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Questions and answers in a thrift shop

Submitted:May 2, 2014    Reads: 14    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   

The Painting

I stood in the thrift shop looking at all the things discarded around me. The clothes, the dishes, knick knacks, all purchased for some purpose, all discarded when their value was no longer seen. At first I felt a moment of despair, remembering what someone once said to me. "It seems that people are disposable now." I spent hours tossing this around in my head. People are disposable. Am I disposable? Can I really be discarded and replaced so easily? Did I really believe we are all disposable? No. That is what haunts me some nights. I believe there is something more. I wondered why I am so blessed to be able to see life so differently. How is it that I see life as beautiful, amazing, simple and sweet? I am looking to understand how people, including myself at times, make it out to be so difficult. I look at each person and see that despite our outer appearance, our attitudes, whatever we chose to display for the world to see, there is something hidden in each and every one of us. We're too scared to show it. I think of my most recent "quote." It makes me laugh as I imagine one day I will see my own thoughts in writing as people quote me. I do not admit it to many people, the true belief inside that I am intelligent and have smart things to say. To many people judge dreams and speak only of limitations. My most recent proclamation is, "We all put on a brave front, and it is those who are not afraid to show their weakness that are truly brave." Again, from my own experience, most people fail to understand that we must embrace our weaknesses, share them as well as be brave. I am working on this myself. Admitting I have weaknesses. I have always been a survivor, putting on a brave front so that no one will see that I can be weak and need help. Putting up walls to hide how vulnerable I feel at times, how sensitive I can really be. My friend told me one day, "Did you know that the people that appear the most strong, really are the most sensitive? Did you know that those who spend all their time protecting and helping others, sometimes really need someone to protect and help them? And, did you know that the three hardest things to say are: I love you, I am sorry, and help me?" I stared at my friend. That was all I could do. In my mind I wonder who and how? Who can help me and how do I ask? Is there anyone who can or will actually follow through? I am good at saying I love you and that I am sorry. How do I ask for help?

I pondered this conversation as my sister searched for clothes for her theme party at the DAV. I myself was only looking for answers. I knew there was nothing that I needed to buy because "things" do not have the answers I seek. All the answers are inside of me. What I want money can't buy. I found little things as I perused the shop, reminders of the awareness I am cultivating into my life. I have to learn to be patient because the answers sometimes take time. All the signs are there though. Sometimes I laugh out loud because it feels like I have a big juicy secret. My laughter once a stranger to me is now becoming more frequent. I am still surprised sometimes at how loud and strong my laughter makes an entrance into the world. I still look around to see the reaction of other people as my laughter commands attention. I feel my laughter explode out of me like a firework, lighting the sky. Most people look uncomfortable or confused. Just that morning The Universe told me, "Some will hear, but not listen. Some will listen, but not understand. Some will understand, but not act. But OMG Jessica when you manifest happiness, everyone will call you lucky. Love to Love YOU, The Universe. PS. You're an inspiration here on Earth." I love these daily e-mails. They make me smile and bring me hope. I have made the decision that no matter how uncomfortable or confused others seem at the sound of laughter that big, that strong, I won't stop laughing, even if it is through tears some days. The other night after the rain, I jumped and splashed in rain puddles just to make and hear myself laugh. A woman jumping in rain puddles, what a riot. Still, sometimes the secret weighs on me because I long to share in it with the people I love and I become silent. Fear takes hold with questions of its own.

All of a sudden in all these thoughts my eyes were drawn to a painting on the store's wall. Most people would look at it and dismiss it, not give it a second thought. As I looked at it from other people's view, I could see how it could be thought of as ugly. Not really art at all. It was the kind of painting that people would say, "I could take a brush and splash paint on a canvas and call it art. What's so special about that?" This painting seemed to draw me in though. It pulled me to move towards it, beckoning me to take a closer look. The steps I took felt like they were not of my own will. The activity and scenery around me seemed to fade and blur around me and all I could focus on were the various colors of pink, black and grey paints that took form on the canvas before me. I studied the composition as it held me captive and watched as a story began to unfold before my very eyes. Art does that for me, tells me a tale. In the lower right hand corner of this painting, the swirls of color formed the shape of a woman's face gazing upward. Her hair was like a massive storm of vitality and she held her mouth open slightly, it looked as if exhaling her spirit into the world. On the rest of the canvas, the open expansion that seemed to be formed from her very breath, this Goddess I saw was offering thoughts of love, apologies, gratitude, joy, forgiveness, promise, hope, faith and happiness into the world. Her thoughts were flowing, twisting and dancing together creating energy and light within the paint swirls and colors. The life force pouring out from her soul and her heart entered gracefully into the world with the intention of healing. I was captivated and seduced deeper into the very life being revealed. I found fear and pain there too. These were over shadowed by all the good intention, evidence of it barely marked by a thin stroke of black here and there, as if to say "How can you ever know joy if you haven't known pain. Let go of fear and only love remains."

I felt my heart begin to expand as I felt love overcoming fear. It is something I practice every day. It swelled up so big inside of me it forced tears into my eyes. Tears are just as good as laughter they say. Release the same chemicals into the body. I felt the embarrassment of shedding tears in public though; I became aware of music playing, pots rattling, and hangers being dragged across the bar as people scoured the clothes. I quickly looked around to see if anyone had caught me. I wasn't surprised and also relieved to find that no one had witnessed me staring into the painting and getting all choked up. I went to find my sister. I dabbed at my eyes, ran my fingers through my hair, gave it a little toss, took a deep breath and exhaled. My thoughts are on love, apologies, gratitude, joy, forgiveness, promise, hope, faith and happiness. I know the answers will come.


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