Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 NIV)
Yesterday, I posted this black and white photo of my canvas, as a little April Fool’s day joke. But in reality, I was struggling with what to do next. This self-proclaimed challenge of adding an element a day to the canvas for a whole year was losing it’s charm. I had been away for a week soaking in the California sunshine, snapping photos to add to the project upon my return. I had missed the daily routine, but also savored the break. Still feeding my creative soul, but in a different way.
When we got back home, the end of March was closing in, and I had been at this challenge for ninety days.
From the beginning, this particular idea of showing up to the canvas on a daily basis reminded me of how I approach a whole new year or month or day, and even the turning of seasons. I want to know what’s next!
Over the years, I have learned to be in the moment, but when a new month approaches, I get nervous and restless. I start questioning my life’s purpose and if I’m “doing” what I am supposed to be doing. I let the questions simmer, and I toss and turn at night. And then I wake up the next day, asking these same troublesome questions.
I brew my cup of coffee and sit with the canvas. I tell the questions to take a break. I think about how each day, I do show up to the canvas and my life. And the worry doesn’t change a thing. The thing that makes a difference is acting on what is indicated.
On Thursday, I was sorting and clearing out the accumulation of paper ephemera and fodder that I had collected for future art projects. I am a collector. Each item was inspirational in the moment, but now needed to be released, to open up space for fresh energy and focus for my creative pursuits.
The same is true with my daily routine, some things were inspirational for January, February and March, but now they need to be let go. Fretting about tomorrow, and what will I “do” with my life may be useful for a few moments, but engaging in the now is what truly frees me.
I took a stack of comic papers that I was saving for someday. I ripped them into pieces and glued them to the canvas. A little bit of humor. A way to laugh at myself, and how hard I try to get it right most days.
Today, I woke up again. With coffee in hand, I began thinking about the month of April stretching out before me, allowing anxiety about the future to consume my thoughts. I gazed at the canvas. Would I get back into the daily routine, of just showing up, responding to the colors, using what was at hand to add another element.
No, I was planning ahead, wondering if I had the design right and analyzing whether the composition was leading me in the correct direction. Then I noticed something. The morning sun was adding an element to the canvas. The light was shining through parts of the painting. Mesmerized, I contemplated how I could capture this beauty.
After awhile, I knew that I didn’t know how. And really, I couldn’t. A photo would have to be enough. I shared my frustration with my husband. Verbalized my angst about life and the canvas, and confessed, I just want to know what’s next.
I jumped out of my chair, and called over my shoulder. “That’s it. I know what I need to add to the canvas.” I grabbed a bottle of red acrylic ink, contemplated a couple other colors, then set them down. I knew my first instincts had been good in the past, so I committed to the red. I came back to the canvas and added the question: “what’s next?”
And I was satisfied, that my existential questions would be answered in due time.
Like probably tomorrow, when I show up to life and the canvas again, and ask the question that is indicated: “What NOW?”
Journal Idea: Write for five minutes about “What’s NEXT” then write another five minutes about “What NOW” (Or make a collage for each of the topics)