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Making Friends with Monsters Under the Bed

Grab a cup o' Joe & a cozy throw. 

I want to tell you a little story. (It won't take long).


Not about fires... not about politics... not about the pandemic... 

(There's a lot of loud stories going on.)

But this one's the kind that belongs in a little worn, paperback book by your bedside; inviting you to sleep soundly.


This story asks us to stop. Pause.


Can you hear the crunch of leaves beneath your feet?

Do you smell the familiar comfort of autumn harvests filling kitchens with marvelous aromas?

I love how no matter what's going on in the world, nature has a way of reminding us to be here.

Just for right now.


This morning as I walked our beach I could actually hear fog combing over the field of grass leading up to the coast. Have you ever heard anything like that? It was magical. The soft brushing sound reminded me that if we pause and listen, the whispers are often much more awe-striking than the shouts. Lately, I've been finding these whispers of nature to be far more helpful than the shouts I hear on most media outlets.


These whispers don't just come from outside. I've also noticed them (even more profoundly), inside me.


So, here's the story and how it ties in:


Since we've been painting our emotions in the Head to Heart through Art membership group, last week I decided to start an experiment. Each night before bed I reflect on the most prominent emotion I felt during the day. I imagine what colors, shapes, and textures might represent it. Then I paint it. One particular painting I began represents sadness. And to my surprise, it's actually turning out quite beautifully.


My objective during this experiment is not to paint "beautiful" paintings, but rather to express with authenticity. However, what I found ironic was that once I began painting sadness--an emotion that I so often dislike and resist--its image actually appeared beautiful to me. (It's still in progress--you can watch me working on it here.)


This led me to realize that beyond the sadness--or rather--at the center of sadness (at least in my experience)-- lies calm, tenderness, sensitivity, opportunity and desire.


Desire to be loved.


Opportunity to connect, most importantly, with myself.


I've always resisted sadness. Felt it to be burdensome. Felt it to be too heavy to bear, at times. And yet this year, as so many uncomfortable emotions surface for the world, I found myself befriending my sadness--that ugly monster that so long lingered under my bed.


It's not so "ugly" after all. 


In a way, by painting this emotion, I began making friends with a monster long lurking in the dark. 


That's not to say that every time we paint or express our "ugly" emotions, they become beautiful. Sometimes we become acquainted with just how "ugly" or uncomfortable they really are.


But the important thing is that when we cozy up with these dark corners, we turn our emotions and our experiences into creative fuel-- instead of letting them block our creativity.


Sure, this all may sound a little esoteric or cheesy, but I dare you to try it.


What monsters under your bed are showing their faces this year?

Take a breath, tune in, and imagine what those scary emotions might look like.

Grab a paintbrush and see what wants to come out (and remember, no edits. No one even has to see it-- this is for you).


As autumn's equinox ushers us towards Samhain, we're reminded of the opportunity we have to embrace the darkness like a comforting womb. To get curious and explore inside ourselves. To listen to the whispers.


What wants to be be-friended? 


Could getting acquainted with it set you free?









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