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Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

About three years ago I was having lunch with an artist friend who was interested in my coaching services. She suggested bartering for art lessons.

Now, if that lunch had taken place a week earlier, I would have turned her down without a second thought. But during that particular week I was challenging myself to take on whatever uncomfortable challenges came my way. My week’s motto was: “Just Do It!” After all, it was just a seven-day challenge. It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution or anything!

And so, even though I had long ago decided I couldn’t draw … I had no artistic ability whatsoever … and I couldn’t have cared less about learning to paint—I Just Did It! I said YES!

It was a slow, bumpy start. My first experience was in a class of 11-year-old girls who were “drawing with chalk.” One of them gently corrected me, “They are pastels, not chalk.” Oh! Silly me!

Later, my one-on-one lessons took me to the depths of my incompetence. I hadn’t learned anything much beyond the three primary colors (red-blue-yellow). Who knew there were secondary colors?!? And all those brushes and different brands of paint, paper, and canvases. I was overwhelmed.

Some lessons ended in tears. Often I was frustrated by what I didn’t know and couldn’t seem to learn. Nothing ever ended up looking like I intended. I tried wood block, water-color, pastels, acrylics, and oil.

Last year I had a major breakdown / breakthrough when I finally gave up my need to “do it right.” I decided to just let my 6-year-old self play with paint, and I’ve been having so much fun ever since!

Now I see how living life and learning to paint have a lot in common. The painting that appears with this post was one I made a real mess of initially. I was going to throw it away, but then I decided to just work with it for a while longer. After about a dozen sessions, I knew it was finished because when I stepped back and looked at it, I smiled. It was a smile of inner satisfaction, appreciation, and joy. Life can be like that, too. Just showing up, day after day, having fun trying a bit of this and a bit of that, until at last you feel the smile of satisfaction, appreciation, and joy.

My attitude toward life has changed forever because I took myself up on that 7-day challenge. [SMILE!!]

Experimenting With Life

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