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Starting the New Year right

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Fireflys little angelThe beginning to the new year has been a bit mixed ... but the entire year is bound to be mixed no matter whether the overall picture after the fact turns out to be success and joy or struggle and disappointment, there will be a mixture of everything if this year is anything like other years in my life. I hope it is like other years, because all of the years of the river of my life have carried along in their currents a mixture of experiences which all together form the status of my life at this time and I do so love my life. There have been poignantly painful experiences along with the way, uplifting joyful awakenings, seemingly bitter disappointments, powerful realizations and connections, and happy little surprises and mistakes. For me, there has been one powerful lesson I have learned over and over again. This particular lesson I have resisted with every fiber of my being at times, I have fought against it tooth and claw, snarled at it, spit in its face, defied its inevitable approach, and grudgingly bowed to its command so many times I can hardly count. Evidently this lesson is so valuable I enjoy learning it over and over and over again. The thing is, I am stubborn -- or so I am told (though I don't always agree with that particular adjective). Buttons on Fireflys Hand Knit Baby Cable Switchback HatIn the case of this most valuable of life's lessons, I believe I am truly stubborn but I also believe that must be a part of the game and I'm cool with that. What is the lesson? Are you sure you want to know? Afterall, you just might be stubborn as well. Here it is: Sometimes those things I think I want are not actually good for me. Conversely, sometimes those things I think I don't want are actually something I need dearly. An example would be two to three years ago in California when everything in my life seemed to be coming to a strange, unavoidable halt. My business, some aspects of my family life, my financial situation, my dreams. It all seemed so tragic, so horrible, so painful. I fought those changes harder than I have fought anything in my life. I staunchly set my heels into the ground of what seemed my grounded life and I said, "NO!". No. My counter assault against the inevitable movement of my life was noble, magnificent, brave, and perhaps stubborn. At the time, I wasn't trying to be stubborn, but I was being dense. I temporarily forgot the LESSON, which I had learned a number of times already. Really, honestly ... I was sure I was finished learning that lesson, so when it whomped down on me again I didn't recognize it for what it was. So, perhaps I wasn't stubborn after but was, instead, unsuspecting. That is a much better, more amenable adjective. I was unsuspecting. Thank goodness, thank God, and thank anything else in the universe worthy of being thanked that all of the efforts I pulled out and all of the contortions I put myself through emotionally and otherwise were of no avail. Of course, it was the powerful current of the river me that was exerting itself anyway I just didn't realize it at first. At some point, however, it did finally occur to me ... "Oh, it's the lesson again." Stop fighting it, listen, learn, go with the flow. Go with the flow. It is along the lines of, "Go with the Force, Luke!" from Star Wars. Last year, even here in my beautiful new life in Western New York on a farm by a river with my husband ... even here and now, I still had instances of learning that lesson anew. It was a wonderful year in many ways, but there were definitely challenges I had not anticipated. Challenges in helping my daughter find relief from her pain, challenges in maintaining professional productivity while running a home, loving and supporting a husband, raising a puppy, evolving my blog and website, establishing myself in New York as an artist, staying in communication with my many readers, getting enough sleep, figuring out my schedule, trying not to gain weight in a rural setting (man, that's a tough one), and on and on. Fireflys Hand Knit Baby Cable Switchback HatToward the end of the year it all came to a standstill when I, yet again, slipped and fell on our narrow staircase. Bump, bump, bump ... six times in all, square on my tail bone. Ouch. This time it was worse than last Christmas when a similar thing happened, and I have not been able to spend much time sitting at my computer. The nice thing about it is that I can paint standing up, and I can take Blu for walks without discomfort, I can knit comfortably from a reclining sofa or chair. Laying down and resting is great too. So, I had a forced but refreshing break from the computer and the Internet and the chair. I would not have willingly afforded myself that break even though it was just what I needed. No, I had to go the round-about-way of slipping and falling, hurting my tail bone, and having no choice but to take a break right here at home. Although injury was involved, even in this instance, there are things to be grateful for. That is always the case. You can always find a myriad of things to be grateful for no matter the situation you find yourself in, if only you apply your mind in that direction. That is the trick to freeing yourself from the apparent struggle of the LESSON. Relax, embrace, find gratitude and then find some more gratitude and then some more, and some more. Ah, fresh air. Oh, hello again farm. Hello environment. Hello river, and weather, and wind. Hello old barn out there in the back yard. Hello paint and easel and brushes. Hello snow. Hello life. Hello me. I am taking it all in, newly in the moment as if I had just arrived. Pears in Monochrome an Oil Painting by J L FleckensteinDuring this time, I have finished the large painting that will hang in a local restaurant ... 50" wide, 19" tall. It is oil on hardwood, pears in monochrome. I also finished that cute hand knit hat I mentioned before plus I also designed and knit a warm, cozy stole (noun: a wide scarf worn about their shoulders by women) and am starting on a pair of hand knit warm and wooly house socks. This year I plan to start selling some of my knitting patterns online and in yarn shops in addition to continuing to release some for free online. The hat and stole will be the first two patterns I publish for a fee and I am thankful for the inspiration I am experiencing toward that end. My tailbone is on the mend, and so this morning I have been able to write a blog post in relative comfort. I always try to respond to every comment I receive on the blog, as well as any emails from readers. Please understand that if I have not answered your communication recently, it is only because of my injury. I hope you will be patient and understanding with me. Have a beautiful day and week ... and welcome to Your Life, 2008! Warmest wishes, firefly

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