The Double-Sided Edge of Unexpected Events
I am not one to set resolutions for the new year, just someone inclined to close loose ends from the old one. Perhaps it is superstitious intuition, or the fear to invite non-supportive energies to taint an opportunity unfolding. Whatever drove my actions before, needs reflection this year.
This past November, a deliberated fire next door affected the propriety I live in. We had to take a few necessary things and be placed in a hotel while the insurance works on the case. After Christmas, we went back to check the progress on the house and found out our place has been ransacked. Everything I had was taken.
The blank slate metaphor takes another meaning when you come home to find it completely literally empty- cabinets, closets, all furniture- nothing left. Months of work -illustrations for a project, paintings, sketches- all gone. The shock was indescribable. I have experienced big losses before, what left me speechless was the aggressiveness in which this was done. So much unnecessary destruction!
I am an immigrant, and despite the challenges this entail, I had decided this past July to invest in redecorating my place and make it my own. More than memories or things, what disturbed me the most was how nothing remained of the care and trust I have put into feeling a sense of belonging.
All the beauty had been taken away, the small gestures, the inexpensive details that made me feel welcomed and my place a loved and peaceful haven.
I cried, spent nights awake and still feel the resistance to start again, a wound opens up when something pops into my mind and I remember it is lost.
Past, present, and future in a shopping list
I might have travel light for standards (not when speaking art materials though), but some things knew as many countries and places as I have. I don’t follow fashion trends, I had old clothes that looked as new that I loved wearing, and a small collection of hats and berets that were my amulets for gloomy days.
Coming from a country where replacing things is almost impossible, I have learned to appreciate and take preemptive action. I am a practical minimalist. I need a few things to feel comfortable, but they just need to feel “right.” If I haven’t use something in a few weeks, or I know I would never do, I give it away. The opposite is also true.
I dislike shopping or having to interrupt what I am doing because I need to run to the store. I am a list freak and picky shopper. I kept an “I-love-this/it-fits replacement inventory” and my day-to-day staples in storage.
I have been through two tornadoes, a flood and now a fire. I have crossed frontiers forced by necessity and survival, for many years my life has been stored in boxes. It is time to leap.
Over the past few months, the weight of a life spinning in a Groundhog routine has burdened me. I understand that there are things I can’t control. I acknowledge that fear and resistance play an important role in my avoidance to reframe non-productive stories and go for better choices. Nevertheless, the awareness of how many years have passed by and my dissatisfaction with where I find myself today nags at me.
This (life) is not what I define as fulfilling!
If this was an opportunity, what would it be about?
As the New Year (and Birthday) wheels in I ask myself:
- What and why do I need to keep inventory? What would really be hard to replace?
- I use what I love and go for the “same” when in need to replace it. Is this because I think the thing in question is enough, or because I believe I can’t do better?
- I am taking preventive actions or feeding a scarcity mindset inherited from my past?
- How long it will take me to leave the past behind and trust I deserve a future, or better, embrace the present?
- When do I say enough and stop fear from ruling the rest of my life?
I have learned along my journey, how little is really necessary to survive, and how much stuff is just filling up space. Do not get me wrong, I am an artist, I like beautiful things, and I swear for a life surrounded by them. What has changed as I grow older is my understanding of the balance between quantity and quality, appreciation and accumulation.
As I reflected on the possible causes and consequences of this event, I realized that although I actively seek insights about my life and intentions, my detailed orientation towards overcoming or achieving “this or that” has overlooked the amount of time spent without a clear north.
I a not talking about a general idea of where I want to go, but about how my everyday efforts and results- or lack of them- had extended for so long that for years my “moving forward” has been more moving away from than towards what I want from life.
They took my work, my things, not my talents or my dreams.
Perhaps this blank late, as painful and it is, is giving me an opportunity to redefine what moving forward is. For the last 3 years, I have “labeled” each of them with a quality I want to embrace to serve me as a compass. Words like outrageously me, joy, and the newest, resolve.
I am not sure what this year’s journey shall look like. I am taking steps, willing courage to walk beside me and faith to kick me in the face if I look back instead of ahead.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu
May this year be the first of the life that is meant to be. May I see the person I can be, born from the ashes of the one defined by her past and the stories she resists letting go.
What about you dear reader? What moves you to make 2020 an inspired year?
I shall come back and recount my adventures in the hope that my experiences will serve others.
2020. All the best