what now?

effortless tension (wip) – melinda blair paterson – acrylic on canvas – 2016

The stats show it’s been eight months since I was last active on this blog. Where did that time go? What happened? The mind struggles to find a reference point. Past timeframes seem to quickly slip away these days, like an outgoing tide.

One thing I can remember is a few months ago I realised I was creating a lot of suffering for myself around the question – What the @#%& am I doing with my life? This question had been taunting me for too long, to the point where I realised it was not only boring myself, but probably all those that had ever bothered to listen. God bless them!

Interestingly,  once the suffering was seen and acknowledged the question like mist evaporated and morphed into – What next? This played itself out for a week or two until I realised it wasn’t sitting comfortably in my body. When I felt into it there was a pulling sensation that was drawing my attention out of the body always leading to an idea of an object or a future timeframe. Again, once seen and acknowledged the question dissolved and morphed into – What now?

Simultaneously the suffering evaporated, relief was felt in the body, and an allowing space of inner contentment and joy quietly made itself known. A few weeks have now passed. The question is still held lightly as I go about my day. There is little planning it seems, with a freedom to respond to whatever the day asks. Little or no disturbance when unexpected twists and turns take form, while the mind’s expectations effortlessly fall away.

I’ve had a few opportunities come towards me which the mind loves to make into a story: This must be the answer to my question, and subsequently very nearly entered into some new endeavours; only to hear myself say: No thank you, and decline the invitation at the last moment.

So here I sit… watching and gently inquiring – What now?, waiting and quietly responding in the moment, and occasionally picking up the paint brush to play. 🙂



living with sadness

Image courtesy of Maria Wilson

Without announcement or bothering to knock, she sneaks in, lying beneath cushions where I sit, or below the floor where I walk. Her breathing is just loud enough to let me know she’s here again. Sometimes she even bashes on my heart, grips my throat, or tears at my jaw inflicting enough suffering to have me imploring: I just want to know the truth.

Sure there is an initial impulse to run from her, however these days, this is usually followed by a turning, a looking, a nudging, back onto the viewing platform.

I watch myself hopelessly wonder one moment if she will ever leave, only to observe in the next that I am quietly singing while cutting up fruit.  Where is the sadness now? I ask myself.  What was so sad this morning? 

Memories from my childhood and youth abound… Flashes…. Thoughts…. Feelings… out of nowhere. It feels like a shock each time they appear.  Why now? Haven’t I dealt with these concerns years ago? However it becomes obvious they have no intention on stopping, so I encourage myself to relax and breathe.  I’m here, I’m listening, tell me what you need to say, I’m not going anywhere.

I’m finding seeing my psychologist again is self-loving and insightful, in particular, where the feelings are felt both within and surrounding the body. Her somatic work and presence feels deeply supportive. At the last session I became aware of feeling ‘I am nothing’, with a deep deep push for desperately trying to know the truth in a way that is perhaps obsessive. The ‘nothing’ did not feel joyful but rather exhausting. I’m not sure what it all means. I’m just going with what somatically arises in the sessions and am not wishing to spiritualise too much. As I said, the main question and longing is: I just want to know the truth.

And I feel I have no idea how to find the answer, and the heart aches again. What is this driving within? Is it the mind? I have been told that this cannot be worked out by the mind and I have even tried stepping away from ‘trying’ to work it out. And yet, like my art practice, it returns, again and again. The wanting to know.


Note: found this draft post written a few months ago and felt to share it anyway. 🙂