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The Power of the Present (November 2021)


I am sometimes haunted by feelings that I just can't change, that I am doomed to repeat my (many) past failures. These feelings freeze me like a deer in the headlights. I avoid, I procrastinate, I pout, I become even more indecisive than my usual "keep my options open" self. David Whyte's poem "Mameen" (p49,Essentials) challenges us to look at our lives "lived and unlived" through re-engaging with the past and future through the powerful lens of the present:


"Then, look back down the path to the north,

the way you came, as if seeing

your entire past and then south

over the hazy blue coast as if present

to a broad future.


Recall the way you are all possibilities

you can see and how you live best

as an appreciator of horizons

whether you can reach them or not."


You and I are all the possibilities we could possibly imagine, we have only to get up and take "the path up high beyond the ordinary..." The present choice of the extraordinary frees us from an ordinary past and moves us closer to living life at the edge of the horizon we seek.


When I think of finding my voice as an artist and a human being, an appreciation of the perceived failures keeps me humble, still a beginner at the important things in life. Looking out at new horizons and possible futures keeps me motivated to get up when I fall and try something else or get some help! The harder part for me is staying present to the daily possibilities and choices I must make to find the extraordinary life I truly want. Spiritual reading, mind/ body practices (in need of current choices!), connection to nature and to the people who love me most are all part of finding freedom from the past and my true voice, one that moves me and others towards a new horizon, even if we never quite get there! The power to choose keeps the past from determining our future.


The digital re-imagination of previous paintings is a way of connecting the past, present and future. The whole process came about when I wanted to embrace new ways of painting (digital processes) with my past successful paintings. Many artists get stuck in their success, just repeating what sold over and over. I want to keep experimenting, using the new tools that are available now, connecting to the future in that way.


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