The above picture is the preliminary pencil drawing on acrylic canvas board for a new horse painting. I am anxious about beginning, wondering if it will at all resemble the image I have in my mind and yet there is the excitement of starting a new painting.
The Beginning – We so often, myself included, hesitate when starting something new. The fear of failure, and even success, hinders our courage to reach out for something more. I know staring at the vast emptiness of a blank white canvas or paper is so often overwhelming at times. While my mind conjures images of what could be revealed on that surface.
The Fear – It keeps us bound, the what, if’s and but’s that haunt our thoughts. Our own self-doubts that assail our best intentions of doing something great. We stand at the door and knock, we stand at the edge of the cliff ready to fly wondering if we truly can fly.
The Courage – Is inside of each of us, that still small voice. That little light that will always illuminate the dark. If only, we would take that first small step. So it begins and failing is not as bad as never trying at all. To reach for the stars and the desires of our own hearts.
Carpe Diem – I encourage you to begin, right where you are right now. To follow your path, to seek and live your life. Allow yourself to fall, to fail, to wonder, to question and to live without regret. You never know, the journey may be even more beautiful and wonderful than you ever imagined.
PS – Share your journey with me, I would love to hear about it and encourage you along the way. Connect with me here on the blog or through email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I will post pictures of my painting as it progresses and who knows, it just might turn our even better than I hope.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ~Nelson Mandela
Thinking a lot about fear lately. How it drives us, motivates us and often paralyzes us. We have all heard or seen the lists based on polls of the things people fear the most. These lists often include the following in no particular order; fear of flying, public speaking, spiders, snakes, dying, heights, pain, etc, etc, etc. We also have fears with social and emotional implications; rejection, disappointments, abandonment, ridicule, exclusion, etc, etc, etc.
Somewhere, inside, on a deeper level are we often more fearful of others simply knowing that we are afraid?
To allow our fear to be visible, well this implies a transparency and vulnerability allowing others to see us truly as we are. A matter of trust that others will not betray us when we are transparent and vulnerable. I know there are times when I often do not raise my hand, speak or stand up when I should. I tell myself this is because I do not want to offend or to be considered a trouble maker. I label this fear as one of not wanting to be rejected, ridiculed, shunned or even thought to be stupid.
On an even deeper level I am now beginning to realize that it is true that my overwhelming fear is a fear of others actually knowing that I am fearful.
Does that make sense? What do you think?
My fears alone are prowling in the dark,
An invisible storm swirls through me,
as I silently cry out for your mercy.
The strong winds cleave the words from me,
amidst streaming tears of remembered pain.
Mixed with the ceaseless pounding rains,
my shattered heart begs for only grace.
The roar of thunder drowns out my cries,
I fall dumbstruck onto my knees.
The blackness surrounds me on all sides,
a distant spark of light pierces through.
Casting dancing shadows in the deep dark,
showing the only path away from confusion.
Towards the gentle dreams of dawns first light,
clinging to misty visions of hope and love.
~Mark Schutter ©2013
“To live is Christ, to die is gain”, what? How is that?
It seems to me that death often takes me further away from God not closer. Death throws a silence over my faith. So many verses seem contradictory as they seem so unreal.
God is good? Let’s explore that a little.
Can you truly say that when you have faced death, tragedy and the destruction of your world? Can you say that and believe it when you have a never faced the end? Your own mortality? The death of someone you love? Watched helplessly as the final breath fades?
With no one to blame, is evil the easy answer or is it the only answer for the cause of so much pain in the world? The violence, the hate, the addictions, the lust and the greed continue on unabated and good people get hurt because of it. Collateral damage? Innocent victims?
But what about illness, a sickness and death with no concrete cause? Was there a cause, an action that brought about the effect and the consequence? What is the grand design and meaning in that if there are no coincidences?
Do I blame God? Am I angry at God? My life was irrevocably altered. I say I still believe and I go through the motions on the outside showing an image to the world, but inside…do I believe? The face I show the world is that the truth of me? Do I truly believe what I say I believe? What am I left with when I am alone in the dark?
Total utter silence from God? No words from beyond except for a faint whisper of “Trust me”, but faith is the evidence of things unseen, right? Then I should have a lot of evidence.
What remains unanswered is why? That is the question that still haunts my waking and sleeping, but no answer ever seems forthcoming. “Trust me.” Do I only have faith in the finality of that? What is next? The next life? Is it there? Heaven? Hell? Fade to black?
Time to give myself permission. Feel the fear, accept that loss and devastation may come again. “Trust me.” It all makes me tired, so very tired. Life should not and is not meant to be lived waiting for the ‘hammer to fall’. The days and the years go by and the hole remains. You laugh and love again. The moments of joy you so desperately longed for returns, but often failing to be fully present and to live in that moment because of the fear. Juxtaposing the past, present and the future. “Trust me” whispers through my mind while I feel a –
- Fear of God
- Fear of loss
- Fear of happiness
- Fear of succeeding
- Fear of failing
- Fear of guilt
- Fear of forgetting
- Fear of hurting
- Fear of love
“Trust me”, time to give myself permission to fully live, to be happy and fully love again. Permission to enjoy, to delight, to cherish, to feel everything and accept.
“Trust me”, you are permitted to love God, to accept your destiny, your life, your fate, “I have come so that they (you) may have life and have it more abundantly”.
(This was originally written in October 2008, updated in October 2010 and then again recently in October 2013 as I contemplate the journey of the previous twenty years of my life and I am still learning to believe. ~M)
an erratic metronome drones as thoughts are streaming
the rocks pierce my back while overhead the blue drifts by
Caw! Peck! Caw! I ran when I should have stood!
my arm across my face shields the sun from my tired eyes
but does nothing to lessen the days burning heat
Peck! Caw! Peck! I kept silent when I should have spoke!
sweat rolls over my temples and mats my hair
my lips are dry my tongue swollen and still
Caw! Peck! Caw!
I cry out in silence for relief, from memories and my own failing!
Peck! Caw! Peck!
my hand slaps the ringing alarm clock next to the bed
suns streams through the shades the heat already stifling
Caw! Peck! Caw! I breathe deep and summon my courage!
shaking away the remnants of the dream I rise slowly
scared another day with my fears and doubts to face
Peck! Caw! Peck!
Mark Schutter ©2013
This poem was written for Free Write Friday from the prompt at the top of the page. Free Writing is using what is called stream of consciousness writing, no editing, no proofing just writing! Please check out Kellie Elmore’s official site or click on the Free Write Friday Image for more information. Post your submission with a comment and link to your blog on Kellie’s blog, post on twitter with the hashtag #FWF, Facebook and join the fun!