I was catching up with my old friend, Carol. She was the co-teacher at the painting workshops I attended for 15 years.
With hands gently resting inside her apron’s pockets, she’d carefully mosey over from the corner of the studio to check in with me as I painted.
Mostly, I’d welcome her presence, knowing from experience she’d take me to another level to go deeper.
But sometimes, I’d feel her coming closer and tense up. Don’t mess with me, I’d think. Even though I knew she would help me unleash.
When I was in my late 20’s, there was this one time at a 14-day painting workshop in Taos I’ll never forget. I was painting along, and suddenly, I was starving, obsessed about eating a Snickers bar. (Just to clarify, a Snickers was not my usual indulgence. I’ve had less than a handful of Snickers in my life.)
But that day, I wanted a Snickers bar, MORE than anything else.
I wanted it so badly that when Carol walked up to me to question me, I walked off.
I’ll be a back in a second, I told her and hightailed it in my Jeep to the local convenience store.
Upon returning, I ripped the paper off the supersize bar with my teeth and snarled at chocolate covered peanuts, nougat, and caramel, offering Carol one as a peace offering.
Since, I wasn’t having it, all she could do was laugh. It WAS funny, even though I took that Snickers bar VERY seriously.
All I wanted, more than anything else, was a way to avoid what was being asked of me. I would do anything to avoid the feeling that was ready to stretch me out of my comfort zone.
EVEN though the outcome would have been more creative freedom or possibly even something potentially mind-blowing and life changing.
I’m eating, I said to her as she stepped closer to me. Want some?
She smiled and then easily backed away, leaving me to my own resources.
That wasn’t the only time I experienced painful, difficult resistances in those painting workshops.
Once, I rolled into a ball and sobbed underneath my painting, and Carol came over (with hands in her pockets) and looked down on me, sweetly snorting, Huh.
Or one time I was spinning out, totally pissed off, flailing my hands, and whining, trying to convince her that whatever she was offering to help me get through was ridiculously CRAZY.
I can have a strong, sometimes tough personality, and gratefully, there has been a few people in my life who’ve known how to deal with me.
Carol kept me safe. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was right around the corner with those hands in her apron.
And partly because of her, I learned how to hold the space in difficult times for myself.
This little, less than flattering story of me in my 20’s is meant to illustrate something.
Carol challenged me but with LOVE.
I’m eternally grateful for having such a courageous, willing friend there for me through all my bucking up.
If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be able to paint on my own and TRUST.
Eventually in life, I learned how to stand with my own hands in my pockets.
To meeting our resistances with love!