Thursday, May 28, 2015

The in-between

I have been moving between states of joy, exhilaration and gratitude and huge sadness and grieving, up and down and up and down and in-between, and while I am typing this the realisation is this is life, and there will be more and more of this. My 81-year-old neighbour and friend, always an inspiration, who has had more tragedies than should befall one person, would be matter-of-fact: "What can you do? That's life. You just get on with it."

More losses this week (a death - and the suffering that preceded it - that seems incredibly unjust), the week in which John remarked that my new paintings seem to be about loss, again, when it wasn't clear to me. But I also want them to be about the fullness of life, and I am doing or trying to do both, reaching for more vivid colours, painting scenes from my life, fruit, flowers, interiors, people and animals I actually know as well as the archetypes and stylised symbolic imagery I tend to use.

In my twenties there seemed to be so much time stretching out ahead; now I am acutely aware of how little there is, and the geographical distance adds another layer of urgency. People are dying, whole chapters, entire books closing, and I could list my regrets, all the things I should have said and done when they were alive. It is over thirteen years since our dad died. Soon I will have lived more time without him than with, a strange new thought.

And then there are people declaring their love for each other, babies growing so fast you could almost watch, and old friends getting in touch.

So my heart is heavy and full. Two weeks ago a friend sent me this link (by a Galway-based psychotherapist - his website is worth a read), and while I haven't done the exercise long enough to report on it, I can say that yes, there is an instant result or shift, a feeling I rarely get to feel with my usual overthinking - something very close to complete peace and relaxation.