Existence Is A Wonderful Thing

Flower PaintingI came across an article in the newspaper a few days ago as I carefully sipped my steaming mug of brewed coffee in a quiet spot overlooking the freshly rained-on pine trees. I needed very much to be reminded of the heart of the article – “existence is a wonderful thing”.

I wish I took note of the name of the author. She expressed in writing what I felt in my heart but could not make myself articulate out loud. Let me quote a paragraph she wrote:

“Existence is a wonderful thing, To exist, to be there, But more often than not, you get so caught up in the idea of getting to a specific destination that you entirely forget where you are right now. That, my dear, is where you start.”

Anxiety disorder causes one to worry so much about the future that one fails to simply breathe and focus on the NOW.

It is very difficult for my mind not to race. One thought (usually plans or goals) leads to another, and then another, until I get too anxious because the thoughts, more often than not, turn into fears. Fear that I will not be able to do what I had planned in my mind. Fear that the obstacles I imagined will be too great for me to hurdle without hurting myself in the process.

All my fears are self-imposed. They have not happened yet. They are not even reality. Yet I feel anxious about them almost everyday, and these anxieties stop me from existing — from living day-to-day. From even falling asleep or breathing normally.

It is an everyday struggle – to not get caught up in the idea of getting to a specific destination that I entirely forget where I am right now.

I have recently gone back to painting. It was a huge step in my recovery process because I was somehow able to overcome my fear and anxiety about just starting. And deliberately selecting the smallest paintbrush, I very slowly applied paint to canvas. The whole process was meant for me to slow down, to live in the now and stop the constant worrying about the future. It certainly helped.

To exist in the now is truly a wonderful thing.

The attached photo is my recently finished oil painting of my flower photograph. Yes, I do photography as well.

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When It’s Time For A Life Change

Beach Life 2I don’t know. Has it been years since my last post?

Life happened. Past interests and passions faded into the background, replaced by the mundane task called “work”. Or should I say, “earning a living”.

Day in and day out, cleaning the house, washing dishes, feeding and caring for the dogs, washing and folding laundry, watching TV to ease the fatigue, and watching TV again.

I stopped playing my acoustic guitar, electric guitar and ukulele. I feel the pressure, reluctantly glancing at each instrument, feeling guilty for totally ignoring them. “Nope, I don’t see them”, I always tell myself.

And then there’s the blank canvas, still wrapped, sitting on a chair, waiting to be slathered on with oils. Oh, and my paint brushes are brand spanking new while my box of oil paints remains untouched. Guilt assails me once again.

This blog site sat unopened for years, it seems.

Where has my life gone? I mean, really LIVING! My work and daily chores became my life. Maybe for a while it worked out. It kept my place relatively neat and clean (I did say “relatively”), placed food on the table, paid the bills, and bought me a few extras to enjoy like a property investment and a car — though both are still on installment and eat up whatever remains in my bank account.

I had to keep asking myself: Is this all there is?

There are more than enough articles on this — some too generalized for me or lifted from another article to even take seriously. It IS different for everyone.

Change, and the reason for it, is different for everyone.

It’s time to head to the beach — literally.

It’s time to get real with myself. I need to be able to regain what’s left of my sanity and learn to really live again. I am nearing another critical juncture — middle age.

What makes me happy? What relieves me of stress? What CAUSES my stress in the first place? I’m talking about over-the-top stress levels – toxic people, negativism, pessimism.

I’m talking about beating myself up from guilt of not going for the things that give me peace and fulfillment. I’m talking about always beating myself up for suffering from mental disorders and not “accomplishing” enough. What is “enough”? It’s never enough.

So, it’s time to hit the beach.

I have always loved being in the water. I enjoy feeling the grainy sand under my worn out feet. It is like a foot scrub and massage at the same time. The warm breeze blowing from the Pacific Ocean calms my spirit and helps me to breathe in and breathe out in a rhythmic motion. Peace.

I will be there soon. My family will be with me soon.

It is time for change. It is time for my life change.

 

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Basking In His Glory

My husband and I have three dogs. The eldest is a female mixed breed name Toepy, the middle is a black male Labrador Retriever named Beans, and the youngest is a female Miniature Pinscher named Peanut. All three of them are a joy to have but they can also be more than a handful on many occasions.

ToepyToepy, being the longest with us (she’s around seven years old), is the most attached. She follows me around wherever I go, even when I just walk around in our small house. When I stop walking, she stops; when I turn, so does she; when I sit on our couch, she lies down right at my feet. And whenever I am within her eye sight, she stares at me – and she can go on staring at me for a full minute without blinking. While to many this may be wonderful, to me it can get downright irritating and unnerving.

BeansI do not relish being followed around or stared at, by a person or an animal. Many times I need to remind myself that our dog is not human and is just being a loyal dog. And when I am in a very tolerant mood, I look back at ole’ Toepy and just marvel at how she literally basks in my “glory”. She doesn’t seem to get enough of me, even when I get mad at her. And if she was given a chance, she would probably ride on my back all day and night just so she’ll never be far from me. This does seem very stalker-like, but then she’s just a dog!

PeanutBeans and Peanut are not this way with us at all. They do have their moments when they want to be with us, but they are not nearly as clingy as Toepy. And since there is really nothing I can do to lessen Toepy’s adoration of me, I decided to just look at the situation from a different perspective.

Do I bask enough in my Lord’s glory? I envy Toepy sometimes for her unconditional love and adoration. How I wish I could also adore Jesus and just be genuinely content. Can I be genuinely content just being with my Lord? Or do I make myself so busy that I hardly have the time or the motivation to  just bask?

It’s high time that I learn to really “live” — not to strive in a frenzied manner the way other people do every single day.  It’s time that I remind myself again that true success is not about how much money I earn or how many activities I can cram into one day.  I need to really believe that “living” is all about just that – having a life;  a life lived on purpose; a life lived like I really mean it. It is a life wholly surrendered to a higher being — in my case, my Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ.