I decided to have a private getaway with my paintings before my cousins and I took to the road for our cross-country trip. I whisked my babies 40 miles east of the city into seclusion where we could spend some real quality time. With the exception of eating, sleeping and bathroom breaks–all I did was paint from Friday evening until Monday morning.
It is really crazy how much my priorities have changed since I have become committed to being completely honest with my life. I imagine telling my former self about how I am now… with the exception of a few inflated and misunderstood past expectations I had, I believe that I am now the person I have been waiting to be.
I used to spend all day long on the computer, working and clicking back and forth between Facebook and a plethora of other sites promising more job opportunities and a million other ways to make money. I wanted to make more money. I wanted to have money just to have it. I thought when you made your money yourself, it was supposed to give you a sense of pride in yourself and make you happy. I thought, “I’m spending the majority of my time working. I am taking this time that I will never have again and I am trading it for money, therefore money must be an equal substitute for time.” That idea mixed with the impatience I had been feeding and adapting to my whole life led to a heartbreaking cycle of trying to buy back the happiness and clarity I could have gained had I taken some time off.
I spent so much money. I bought so many things. When spending my money on myself didn’t make me happy, I tried to spend the money on other people. That was just as disappointing and even more confusing. If this money that wasn’t making me happy couldn’t even make someone I loved happy, then why I am trading my life away for it? Why am I living my life for a business? Why do I have to ask for days off? It is my time that I will never have again, my life that I could die at any moment in, and I have to ask permission for my own time? Wow, my life is such relief now. Even sitting here now I notice how quiet, calm, and one-voiced my mind is, when in the past it was a crowded room of uncertainty and fear.
It’s times like these that make me wonder if that’s how other people feel as well. Are others plagued by what they can only perceive as strangers in their mind? I think of it as a wild mind versus a trained mind. My mind was most wild when I had a career… I am very good at learning how to do things to the point where most people thought I had it all together, but in reality I was going through the motions–doing everything right, but never understanding why. In the past eight months that I would have spent working as a TV producer and I have worked on learning myself, my mind and my inner child.
I am usually a huge proponent of being natural and free, but as a musician and hobbyist of the hula hoop I have learned that the entire reason one is trained to do anything is to reach a meditative state in your action in which your brain quiets down and all within you becomes unified. I am working now to continue the training of my inner child. I note my bad habits, short tempers, and things I want to work on as they happen. I am meeting myself honestly and no longer making excuses or feeling the need to incessantly explain myself. I am quieting my mind and living my most peaceful life at the moment.
After creating a canopy bed of safety for my paintings in a storage shed in Glendale, I locked up the shed and allowed myself the coming month to focus on the present, family and music (and probably some drawing too). We set sail for Southern Illinois, three females in their twenties, and a car as a packed as it could be in consideration of the space that our bodies would take up. We drove into the night, headed for a place that I had told myself I would go to since I moved to the southwest seven years ago, Sedona.
I read about the spiritual powers and energy vortexes in this beautiful place for so long, but never found the time or patience to go. How appropriate that at this point in my life, I finally went. We hiked and witnessed the magic of the red earth and rocks that surrounded us. I couldn’t help but see faces in the rocks, more and more lately I have been seeing everything in everything. Animals in the clouds, the torso of a human man in one particular tree in Hollywood, my natural hairy legs as strong tree trunks, and now these faces in the rocks to prove to me that everything on this planet is the same. There is energy and life in everything and we are all the same.
After that day, we were happy just to be on the open road and did driving/sleeping shifts. We slept in the car at rest areas and brushed our teeth with our water bottles. We looked at the US turn from southwest to midwest, watching the rocks and huge open skies become fields and hills and trees. We watched the land change until it started to feel like home. We finally made it to St. Louis to meet with my cousin, who is the sister of my two cousins that I rode with, and had a beautiful night of catching up and laughter while it lightly rained on the rooftop of our outdoor seating area.
Our trip still wasn’t over, though, and that night, with just me and my cousin/best friend/now-former-roommate sleeping in the front passenger seat, I drove us another couple hours home to our destination. Clay County, the Village of Louisville, population 1200–I am so glad for this newfound patience.