Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Choices

When I was very little, I knew I would be an artist.  I spent hours drawing and painting, I took classes with other famous artists, I believed I could do it. I had my first exhibit when I was sixteen. I am still an artist after so many years doing one of the things I know how to do well: art.

So these were my choices and every day I feel entranced with the joy of creating, of harboring new ideas, of dreaming about my art and never failing to visualize or to imagine -- a way to fill my consciousness and a gift I share with so many.

Life, I learned, is about making choices.  Some of our choices are conscious and some are not.  Some are made for us by others and we go along or we rebel.  Some choices are insinuated to us and we are in for the ride. Some choices we feel we have to do, whether by tradition or to please someone dear.  All of our choices have multiple consequences.  Not all are good and not are all bad.

First, it separates us.  Choosing a career, a job, a partner, a friend, or a lover is a great separator.  It dictates a course and no other.  It is like choosing a certain path and ignoring the other road.  A door opens and we walk through it while many possible others close along the way.  If I were an architect I would live my life with others in this field and envision new styles for homes or buildings, talk to contractors, investors or entrepreneurs and in no way would I live the life of a singer or an actor. The separation is obvious then.

Doing my art is great but as a consequence I work every day all by myself in my studio facing my beads, my pen or my colors. I have to travel to show my work, I work hard some times late into the night, but so many do.  No co worker. No one to talk to occasionally but my husband when I take a break.  My good friends are mostly artists, my husband is a photographer.  Walk into my house and the amount of original art, mine and from others, the yellow and purple walls, the red door, says right away that this is the house of an artist. I made a choice. These are some of the consequences.

We are aware of our path in life by the way it shapes our lives; restricts it or enhances it. Choosing and making decisions is the essence of living.

If we go to buy a shirt, so many are offered in multiple stores that choosing one becomes an exercise in decision.  I will take this one and no other.  But sometimes, we cannot choose.  We wander down the store and walk out with our hands empty.  No choice is a choice as well.  We spend all day making decisions about everything. Thankfully, our tastes and habits dictate many of our choices so they are made automatically. Sometimes.

Coffee in the morning or tea.  Eggs or toast.  Shower as we wake up or at night?  Pink lipstick or red one. Lunch out or at home. Afternoon at work or afternoon in front of the computer?  What to cook?  Do I choose to paint or to watch the latest movie?  Do I kiss him or not?  Do I discipline my kids or not?  So many choices.  Every day and all day.  How do we know which choice is the best?

I have taken the habit to listen to my intuition for everything.  It works.  Most of the time.  My husband's training was in engineering.  His mind functions in a radically different way.  He asks me how long do I cook this.  I tell him "Usually I know it is ready by the way it smells around the house."  It leaves him completely frustrated.  But my nose is as good as his timer.
I get a feeling to go shopping and lo and behold the pants I wanted are on sale.  He relies on the sales adds.  We approach life in a different way.  But who is to say that my way is THE way?

We all make choices according to our character and the consequences vary enormously. If I choose to paint my sky yellow on a new canvas, it is fine with me, but to the viewer it could be outrageous.  It gets to be complicated.  Our choices have different effects on others.  They could like them or hate them.  Most of our friends are people who support our choices and are themselves part of our path.
But once in a while, we meet someone so different, someone who walks a whole other way than ours and takes us to investigate their domain.  How fun to discover someone elses different choices and consider how, if we would have chosen them, our life would have unfolded? 
Sometimes we even move to someone elses territory and adopt the choices that they inspired us to make. 

Many people find that they have to make mid-life changes of careers to fit their personality better. They have evolved and need a new choice.  I know a man who used to be a great executive with a large company who now is a father-house- husband while his wife is a new teacher.  Another friend of mine used to be an artist and is now a physician assistant. Another switch and another choice.

If tomorrow you are conscious of all the choices you have to make, you can be more effective in making them, or you can simply smell the room and you will know when the chicken is ready ... that is my way.  Let your intuition guide your choices and have a good meal.  Or set your timer -- for many, it works just as well.

Copyright 2011 Micheline Brierre
Edited by Bary Kaplan

Monday, January 17, 2011

Love, our foundation

The stores have just barely finished selling Christmas stuff and already they are showing things in various shades of pink and mostly heart shapes, to remind us all that Valentine's day is coming.  So whether we recognize it or not, love is in the air and that makes me think of love's many meanings and the ways it insinuates itself in our lives.

Are we talking about the love we fell into not to ever come out again, or the love we fell into happy to emerge later on -- bruised and sore?  Are we talking of this deep connection we feel with others of either sex that bring them close to our hearts and precious to our lives?  Are we talking about the great, sudden infatuation that grabs us and invades our beings and dreams for awhile?  Are we talking about this life-lasting feeling, deep and sound, that bonds us to our mate and lives though hard and better times?  Well, the reasons are infinite, just as much as the feelings of what we all have experienced and stashed in a deep place of our memory.

Is is pink? Is is heart shaped?  These are the colors and forms a material society has placed on something indescribable and so vivid and true that we cannot think of life without the ones we really love.

In my case, my love takes on so many forms and colors, all part of me, like a magical rainbow over my head in the sky of my life.

I love my whole family and so many added family members, friends, things, my house, my art, my life, people I adopt here and there, old pets, and more remotely, the whole planet of people and our life on this earth.

How could I not love what is a part of me and responds to my whims and fuels my thoughts and actions?  What gives me life and inspiration everyday and propels me to grow and become a better me?  Or, so I hope.

Love is a weird feeling.  It invades our thoughts and minds in great secrecy at times and infiltrates itself to many parts of our beings and one day we are taken over, like by terrorists, and we succumb to our fate with a happy heart.  Sometimes it is a very confrontational issue.  It hits us over the head and we fall in its grabs with surprise and glee.

I remember when my grandchild was born ten years ago.  I was in the room as he appeared to this earth and I looked at his red, swollen face and loved him instantly.  I remember in Mexico totally in awe as I looked at my child, loving its very being and wondering how my husband and I could have created such wonder.

It took some days for love to brew as my actual hubby and I walked on the boardwalk in Miami, his first kiss left me breathless.  A love still lasting.  Add to that, countless beings that elicited love in its many shades and I know for sure that life is about loving and nothing could match love's fascination and intricacies.  And we must remember that our love of people in the past does not necessarily die, but goes to a quieter place.

We do not love because of fate or accidents, we love because we are essentially in need of love.  It makes us stronger and nobler -- real samurais of our passions.  Love, real love, is not a weak feeling; it fuels a huge desire for us to be the strong defender of our hearts and many have died because they have loved.

I guess I will look at all the hearts in the store with more empathy.  Gaudy, silly things as they are, they remind me of how empty my life would be without all of the ones I love.  Valentine's day is no more than a reminder; and our feelings of loving are kept safe in the vault of our consciousness, because we would not be here on earth, unless love (hopefully) had something to do with it.

Copyright 2011 Micheline Brierre
Edited by Barry Kaplan