I am a goal oriented person, so I naturally like structure. I like to have set days where I go to the gym. I like to have set days where I meet up with friends. I believe having a system in place so you don't have to make decisions on the fly, and the important stuff is worked into the seams. (don't worry Type B people, I am learning the art of going with the flow).
But I have learned that it is really important to schedule rest. I don't just mean times during the day or week where you are sleeping, but larger chunks during the month or year where you are switching activities.
So this past week was a rest week for me. I cut out going to the gym, and I relaxed on some of my kindergartner's school. I designated the extra time to work on some art projects I had in my queue. One of them was a painting of a giraffe I had seen online.
So I pulled it up to find a model (I can look and draw, but I don't have great ability to draw from my mind). As i scrolled down the page to find a portrait, my eyes were instantly attracted to a beautiful watercolor head, with colors like magenta, turquoise, and greens. That was the one. Here is my finished work:
It turned out more beautiful than I had imagined. I am fairly new to watercolor, so I was open to anything from disastrous to satisfaction. I was so pleased with how it turned out, I immediately wanted to try some other animals with my wild colors. But it got me thinking, I wonder what it is about these wild colors that I am consistently attracted to...
There is something really captivating about seeing the normal through the abnormal. Giraffes are not aqua, reds, pinks and greens. Unnatural color breaches the rules of realism, and brings the imagination to life. There is an aspect of What if?
What if giraffes were pink?
What if the sky was orange?
What if we put this color here?
These of course are the What if's regarding artwork, but as we know, artwork is a reflection of our spirits and souls.
It took me several years to actually realize that there are real people who just accept things as they are. I knew that "everybody was different", and I knew in theory that people grew up with different beliefs. But it took me several years of adult life to say Ohhhh, THAT's what ____ belief produces. I am just as human, and people probably shake their head in confusion at some of the things I do.
I was blessed to have parents and other relatives who had inspiring occupations. My grandfather, dad, uncle, sister, and brother-in-law were airline pilots. They didn't work the typical 9-5 grind, and they came back with interesting stories of their travels. My step-father was the director of his own equestrian program, teaching children and adults to ride horses.What's more, I had women who had inspiring jobs. My mom and aunt were flight attendants. My other 3 sisters were lawyers, accountants and actresses respectively.
The sky was the limits. I wanted to be a marine biologist, a geologist, a paleontologist, a fighter pilot, and actress and a horse surgeon. I had no limits to what I could be. The word "can't" was not practiced in our home.
While I learned that my passion was not flying, I remember my dad repeatedly offering to pay for my flight school, should I change my mind at the end of my fully-funded Bachelors journey to become a pilot. There was never a doubt in his or my mind that I would pursue and achieve excellence. I politely declined his invitation every time, knowing it wasn't my passion. However, it did keep the proverbial door open for What would my life be like if I was a pilot?
So when I encountered people during my health coaching job with a "That's just the way it is" perspective, I couldn't understand it. People would be describing an issue, and I would ask them, "what do you want to do?" Some of their responses sounded something like this:
I guess that's just the way it is.
What can I really do?
You just don't understand the way things are.
I furrowed my brow at people who spoke like this. But my frustration waned and my compassion grew when God showed me that they were just doing what they knew and believed. And as for me, life happened and I began to understand. I climbed the mountains of life, fell off rocks, broke bones, was abandoned by friends, and wondered how my life looked so different than the wild dreams I had as an adolescent. I remember the one of the saddest days of my life was when the thought of I wished I had never dreamt. I suddenly knew more about how risky it can be to see another perspective. I knew what it felt like to give up, and the sad feeling of wishing I had never hoped to begin with.
Do you have a friend who sounds like this? Are you that friend? Perhaps you need a fresh perspective on an old situation. It is scary to hope and dream. Really scary. But where the risk is, the reward is also.
When we see the world with open doors, we have hope for change. When we encounter a problem in life, having hope means we can imagine what we would like things to be like, and then move towards it. When we have the perspective of Well, that's just the way it is, I can't do anything to change things.... we relegate our power to external circumstances. Don't get me wrong; there are circumstances that we can do absolutely nothing about. And I am also not speaking of completely ignoring the fact that God directs our steps, and seeking guidance and direction for our lives. I am also not talking about being the god of your destiny. But I am talking about the truth that God gives you more say than you may believe, and he wants you to dream.
What challenges do you face today? Perhaps it has not been just today, but for years. Can you formulate some What if's for your circumstance(s)? I will help get you started:
What if I had 3 wishes?
What if I had 1 month to do anything I wanted (paid for), what would I do?
What if I had 1 million dollars?
What if I had no fear?