As usual, I fantasized about what and how I would like to paint before making the time and space for the actual painting session. I went to the store and bought some mastic so I could block areas of white on the paper. I remembered long-ago painting sessions where I could use a fine tipped brush to mark a curved edge and then gently tease the paint into a nearby wet area, watching as the water pulled the color across the paper. I remembered.
Then I sat down to paint. My right hand is now too weak to hold a brush. My left hand shakes. There could be no precise curved lines, no calm refined surfaces. I had expected the resulting image to teach me more about surrender. Instead, the process was my teacher.
It seemed each movement of hand and brush made expanding circles of anger, sadness, renewed determination and surrender.
"Enter as you wish to be in it," says Havi Brooks, one of my virtual teachers. I realize spending my year exploring Kind Promises is exactly that: I am attempting to learn the skills I will need for a life more affected by illness, disability and aging.
Expecting to be able to rely on a past skill and discovering it has gone are parts of the daily journey of significant illness or aging. I want to get good at surrender.
I want to get better at releasing my expectations as soon as I have them and entering into the beauty of the present moment. I want to discard the idea that beauty can only be found in smooth calm lines and celebrate the chaotic rough loveliness in which I find myself.