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out of control

August 2, 2011

mixed media art journal

i like to be in control. don’t we all?

when i am not in control i retreat. i loose my bearings. life gets messy and crazy dizzy.

i want to be prepared for whatever comes my way. but it’s really not possible to be prepared for everything that life throws at you. no matter how hard you try, there will always be bumps and bruises along the way.

and that’s ok.

i am learning that there are just things that are just not in my hands. and there is nothing that i can do about that.

trust. that’s one lesson you have to live out each and every day.

the day i was rear ended, my illusion of control was shattered to a million little pieces.

you see i was never “in control”. life happens. mistakes happen. we can’t control other people or circumstances.

we can do our best to find beauty in those moments. to surrender.

things are kind of crazy for me this week. i have a billion things going on. class last night. my show on friday. zoe starting kindergarten.

and my husband couldn’t find our daughter’s social security card yesterday. something we needed for my daughter to start kindergarten. today. i had the opportunity to panic. or to stop and breathe. i let go. it was out of my control. i gave it over to someone else who could actually do something about it. god. my husband.

and sure enough, my husband found the card last night. one of his secretaries had filed it in some random place.

it’s all about letting go isn’t it? letting go of control.

i love watching my students who come to my class. when they first come, they are apprehensive. nervous to put any paint down on the paper. i can see the little wheels turning in their heads. and their first pages are very controlled. concise. ordered. it is so cute. they cut paper. the paint goes down in a very linear way. no blending. just paint strokes all in a line.

but at some point in time, they let go. it’s not going to go exactly like they wanted it to. and that’s ok. they let go of being too scared of making a mistake. and find the beauty in making a mess. in experimenting. in paint splatters. drips. doodles. even mistakes. because, let’s face it, mistakes happen.

at some point they let go of the perfection. and start making beautiful messes. the paper starts ripping. the inks pool on their papers. it’s all a lesson in letting go. in finding freedom. in enjoying the process, not the end product.

i myself learn new lessons about letting go in teaching. the words don’t come out as perfectly as i had planned it out in my head. i forgot the wet wipes at home. i almost forgot to share one of the techniques i had planned. i don’t have all of my supplies with me before i start demoing. the structured part of my brain says what the heck are you doing? you are all over the place!

i let it go. my students don’t care. why should i?

it’s just like the hot wax we are pouring all over our pages. even with a specialized tool, it goes all over the place. you only have the illusion of control. i watch as some students shy away from the wax. it’s too scary. because they are not in control of the outcome. it takes time for them to warm up to the idea of spilling wax in drips and imperfection.

and that’s ok. because it will come with time. somewhere they will learn to let go. just like i do. every day.

i wish i could say it gets easier. this practice of letting go. but it doesn’t. you just get better at doing it after life happens. over and over. you remember to surrender. because that is what you do in order to keep living.

trust. surrender. repeat.

note of thanks: to all of my dear students i had last night i just want to say thank you. you are all such an inspiration to me. thank you for choosing to let go and make a mess. you are all beautiful! and i promise to post pics very soon!!!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 10:15 am

    You are SO RIGHT, my friend. I’m feeling a little (okay, a lot) of this need to control everything right now. I feel like I need to hold everything tighter, rather than let it go. It’s so not easy for me to let go, I don’t know why. But when I feel out of control, I retreat. Sometimes that retreat is necessary and healthy, but sometimes it’s lonely, too. I’m working on letting go, and it’s really hard to trust that everything’s going to be okay. But I’m going to give it an honest shot.

  2. karin permalink
    August 2, 2011 1:52 pm

    Trust, surrender and letting go – so easy and yet so hard.

  3. August 4, 2011 1:55 pm


  4. alteredforhim permalink
    August 5, 2011 6:47 am

    Love this piece. Reminds myself of how when the world is so chaotic around me and I don’t know where to go or what to do. I must… Him..Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

    Have a peaceful day

  5. August 8, 2011 1:20 pm

    So true! We need to give ourselves a break more often…because the stuff that consumes us with worry is usually not as big of a deal as we make it out to be, in life or in art. That “mistake” that we think is shouting at us from the page or canvas may not even be noticed by someone else..or it might turn out to be his/her favorite thing about the piece!

    All of that striving for some unattainable perfection needs to be released.

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