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Week 5: Day -To - Day Painting Living in the Present

To become mindfully aware of our surroundings is to bring our thinking back to our present moment reality and to the possibility of some semblance of serenity in the face of circumstances outside our ability to control. Jeff Kober

Writing on the first day of November and thinking back to the last week of July I recall one benefit to being couch-bound was that I was totally in the “now”. I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere so there was no point in planning. The tyranny of the clock was completely obliterated. The only time I needed to keep track of, was when could I take my meds, and I did that by writing the time down when I took my last dosage. There was no need for grocery lists I couldn’t go shopping, I was totally reliant on food that people brought me (and my gratitude to the people who fed me grew daily.)

The only appointment in my calendar was the follow up visit with the doctor, scheduled for July 31. The physician had told me to go home and lie down and do nothing until I came back at the end of July. I understood him to promise that I’d be healed by then. And so I hoped. I was painting these paintings and slowly increasing the time and distance of walking in my house using a cane, not relying on the walker, I was hopeful. (Spoiler alert, it did not work out the way I hoped but I’ll write about that in the next blog). ​I worked on each piece from this place of acceptance and hope, not anticipating anyone’s reaction. This week I began to start and complete one piece each day. Moving on from the homage to Bonnard, leaving behind the domestic scene, the familiarity of recognizable shapes that were used to create blocks of color. For the first painting, I used the palette knife to create the marks and shapes, creating a piece with all over patterning while still playing with and exploring Bonnard's colors, This piece feels full of bright energy.

Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live. Eckhart Tolle

If we think about the transitory nature of our lives, and acknowledge that none of us can control the relentless change in our lives, we realize that the present moment is all we have. still, we fool ourselves, we walk around acting as if we know the future and can control the outcome by doing certain things, by acting in certain ways. We are shocked into a state of honesty when we are confronted with some circumstance that we can not control. Being in the present moment and accepting my condition as it was, required me to release my need for security and to feel like I was in control. I became aware of the part of me that exists beyond planning or security seeking. This acceptance carried over into the painting. I worked directly with the colors and shapes. The piece has no direct reference to anything but itself and yet there is a place of peacefulness found here.

When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what's around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without. Eckhart Tolle

Here I set up a rhythm through the use of color and marks, it is still Bonnard's color. Again, there is no direct reference to any place and still the painting itself becomes a place of refuge. These colors seem appropriate for these hot July days. ​

There seems to be a hint of a place in each of these pieces. I think my inner experience was translated out to the paper. What experiences have you had with discovering peace in accepting your condition, whatever that condition was?​

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