Journal Entry, February 29, 2019 – At the end of the day – smile

10:45 p.m.
It has been a gray, wet day and kind of cold. I’m working on a complicated painting. Sometimes the wax in an encaustic painting begins to turn south on me – flowing differently than I intend and the whole work becomes threatened and I begin to experience – after all these years – old doubts about my creative abilities. Today was one of those days, a whole section of a painting that, because of time needs to go well, began to move too far to the left as I was using a torch. Like the doubts, their friends, the critics, began tapping once more at the window. I had to stop – go upstairs and settle in with a cup of tea. On the kitchen table, Kathy had left a new magazine.

The first article I came across was titled, “Going Easy on Yourself.” How does the universe arrange this stuff? Why doesn’t it busy its coincidences with me finding a dropped lottery ticket or a not so good encounter between Mitch McConnell and a deranged taxi driver? The article reported on a major study that revealed that 78% of people confirm that they are more understanding and compassionate with other people than they are with themselves. The article had ideas about handing out patience and care to yourself. I went back to the painting with a ‘what’s it matter’ perspective and things went really well – so well that I was able to pull down the shade on the doubts and the critics – for now.

Kathy also encountered challenge at her day at school – a fight broke out between 4th graders and additional staff had to help her get the conflict managed. I think these kinds of days are difficult for her, particularly when they involve herding and managing kids that are rebellious – certainly far more difficult than my being challenged by the rebellious manner of melting wax. A few minutes later – and after the conflicts were resolved it started to rain and several of the kids on the playground started complaining when they had to hurry back into the building. Kathy said that she told the group as they were running past her that they were “Oregonians and should be used to rain.’ A little boy of Chinese descent hurried past her and commented, “Not me, I’m Asian.”

Letting go and finding reasons to smile – the best ways to end a day.

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski