The Universe Needs Me
So, normally when I am done painting for the day I put my paints back in their buckets, clean up the palettes, and wash the brushes. I had been working on 2 paintings when the pandemic started, and I immediately stopped. Not only did I stop, but I left all the paints, drop cloths and supplies right where they were. I never do this, and the weird thing is I didn’t even notice that I did it. It just all sat there, almost invisible as I walked by it every day.
Two days ago, I finally saw it. It came into my consciousness that I had left everything out, how had I not noticed this before? It looked abandoned, almost like the artist had died and the supplies and paints had been left untouched because it was too painful to move them. They sat in stillness, as the dust formed and the paintings remained unfinished. As I started to clean up, I remembered the person that I was just 5 weeks ago. I was doing these paintings for my art show that was supposed to be March 18th. I had 3 days to finish them, so I was working at a frantic pace to get everything done. Every moment of my day was filled with checking off another task so that I would be ready for the show. And then, everything stopped.
In a moment’s notice we were all home and everything was cancelled. I couldn’t tap into my creative energy because my body was too busy trying to interpret what was happening. What did this mean, and how long was it going to be? No one seemed to know. I started working from home and watching the news. The number of people dying was coldly analyzed as to whether it was going up or down. It seemed like a good thing that only 500 people had died, because 800 had died the day before. It was too much to me to take in. I needed all my energy just to process this information, I couldn’t create.
So, I resorted to what I always do when my emotions are overwhelmed, and that is working out. I decided it was a good time to get that flat stomach for my first summer in Los Angeles. The thought of doing this got me excited. I put myself on a workout schedule and shared my progress on Instagram. From the outside observer my actions may have looked like I didn’t care about the people dying and the world shutting down. But the truth is, I cared too much and this is the way I was coping with it.
My workout routines were punctual, intense and consistent. But then after a few weeks of doing them, sometimes after I would finish my ab work-out I would lay on my mat and stare at the ceiling for a good while. Then I would move to the couch and stare out of the open window. I would look at the palm trees swaying, the birds flying and hear the sounds of people slowly walking by as they took their walk for the day. I had also been taking a power walk every evening, with dance music blasting in my ears as I did a jog/walk up the steepest hill I could find. But slowly these walks became meandering adventures of looking at the roses blooming, listening to the ocean as the waves tumbled effortlessly onto the sand, and feeling the sun as it warmed me without asking for anything in return.
The whole world has shut down, and I am fine. In fact, I am better than fine, I feel amazing. I am allowing myself to have a lazy Saturday afternoon just to daydream. I am taking long bubble baths and listening to music and letting my mind wander away from my to-do lists and my need to get things done. I am spending more time talking to people I love, and holding space for them in my life.
It makes me realize that life is not about running through it to avoid pain and accomplish goals. It is about being present, and finding my place. My will power and hard work can only take me so far. After that, I need the energy of the universe to put the people in my life that will support me, to open the right doors for me and show me that I am on the right path. So, instead of showing my wish list to the universe, and asking for it to be granted, I ask the universe, what do you want from me? How can my presence make things better?
I have learned that it takes more courage to admit that I can make a difference. It is easier to play small, and to think that I am one person in this world and that my actions don’t really effect anyone. It is easier to stay in my world of to-do’s that get me through the day, and eventually those days of tasks being accomplished become my whole life and things are accomplished but what does it mean? It is almost overwhelming to realize that we are all put on this earth for a reason, and that our energy, thoughts and actions really do matter.
As I finally cleaned up the painting supplies that had been sitting there untouched, I realized that I was ready to move on from the person I had been just 5 short weeks ago. That person was still trying to prove herself, still trying to prove that she was worth something, and that she was worthy of being on this earth. I don’t have to do that anymore. I know now that I am worthy, and more than that, the universe needs me. It needs me to stop playing small and take my place in its beautiful plan.