Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Day 40 and Jim
Practicing is always impactful I get excited just thinking about continuing with the practice of daily painting.
Today's face reminds me of a friend of mine that I never met. Someone who's name was Jim. Someone who reached out to me when my life was a fast moving train headed for a jumbled up mess of a derailment. He was the steady voice of reason when nothing made sense in my life. He would always tell me that I could not see in other's what wasn't in me. It's kind of like the opposite of another statement that I have also heard before. Which is if you see it (typically a character defect) then you own it. When you are mad at someone's behavior that you see it is because you see the reflection of yourself in that person. The same can be true about love. I don't know if these things are the absolute truth or not. But I can tell you a story about meeting a man that I never met in person, and how it impacted my life.
Last night I saw a question on a social media site by a new mom asking her contacts or friend's to tell their experience with raising children. Her question made me think of Jim. I remember while in an emotionally painful time in my life I was floundering in a sea of negative fearful perceptions. My trust recently shattered like a mirror dropped on marble floor. I feel fortunate that there were a few people then that offered me compassion and time when I needed it most. Cut to the core, I could only seek out this man and tell him my story with fear and in a hurry. What happened really isn't important at this point because don't we all have some kind of story of our own? What is important is that he spent time listening to my story. He heard all my pain, all my hurt, all my experience with those and never left. He always heard everything I had to say. I had a LOT to say. He knew that I had a mountain of hurt. I would talk and talk and talk and as an hour would pass he would thoughtfully drop hints that he needed to get a drink of water soon .. or say . going to have to go soon. I talked until I was exhausted.. when it came time for him to go .. I would ask if he would be back tomorrow? He said he would, I asked if he was going to leave now. ? He said I will sign off when you sign off. This is the clue about where I met him. Yes he was online. He would always wait till I left. He never left first. In my hurt I never saw his thoughtfulness or consideration but gradually I was able to trust him. So you could say that I came to him with a huge cavern in my heart and unable to trust anything. He did so much just to listen. Finally, I didn't worry that he might not come back .. i trusted that he would listen and I slowly began to believe this idea that I couldn't see anything in other people that was not in me. I began to feel gratitude for his time and for his consistent compassionate voice. His way was unlike any other person I had ever known. He was always appropriate and kind. Finally, I could express my gratitude to him often. I felt after a long time that he always had kindness and care and truly had my best interest at heart. I felt that I could tell this man, who I never met that I loved him. No one else did what he could do.. at a time when I desperately needed it. I had big love in my heart for his kindness .. i could feel this love in my body, like feeling a pillow on my chest .. like a hug from a loving person. I told him that I loved him. And he said to me .. you love the reflection of yourself that you see in me. Remember, you cannot see in other's what is not inside of you. It seems strange to say this but I felt an amazing thing happen at that moment. I felt for just a moment that I could feel this big love for my self. It was a wonderously fabulous feeling. I felt as though so much came together at that time. I could see the breaking of long held views against ideas of loving yourself as if to love yourself would mean you were vain or selfish. That to love your self somehow meant you were conceited or loved to look in a mirror. But it was none of those things. It was believing that there was something inherently good and loveable about my self. That I had some value that was worth spending time with, or working hard for. I was worth believing in. Now if you ask yourself if you love yourself and your first thought is that it feels strange or uncomfortable try to see the goodness in other's. Think of the one person you love the most and why, and imagine that those qualities are in yourself. I think this is what the verse in the bible means when it that says for us to love our neighbors as our selves. This is the kind of love you want to have or you cannot love other's. Makes sense to me that if you do not like yourself you are likely to feel the same about other's. So .. this face today may seem intense in some ways.. that's what Jim was like for me. An intense lesson in how to love yourself and the importance of it. It's good to have a reminder of it. When you love yourself you can love others. You can have compassion for people when they are angry because they are just showing you how they feel about themselves. You can respond with compassion to them. So the question from the young mother.. about the best experiences of parenting a child made me want to tell her to teach her children to love them selves. This is to me the most important thing to teach them. The rest will unfold in its own way.
Thank you for following my journey and for reading if you do .. or even just looking at my portraits. I do so appreciate it. If you would like to own today's portrait I am calling Jim. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's $40 today. Thank you .. see you tomorrow.