Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sticks and Stones

I love the idea of working in a series. Most of my "series" work has been in collage but I did one six-piece art quilt series, titled "Sticks and Stones". This series hangs in our accounting office and draws many comments. I've had offers from people who want to purchase one or two of them but I can't break them up (in my case, the idea of "starving artist" applies because I can't bear to part with some things, my bad). I just feel like they belong together.

"Sticks and Stones" came about after having a conversation with a client who had gone through a difficult divorce. As I listened to her long list of divorce and ex-husband related reasons for not being able to get her life together (I'm not talking about a horrific story of abuse, just to clarify), I thought of how she was carrying around the "stones" of her past, weighing her down and making it more difficult to move forward. I listened to her talk about past hurts and saw that she bore the emotional scars of those "sticks".

Now, I am already prepared for all the comments about how difficult divorce can be and how some spouses (not only wives) sometimes suffer greatly as a result of their partners' actions. I am sympathetic and I do not intend to make light of anyone's gut wrenching heartache or the devastating abuses of some nightmare marriages. However, I do feel that one has to focus on finding the path forward - a journey made easier without "sticks and stones".

Imagine if each burden were an actual stone, carried in a bag, dragging behind as you tried to make it through life. Imagine each stick of past hurts, criss-crossing the paths you are attempting to negotiate. Imagine how much easier the journey would be if you would cast away the stones and break the sticks into twigs. That is what I mean.

I am a forward-looking optimist and believe in the power of a new day. Each day begins fresh and clean, waiting for us to work our way through the joys and challenges that lie ahead. I like to set goals, even small ones, because I enjoy the satisfaction of checking things off the "list". I don't spend much time lamenting over what happened in the past because there is nothing I can do to change it. At the risk of abusing metaphors, I like to think of how a car windshield, which we look forward through, is huge, as compared to the rear-view mirror, which we use to look at what is behind us, is so small. That's how I like to think of today and yesterday. Huge possibilities ahead, distant problems behind me. Foot on the gas, moving forward (ugh! I know, I know, but it just fit what I wanted to more metaphors in this post)

Everyone faces challenges in life. What matters is how we choose to deal with them. Making the conscious choice to cast off burdensome "sticks and stones" is critical to finding both the emotional and physical strength to move forward and embrace life's possibilities.

I have another quilt hanging in the office, done in warm peachy-pinky-yellow tones. Stamped on the quilt are the words "Believe in the Power of a New Day". Words to live by.

Write your problem on an actual rock or actual stick with a Sharpie marker. Head to a local lake & tell the problem rock that you refuse to grant it power over your tomorrow. Then kiss the rock good-bye & hurl it far into the lake. Break the stick into little bits & crush them with your foot as you tell it you are done letting it have any control over you. Then dance around a little and celebrate your weight loss. Set some goals & get going!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous series, Gail, and wonderful words of wisdom.