Are you impossible?

Watch me paint this eagle taking down an owl in under 1 minute (time lapse)

Are you impossible? Sometimes we describe a stubborn person as being “impossible”. We may not be fully aware of times when we are ourselves impossible- TO ourselves. Often, it’s a spiritual battle we’re fighting and we would be much happier if we’d only understand the type of war this is. We are often at war with ourSELVES, and are our own worst enemy!

We may tell ourselves that something we want or need is “impossible”, when it’s really OURSELVES being impossible. Consider this… name anything you want that you don’t have, any place you haven’t gone, a job you’ve not done, or any other unfulfilled desire. Why do we not do the things we long to do?

  1. “It can’t be done. It’s impossible!” (and yet there are examples of others who have found a way to do it)
  2. “It’s too hard. It’s impossible!” (and yet we make no attempt to learn how, become stronger and more capable, or ask for help)
  3. “I don’t have time. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!” (but some people have much busier schedules than we do, yet manage to do much more)

The truth is:

  • It CAN be done.
  • Nothing is too hard when determined and persistent.
  • There’s always time for what’s important to us.

So if we’ve not yet done what we want to do, we must ask ourselves why, and let our answers be honest. If we have no money, have we tried to raise it? Have we taken on an extra job? Have we asked others for help? If it’s time we need more of, have we stopped wasting valuable hours by cutting back on unimportant things? Have we made ANY changes at all in the direction we want to go? If not, why not?

If we are weak, weary, or of ill health, have we put together an action plan to become stronger, rested, and well? Have we found a way to manage any physical limitations? Have we learned about resources for help and assistance? If not, why not? For what we declare as “impossible”, others have done. Perhaps some of these others have more hardships and limitations than we do, yet have accomplished what we have said was too hard, impossible.

If, after analyzing the situation, we decide that the honest answer is any of these:

  • “I don’t want to work hard enough for it”
  • “I don’t want to make the time”
  • “I don’t want to face up to my anxieties or fears”
  • “I don’t want to work on my health, financial situation, or any other obstacle”

…if our answers are any- or even ALL- of the above, then we don’t really want it badly enough. At this point, if we don’t let the matter drop, the situation isn’t what’s impossible, it is WE who are being impossible. For when we know in our hearts that we will never choose to act on what we think we want, we have no business being envious of others who have it, or in sulking as a victim of circumstance.

How we live is a choice and it’s up to us to be held accountable for our own happiness. If we determine that something is “impossible” (because we don’t want to commit to what is needed to make it happen, or because we don’t want it after all), we must then let go of the desire to have it. We must accept that the door is closed, because we have CHOSEN to close it. For whatever reason, we have determined the situation to be impossible, and now it’s time to make peace with that decision.

If we cannot make peace with our decision, we will stagnate. We will be prone to jealousy when we see others pass us by, living the life we wanted. We might fall into a state of bitterness, resentment, and self-created depression. All of this would not be because we are victims of circumstance, or because our situation is impossible. It would be a result of US being impossible in our attitudes.

When we let go of that which doesn’t belong to us, and make peace with life’s disappointments, we are in good practice for how to handle bigger things, such as an extreme crisis or heartbreaking grief. We have learned to live a disciplined live, in which we hold ourselves accountable for our own happiness, and can therefore rise to the challenges that come our way with the strength and calm that we need to survive. And best of all, holding ourselves accountable for our happiness lends itself to being happy! We don’t just “survive”, but THRIVE!

Peace through Strength

Watch me paint this Eagle and Dove in 2 minutes (time lapse)

When I re-share my oil paintings they take on new meaning depending on the state of the world and our individual perspective at the time of viewing. How has your definition of “peace” and “strength” evolved over the past two years? Your answer may be different if I ask you from month to month, day to day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute.

A healthy human condition is fluid. Our emotions are malleable. “Malleable” has two basic definitions (wordnik.com). The first is “capable of being shaped or formed, as by hammering or pressure”. This is normal and helps us grow. We adapt and respond to hardships, challenges, progress and regression. We are flexible and responsive to changing environments, lifestyle and health status, and political climates. This is the good, productive kind of malleable.

The second definition for “malleable” is “easily controlled or influenced”. This type of human condition endangers the future of mankind. It makes possible the reality of mass psychosis, in which the majority of the world’s population believes things that are false, that have relatively low risk of lasting harm or fatality compared to other risks. They then submit and might even become irrationally, unquestioningly loyal to an extreme solution that creates more hardship, suffering, and death. Oftentimes the lower risk of inaction (allowing a crisis to organically resolve without coercion or tighter control) is the more logical choice, but it requires bravery to ignore the bleating to act when people want swift solutions.

“Peace through Strength” is not a concept exclusive to world governments and military. Modern warfare relies heavily on psychological weapons that are directed not only at armies, but tragically at the civilian population, including children and the elderly. When a populace is controlled or influenced to turn their backs on their own nation, institutions, society, values, neighbors and families, the war has been won by the enemies of the People. For it is the people who determine how much wealth their rulers can siphon from the backs of their labor, and it is the people who either see the profit motive behind their rulers’ mandates or are blind to it. It is the people who submit, comply, and allow to be overtaken. When the people agree to enslavement, the objectives of the (tyrannical) ruling class is reached.

When we are strong, the need for a physical rescue may be unnecessary, thereby achieving a peaceful outcome to a confrontation or a coercive breach of our human rights. Indeed, a crisis may be averted before it even takes root, never escalating to the point where more dramatic measures are required to resolve the situation. Peace through strength is possible, even when it seems that the situation is too far gone. Telling ourselves that it’s “too late” or we “can’t do anything”, is an excuse for an unwillingness to try.

When we are easily controlled or influenced, our spirit and purpose is hijacked. We are distracted and diverted from our true predestined path when entities attempt to change us. We do not deserve this interference in our destiny. But if we stay off course indefinitely, we do so willingly, because no one can take away our free will. Being influenced requires consent at some stage. No matter how difficult it may be to stand firm in one’s own beliefs when broken, standing alone, ridiculed, shamed, and threatened, it is nonetheless possible. It requires strength.

Ordinary moments test us. When we feel uncomfortable in a conversation, are we strong enough to do the right thing? Are we resolutely silent when it is best to let an issue go, and honestly outspoken when it’s best to intervene? Do we do the right thing even when it’s difficult, or do we submit to the cowardice of the moment? Do we let the fatigue of the era overwhelm us, or do we dig in deep and persevere?

It may seem inconsequential, but even the smallest decision matters. The energy of our individual strength rises to empower us collectively. We are not a collective, who do not matter as individuals. We are individuals who make an extraordinary impact collectively. If we are individually fearful, beaten, broken, hopeless, discouraged, depressed, sullen, resentful, bitter, and hostile, we drown each other. If we are individually strong, we bring peace to all.

One of the truest paths to peace is for individuals to nurture their personal human strength and potential for courage. Be strong in mind, body, and spirit. A healthy and positive outlook generates energy. This energy creates an unwavering desire to remain free. Tyranny has no fertile ground for roots to grab hold when the garden of our soul is built on solid rock. Choosing to be free is that rock.

When standing in even the smallest of crossroads, making what seems like an insignificant decision about whether to get exercise or skip it, whether to eat a nutritionally healthy lunch or not, whether to work passionately on a project or slump through the hours, whether to take time for a real conversation with a loved one or mutter unimportant things we’ll never remember later, whether to wear the clothes we save for “good” or pick something from the dull front part of our closet, whether to plant or uproot what has been planted, whether to do something extraordinary today, or not…  imagine an eagle and a dove in flight. There are no small decisions. Every act of integrity adds more light to the winning column for humanity. Choosing to be positive is act of integrity. It takes effort. It takes strength. If others may mock you for it, it even takes bravery.

Peace of mind, body, and spirit comes through strength of character. It comes through the courage of standing in our personal, highly individual values; values that have these points in common: integrity, empathy and mercy. It comes through the bravery and energy we put into everyday decisions to choose hope, joy, love and freedom. Be as a dove, by first becoming an eagle.

Eagles Fly

First, two oil paintings, then the story behind both… make sure you don’t miss the challenge I’m offering you!

Watch me paint Eagle and Dove in the video above, and Eagle takes down Owl in the video below, in two minutes (time lapse)

“[during the painting of ‘Eagle and Dove’] light began dancing on the canvas (32 second mark, when I’m painting the sky), moving where I was trying to paint. It definitely got my attention because it was distracting to paint while that was going on. My guess is that the outside hummingbird feeder was swaying from either the wind or overzealous birds, and the light bounced off of it into the house, creating a light show on my canvas. However it happened, the result was light on my painting. When unexpected distractions occur while creating, an artist may choose to take a break from the work, or work through it. Regardless of what path is taken, disruptions and detours change our experience, and potentially the outcome of our art. Self-actualization can make the difference for whether or not the outcome is positive.”

– from blog series Compare 3, “Painting Light”, by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Update to the above story…

Here, I was only talking about distractions that happen when trying to create art (and applying those momentary lapses in control to an overall philosophical pondering about life in general), but what I was not addressing is the type of distraction that occurs at the inspiration stage of art (or any type of planning, even if deciding whether or not to have a second cup of coffee).

But if I were to consider these two paintings more carefully, Eagle and Dove and Eagle takes down Owl, I’ll remember that I was influenced by outside events and other people when I was inspired to create these art compositions. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. As I shared earlier in the Compare 3 series, blog article “Painting Music“, new work benefits from collaboration, and that was true of “Eagle and Dove”, which is also known as “Peace through Strength”. But obviously people wouldn’t be able to find my eagle paintings unless I offer a title with the word eagle in it, so I have since created an alternate title that I now use.

This is another example of distractions and outside influence. I changed the title of my work- and that’s far from the first or last time doing this- because I’m responding to what words people need in order to find and connect with my art. It’s good to be flexible and make sound marketing decisions if one’s goal is to share art and make connections. Compromise in the area of cooperation is healthy. Compromise in the area of vision and values is dysfunctional.

Eagles fly. I was looking back at my pictures of eagles. I took this very sad one, of a caged eagle who was being rehabilitated after a gunshot wound. Look at the information sign mounted along the fencing, in the second photo.

Caged eagle (for rehabilitation) at Wesselman Nature Preserve 2017 in Evansville, Indiana USA

Eagles are meant to fly. After surviving a horrible ordeal, it may be rehabilitating to be caged for a short while. But it’s always important to return to the wild as quickly as possible.

I’ve experienced positive exchanges through the modern age of instant worldwide digital communication. Even the negative experiences have helped me grow (and this includes when I was targeted by terror groups). I don’t regret life’s winding road, and how it leads me to where I should go. But, when does a road become a hindrance, a detour, or even a dead end?

When we become aware of how much influence others have over us, we may realize that we are no longer flying. We are grounded, caged, or even dying. When our will to live is slowly whittled away, we may not even realize what’s happening until it’s too late. Humanity thrives on creative spirit, freedom, and unhindered access to nature, quiet, and God.

There may come a time when social media is recognized as dysfunctional and abusive. Has that time come for you? It did for me. I closed most of my accounts and I’m not active on the few that remain. As a result, my art has changed. I didn’t realize the influence of social steering on me, as I felt I was capable of rising above it. But awareness of restricted freedom does not set one free. Awareness alone is not enough. One must break the chains. I don’t regret painting art like “Eagle takes down Owl“; it was a reaction to world events and the culture of the time. I’ve often contributed to the historical time capsule, and I’m honored to do so. But a balanced life quickly counter balances when influence is too heavily weighted on the spirit.

As humans, are we meant to be caged? Should we chain ourselves to our screens to the outside world? What about our connection to our inner selves, and our spiritual channel to God? What happens to us when we ground our solo flights through life? What happens when our every thought is influenced by other people, events as portrayed by other people, and agendas that are presented with skewed or even manufactured perceptions by other people?

Healthy communication is about sharing. It frees humanity to speak from the heart, without restricting how many words it takes to say it. Short, clipped words are dynamic, powerful, and addictive, while also more prone to miscommunication and hostility. It often takes more time to say something that is healing and beneficial, while one word can tear down a soul. 

This is what I wanted to present to you as a challenge today. May I suggest that you stop reading and posting on social media for one full week, or as long as you’re willing to last? Perhaps begin with a single day. An afternoon? An hour? Try what you can handle and see how you feel. If you accept my challenge offer, you may be surprised at how freeing it is to be released from the influence of so many voices in your ear.