Yesterday’s post called “HONK!” is wistful, expressing the simple desire to be as free as the Canadian Geese I painted. Today, I feel more like this snarling lion, as I’ve read so many angry stories and my own personal events are infuriating too. The vibe I’ve picked up from most of you is the same.
Whether it’s minor irritations that drip, drip, drip into our spirits like a maleficent faucet, or major frustrations that drench us like a scathing bucket of frothing malice dumped on our heads, fury is contagious and dangerous. If we don’t protect ourselves, we may drown in our own stress and anger. And when we collectively feel rage and despair, we bring each other down as individuals.
When I find myself drawn into the chaos for too long, I pull the plug and take a break from the madness. Balance is healthy. If you feel yourself sucked in, not living your own life, and paralyzed by news events, it may be time to take back your purpose. YOU matter. You matter as a sovereign human being, whose private situations and emotions are known only to God. No matter how big and how grand the global battles may be, they are never too big to diminish your struggles, your pain, your frustrations, your hurt, or your hope for a better day.
Stay strong and know that you are loved. God bless and keep you this day and always. May the sun shine upon your face.
HONK! This is the painting video I uploaded to YouTube today. You might remember when I first shared this, and I blogged about Canadian Geese in our yard? My daughter drew these geese as seen from her bedroom window. I loved her simple, peaceful pen illustration and asked to use it for inspiration for a painting. Collaborative mother/daughter art- her vision and style combined with my painting. I plan to bring more of her drawings to life in the future.
The Canadian Geese painting above, set to music that sounds like honking, seems serendipitously timely. I often paint things that can’t possibly be current, political, spiritual, or in any way controversial until life moves slightly into the future, and then there I go again, painting trouble! Sometimes I willfully add my voice to an issue, other times I stumble into it and the connection might be subtle.
I wish we were simply left alone like these geese. See how the tiny hummingbird comes in at toward the end of the video? I’m standing very near the hummingbird and those geese. None of them seem to mind my presence. Why can’t we live in peace like this with fellow humans? HONK! I want to be as free as these geese.
The geese came back! I thought they were done visiting us for the season, but I looked out and there they were, a small group of them waddling very near our patio. They seemed to be looking in at me, as if curious about what was going on inside the house. I took a short video of one of them waddling away as if shaking his tail feathers with attitude. I used the video as a meme in a text with my daughter. 🙂
If you missed my previous stories and videos about geese, or want to see these again:
And now, I’ll explain the gift that came to me this afternoon (relating to geese!), and I’ll share my gift with YOU. Yesterday I talked about how I needed to do strenuous landscaping in a hurry so that we don’t get fined for not having the property edged, trimmed, etc. It was a heavy job because we have had alternating extreme heat and tropical rains, a combination that makes it difficult to keep up with the lawn care while at the same time making invasive plants grow like crazy, very quickly.
My husband is scheduled to work long hours, so it was up to me to get it all done. My oldest daughter was available to help and the two of us did a mammoth job. I was a bit sulky and resentful because I didn’t think the tone in the email from the property manager was called for, nor was the threat of a fine upon very first notice of this necessary. We have never had any violations before, always pay our bills on time, and are never a problem for anyone. I think the courtesy of a notice that simply asks us to do it would have been sufficient instead of going straight to “you have a violation” and if we don’t fix it before the deadline we will have further violations and fines. Good grief, it’s just a yard! Stuff grows, then you cut it. We caused no property damage, and this urgency is ridiculous.
So the past two days my daughter and I have worked together to cut and remove branches, trim hedges, clear weeds, and edge the sidewalks. We probably overreacted and did more than what was expected, but I didn’t want any more problems. I try to do MORE than expected in everything I do. We cleared all of our things off from the cement surfaces and swept everything. We bagged up the debris. All of this, and my daughter never complained. Instead she said, “I really enjoyed working with you.” And I realized, I really enjoyed working with her too.
Now, for the thing that made the experience surreal and magical:
The entire time we were working today, under gorgeous sunny skies, there was a flock of geese enjoying an afternoon with us! The serenity energy of these large beautiful birds created peace, and reversed the feeling of being judged, punished and treated unfairly, (as a pattern in life, not just this specific landscaping situation); unmerciful when I commit the smallest offense, when I’m already trying as hard as I can to balance all the challenges that come my way… No. Even when people don’t extend grace to us, God always does. I had a rare cool morning to do the heaviest labor, and a warm pretty day for the lighter load. And that’s when the geese shared the afternoon with us. These are wonderful things!
Before I show you your gift, I want to talk about perspective. There was a woman who showed up, a frequent trespasser whose family treats the property behind our row of houses (the area by the lagoon, which none of us own, and is restricted) as her personal park, even though there are “no trespassing” signs and she doesn’t live in one of the houses on our row. She’s an annoying rude person who is obnoxious, yells and then ignores her child, drives off-road vehicles through the property, brazenly fishes with her family even though that is not allowed, and so on, sometimes for hours, late at night, and even on holidays like Christmas and Easter. So all of us who live on this row are forced to see her and her rude family spread out doing whatever they like, as the sole view from our back patio windows, the only windows we have on that side of the house. In other words, there is no escaping seeing this awful group (sometimes they bring friends as well!) spread out having their own loud gathering. I’d report her if it felt like the the thing to do, but it doesn’t. It feels like I should simply close the curtains and ignore what they do. So, that’s what I do.
Well, she was sitting there on the bank near the geese for part of the time we were working outside. She was looking at and then yakking on her phone the entire time. Why bother going to a scenic place if you’re just going to look down at your phone? Did she even see the geese? She eventually left, with the phone still on her ear.
Another woman was outside, a neighbor. She was apparently alarmed by the large flock of geese getting too close to her yard. She sprayed them with a hose and yelled at them. Then she went inside. So, I guess she didn’t see what I saw. The thing is, these are migratory geese. They won’t stay long. We can choose to appreciate their beauty or not.
There are many bad things happening in the world today. And on a personal level, we all have challenges that are large, and small ones like my manic race to get the landscaping work caught up. So when we see something beautiful, that literally lands in front of us, it is a gift. It was a gift for me, and now a gift for you. I video taped what I saw and dropped music in. And now it’s like you were with me, seeing this too. Enjoy, and God bless you.
Do you remember when I shared this painting? It’s a relatively new one, from April (New Painting – Honk!). The story behind this is that two geese were visiting the lagoon behind our house every day for a week or so. My daughter and I were enchanted by them. I thought about painting them but hadn’t gotten around to taking a photo for reference. Meanwhile, she had drawn the geese while watching them from her upstairs bedroom window.
I asked her if I could use her brilliant artwork as a painting reference and I imitated her style. It was a new experience to paint in my daughter’s art style, and fun to bond with her in this way. Collaborating with other artists pushes us outside of our own habits and awakens unexplored areas of our brains. It’s even better when we share art with people we love.
She told me I can keep the sketch, and I am happy to have it. It’s taped to my computer tower so that I can see it every day. What a special memory of admiring the same beauty and mystery of nature, and spontaneously wanting to create a representation of it… then inspiring art from one (her) to another (me)! When the geese turned up out of the blue, spending peaceful days with us for a short blessed while, they gave us a gift of inspiration and shared creativity.
Be like these wild geese… be ready to fly to somewhere new (perhaps metaphorically and spiritually, not necessarily through physical travel) and inspire those you visit along the way. When we believe that one good thing is meant to connect and inspire another good thing, we manifest what we believe. Good things come to those who believe, connect, and create (act). Standing still gets us nowhere. Be a wild goose!
Doesn’t it sound like these geese are honking with the music? This may stick in your head all day… hopefully also with this light feel-good art image of the geese as well! This was a quick one-session project. Sometimes a painting is about celebrating a mood, smooth flowy lines, attitude, and simplicity. Don’t overthink your day. Honk!
I expect to have another new painting to share tomorrow. I’m on a roll! But this roll will slow down as I resume the kind of projects that require more sessions to finish the layers. So, I’ll push forward as fast as I can for now. When the layers take longer, I’ll be back to blogging more posts for the series.