“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” By Lao Tzu

Ok, this one keeps coming back to me over and over again. What do I do now? Well, for one, I need to listen to what it’s saying to me. When I started this project, I was feeling crummy about my life and the only thing I knew was I wanted to change that feeling. My oracle cards are repeatedly telling me to pay attention to repeated messages. Ironic or prophetic? Probably both. So, let’s break this down a little.

What am I depressed about, or at least unhappy about? Well, I have been thinking a lot about certain choices and paths I followed recently. I frequently wish I followed other ones. The strongest is that I didn’t pursue an art career from the departure from high school. Yes, it could have been challenging. Yes, it could have been hard and lonely. Yes, it could have been a path that I may not have had much emotional support from family, but it could have been the complete opposite as well. I had friends who thought I should follow that path. I sure felt drawn to it to my core, but my fears won out. I always loved making art and studying it. Some 37 years latter I still love it. It’s actually grown and spread across many more media than just paint. I usually get completely lost in the moment and feel a sense of peace while I’m making something. I’ve even stopped worrying about selling my art. I’m making it it for the shear pleasure of it. I’ve been wishing I had followed my heart for all these years, so I’ll probably be working on changing that habit-mindset for at least a little while longer, but I feel encouraged by the awareness that I am letting go. It brings relief. 

Now, I know that regret is a regression to the past, a regression to some familiarity with discomfort. I’m working on accepting that my comfort zone has been a place of discomfort for a very long time. I’m aware of it and that is a beginning to change it. I am now in a place where I simply do not want to explain, defend, or justify why I do my art or love my art. It is part of me. I’m working on me, fo me. I’m working on the present and that includes being an artist. Wow, this felt good to get off my chest. I can’t wait for my Art Ed. classes to start again in September, but I’m going to continue making everyday and enjoy that feeling.

What does this quote mean to you?

4 thoughts on “Thursday’s Thoughts #6: How you feel shows when you are living

  1. I have been practicing yoga for many years and this quote means to me the following: the past is gone and the future is not here yet. Somehow both are illusions but we keep on being attracted to them. Only the present is here ! And you did very well by choosing to make your present meaningful by doing art. As long as you are happy and are peace, nothing else really matters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, that’s the big question, isn’t it? Am I happy? We all need to ask this of ourselves in everything we do, and then we need to really listen to the answer that comes.
      In a recent class, we discussed some limiting thoughts that prevent us from doing artwork, but I feel they cover all work.
      One of my classmates brought up the question she asked herself (am I enjoying this?) as a way of determining the right time to stop a piece of artwork. I added to her point that I also allow myself the possibility of time and distance from the work and the possibility of revisiting it later to see if I’ve changed my perspective on it. The class agreed.
      The important part is to be mindful of the NOW feelings, acknowledge them, and choose to move on.


      1. Very well said! We all go through this and questions we ask ourselves comes from a certain state of mind: intuition, doubt etc.. but when we are truly happy and satisfied, those questions disappear:)

        Liked by 1 person

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