Sunday, October 18, 2009

The First Attempts... Vincent Van Gogh

"The thing has already taken form in my mind before I start it.

The first attempts are absolutely unbearable.

I say this because I want you to know that if you see something worthwhile in what I am doing, it is not by accident but because of real direction and purpose."

~ Vincent Van Gogh ~

No truer words have ever been spoken.... "The first attempts are absolutely unbearable." Truly. Think about anything of import that you have ever done in your life, and you will realize that this has been so. I have a great many of these things just ahead of me.

By now everyone knows what is going on in my life. The intense, heartbreaking, over the top grief that will befall me at any moment when my mother passes, and the numbness thereafter, and then the walking through a portal into my new life which includes many things I've long dreamed of and never knew I'd have, the excitement around that, and then the bowling ball that drops in my stomach and says, "And then what?"

I was sitting here the other day feeling the whole gamut of emotions surrounding everything above, and because I am trying my very best not to dwell on the choking sorrow that will overtake us all any time now, I tried to move into plans about my future and the dreams coming true, at least some of what I see as the foundation for making the bigger dreams come true, and all of a sudden I thought, "Oh my God, what I thought were the 'dreams come true' were only the beginning, the tip of the iceberg."

I think of having my own little home with a fenced yard for my dogs and room for a wonderful garden. I am already arranging the fiber studio in my mind, and my writing room/study, and having room to breathe, time to write more, and finally, at long last, getting back to my fiber work -- spinning, crocheting, weaving, doing free-form one-of-a-kind pieces and re-opening my etsy store as well as selling locally and putting my work in some galleries in town, and all of those things, all of my work and a life of my own, a kind of freedom that I've always wanted, suddenly terrified me.

Okay, so I get the house and move, I get a new (to me, newer than my 17 year old mini mini van that people look afraid of when I pull into a parking spot next to them at the grocery store. It is old, beat up, and the most unfortunate color of faded and now rusty green.) car, a kind of crossover something-or-other to hold all of my 11 and counting animals that I am always rescuing and taking in, a toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear (After the animals that's all that will fit.) if we have a hurricane here because we live in a place that has hurricanes just to keep us on our toes. Here, when you move to town and are looking at property, the cheery realtor will say to you, "Don't buy near the beach unless you don't mind losing everything." Welcome to town.

That of course is just after, or perhaps before, she tells you about all of the alligators that come up out of creeks and such and might be found in someone's yard or swimming pool, and have been known to eat dogs when people were out walking them too near the water. I was so terrified when we moved here after one trip out with the realtor -- I hadn't wanted to move here anyway, but we had to because of my husband's job -- that I was firm about never letting my children out in the yard to play, absolutely certain they'd be eaten by an alligator. We have lived here 18 years now and I have never seen an alligator, though I know they are in the water here and there where they belong, and yes, my children did play outside.

But the fear that rose in me, the utter terror, the "what comes after I..." suddenly hit me. The things I have thought of, because they are so big and overwhelming and something I never knew I'd have, have been taking up my mind, but it will be the work afterward that will really matter, and I actually have to do it. I've all of a sudden felt like my whole life was a dress rehearsal and I was about to take it onstage for the real performance. I wanted to hide under the rug with a pug on top.

No more saying... Someday I will, or, When I have time for _____ I will, or anything of the sort. You get the foundation, and then you have to "do the thing you think you cannot do," as Eleanor Roosevelt said. It is as simple as that. Yes, (I am telling myself...) it really is that simple. It is exactly as Van Gogh wrote... You already have the thing in mind before you start (You know this is true.) ... and your dream will take direction and purpose. Somehow I feel like Dorothy setting off for Oz as I begin to set my sails for the dream ahead, and then I wonder if I'll get there and feel like "There's no place like home." I think the key is balance. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes, but don't be afraid to go for that long-held dream with all the gusto you can muster.

I have many more things in mind about the journey ahead, but I'll write about that next time. What I want to leave you with is a quote from Thoreau. It is one of my favorites and quite pertinent here...

If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~ Henry David Thoreau ~

I am advancing confidently in the direction of my dreams. I always seem to live a life unexpected in common hours. I think I might just have a chance.

Now, to begin. How about you make the leap with me?

Let's jump!



  1. Oh, Maitri!! Let's do it! Let's jump.




    GO!!! :)

  2. Well, brollies up, a la Mary Poppins, and skip, hop, sing, dance, and why not throw in a little flying, too? Jumping is just one flight plan... it's good to have other ones up your sleeve...
    Here's to joy! Bon Voyage!

  3. Good read. Thanks for sharing.