am somewhat ashamed admitting that I had become more vegetative this summer as a result of this. It became easier to have another bowl of Frosted Flakes than to head to Howard Long Wellness Center, more difficult to pick up another book to read rather than binging on some Netflix and Amazon Prime shows for entirely too long. Eventually I started to feel sorry for myself and wondered how I could pull myself out of this funk, discouraged that plans that I had made for myself were slowly slipping away as the summer crept to its end.

One Sunday evening my brother's family came to visit. My sister-in-law Lisa and niece Emily asked if I would be interested in going to Moon River Studio for an evening of "paint n' sip." The lazy and lackadaisical voice in my head screamed in agony at the prospect of doing this while stomping its tiny feet on my grand thoughts of finally doing something new and different.

I know myself though. When I enter periods of stagnation, I need to do something creative, the only way to jump start my internal motivation. This would be perfect for me: colorful paint, a blank canvas, a beautiful studio, loving family, and a bottle of pinot noir

Donning a blue apron and filling a glass with wine, I was poised to create my masterpiece. Of course, I had that block in my mind that everything had to be perfect. After weeks of doing nothing creative, I felt as if I were a dry well, so that wine and support from Lisa and Emily came in handy.

Our instructor kept telling us to enjoy what we created and realize that we are doing it in our own style. This is what will make our paintings unique. 

Lisa would inform me later that I used quite a bit of profanity under my breath when I could not paint the fence the way I wanted it to be. Emily made me laugh, joking with me that my fence was fine even if it looked like "dog logs." Another sip of wine and a slight adjustment to my self-criticism kept me focused on the final product, enjoying what I was creating as it was unfolding with every stroke of my brush.

That is what taking chances at being creative is all about. I could not help but think of my many students who struggle when I ask them to do an artistic representation of what we are doing in class. For three hours I was in their shoes, and my thumb was no longer an issue or obstacle.

Often times we all hurt our thumb, stub a toe, or scrape a knee, but we need to take chances again, slip back in front of the canvas of our lives, then create our masterpieces. The final products will be ours to complete, even if we need to curse a little, drink some wine, and adjust our attitudes to give ourselves a break when things do not go our way.

Emily and our final masterpieces

Emily, me, and Lisa - Moon River Studio

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