Dinner with friends, little notes from my husband, great feedback on my stories and art. Even though it was hot during the day, in the evening it was coolish and I went to free concerts the park. I played with new colors and taught a drawing class. I drew kids in the neighborhood and read good books.
I was slightly astonished to find so much color and happiness in August. Left to my own immediate memories, it seemed like a long, hot and difficult month. I would have forgotten so much of the goodness in my daily life if I had not made the effort to be more observant and outwardly focused. I don't want to ignore the troubles and hurts in my life, but I definitely want to give equal time to the good things.
My brain is not set up to remember the good. My memory clamps onto trouble and sorrow. It's a bit of fight or flight mentality, but also a witness and try to fix it ethic. Nothing wrong with that, but if I only focus on the troubles, I give them more power over me than is good for me. So with my journal, I try to make sure I record things about nature and the little pleasures of life.
For years, I've been keeping two journals, one small paper one I carry around, another big one I write in at my desk. The last two months I've gotten a sturdier 9x6" ones that are easy to carry around. I got a little watercolor compact and water brush to carry around, too. In August, I wrote and drew and painted a lot in my journal. It was effortless, therefore I expected when I re-read it, to find more depression. Instead, depression only had its proper proportion in the mix, and so did delight. I may have finally broken through the learning phase -- instead of trying to cultivate delight, it may have taken root and become a perennial part of my vision. May I never forget or take for granted my own riches.
Here's some pages from August, the good, the bad, the scribbled, the misspelled and the peculiar:
|Morning at the Columbia Gorge|
|Showing materials at drawing class|
|Rejection?What rejection? I was already onto the next idea|
|I tape in things I write from notepads. Remove the butterfly sticker and there are 3 more pages|
|Kenton Park Tree|
|Note from Jim|
|Soon all will change|
|Vonnegut quote -- complete with mistake|
"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place." Kurt Vonnegut.
If Vonnegut could be soft, so can I.