Monday, January 31, 2011

Feelings and Reality

fine art by Lori Levin
"Bending Over Backwards"
Acrylic on Panel
Email to Purchase

I just returned from the market. Another storm approaches the area and everyone is talking about it. Some people complained and others made jokes. In either case, more winter weather is on the way and there is nothing we can do about it. If you don't like the cold or driving in snowy conditions the pain is coming but should you suffer?

It all depends on the story you tell yourself. So often we say we hate winter and want spring to arrive. If only the ice would melt we would be happy. That's the tale we tell ourselves. What if we were to spin it another way? Could you imagine everyone smiling and saying how they love to make soup on blustery days or not being able to spend time outside gives them time to focus on fixing up their home? Or better yet, after a season of running the kids around they are enjoying just watching old movies and wearing their favorite flannel pajamas.

I'm learning that what is is. If I attach a negative feeling to a situation that is the story I tell myself about it. It drags me down like an anchor and I have only myself to blame. However if I decide that fighting with reality is insanity and I create a positive emotion to connect to my experience, life becomes lighter and brighter.

To take it a step further, I can even take each feeling and question it against what I know to be provably true. Most feelings do not stand up well to fact. When I take that approach, life becomes curiosity and my world is full of possibilities.

The trick is to be able to do this when feelings are overwhelming. That takes planning. When feelings look like truth and you are ready to believe your own bad press, it is wise to breathe. Breathe deeply and call a friend who knows the real you, not you mired in emotion.

If all else fails there is always chocolate. Where did I put that brownie?

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Long Is Too Long

Fine Art by Lori Levin "Icy Edge"
Acrylic on Panel
Email to Purchase

My last blog post discussed fear, the difficult times we all face and how this artist deals with these feelings. This touched a lot you and I received many email responses. Many were like Ivana's, who left a reply, saying sometimes her art takes her out of the depths but other times it is just easier to keep falling. I relate to this very much.

I'm always fighting myself. Sometimes I feel I must push forward and not allow anything negative to stay around long. Other times I just let it happen and practically bathe in it. It is really hard to know which path to choose and how long is too long to be unproductive or down.

Personally I try just to learn something from those moments and focus on the lesson. That way, whether I push or fall, I come away richer for the experience. The times that frustrate me most are when I don't learn the lesson. Then the pain must be presented to me again in hopes that I get it this time. I believe that is how the universe works. There are key things we are all meant to learn and we will be faced with them over and over again until we get it right.

The greatest lesson of all is that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. It's easier said than lived. I'll write more on that next time. I look forward to your comments.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Soulful Touch of Winter

landscape painting by Lori Levin "Beginning Or End "
Acrylic On Panel
Email to purchase

It’s been a while. So much water has gone under this bridge since my last post. Fans of my work often comment that what a relief it must be to be able to use art to deal with my emotions. Most times it is. However, sometimes things can feel so overwhelming that my ability to connect to a feeling long enough to paint it stops dead in its tracks. The longer that goes on the worse it is for me and my creativity, not to mention healing.

We’ve all been there. Everyone shares a time when life is just too much. We do everything we can to mask the pain and just move on but it follows us like a stalker needing a fix. Sometimes all we can do is just let it get ugly and entertain our pain. Feeding it and letting it blossom to see what it is really all about can sometimes lift you out of the fog so you can move forward again. The old saying about it getting darkest before the dawn is true. Many times fear of clarity gets in the way and just as the pain is about to get its darkest we run only to have to face the same pain again.

I’ve learned the pain won’t kill me but fear will. Fear is our greatest enemy and most times it comes from within. Learning to investigate it, live in the discomfort and make decisions based on the one’s integrity rather than the fear is the greatest lesson of all. For me it has been the most challenging, painful, fascinating and empowering experience. This is the freedom for which our souls cry out. This is where peace can be found.