when a mural is painted over… your gift erased

I came across these photos yesterday of these murals that I painted about 15 years ago in my parents house.  My mom had been wanting something with this Tuscan feel and when Skylar was a baby there was a time that we lived with them so I painted these murals kind of as my rent and a thank you to her and my dad.  I was about 25 years old or so.

This piece was on a large wall that went up the middle of the house in the main living area.

italian countryside mural  

Over in the hallway both sides were lined with similar styled, soft glowing italian countryside inspired art.

So these murals stayed up for about 5-6  years I believe.  My mom told me many times how much she loved them and the feel it gave their home.  My mom passed away in early 2009, her passing was unexpected and shook my world as you can imagine.

Fast forward a few years later and my dad and his girlfriend are living in this house and getting it ready to sell.  My dad’s girlfriend expressed a desire to paint over all these murals with a soft gray color.    I was completely okay with this.   What I didn’t expect was the number of relatives and family members who heard that these murals would be painted over and came to me with complete disapproval.  They couldn’t believe that they’d choose to paint over these.  Over and over for years I heard this from people

I want to share why I felt so at peace with giving my permission.  I think it translates to so many other areas of life.   Even though I had spent dozens of hours painting these pieces, I knew that that was as a gift of love to my mom.  As much as my dad was also there and appreciated them, it was really for her.  I knew that I was okay with keeping those pieces sacred with her, when she was no longer there to appreciate them and enjoy them, then I was okay with understanding that the purpose they fulfilled was complete.   They were no longer needed.

My next reason was more practical, I understood that these murals were not everyone’s taste and neutral colors sell better.

So, I consciously said goodbye to them, thanked them for bringing my mom joy and also felt gratitude that I was able to do something to have brought joy.

I don’t have a clear picture of that wall after it was painted but you can get a feel for the space after:

I share this because it’s not just about the murals.  This could be any heartfelt, handmade gift that is no longer needed.  Giving both the giver and receiver permission to release it knowing it’s purpose was served, love and gratitude were felt and it’s okay to let it go on to provide those to another.  Or in the case like the mural, it won’t be re-gifted… it’s just done. No longer there.   This could be a piece of decor that has brought great joy, like a bowl, dish, etc that gets broken.  Instead of focusing on the breaking part, focus on the joy it brought. Say thank you for that joy or usefulness.

Everything has a cycle, a time.  Sometimes we hold things past when they are meant to be there for us.  I think as a society we have a lot of work to do in giving ourselves permission to release things that no longer light us up.  Or to simply say thank you and let things, people, experiences go on their way. Hold gratitude for the role they played.  This can also be a friendship or job… not all are meant to be forever.  Things will sometimes end, don’t let the ending cloud the lesson and rewards of the experience.

My sister and Skylar in front of the mural one Christmas.

Me, Skylar and my mom

The question I’ll leave you with this this, is there something you’ve been holding on to that you need to let go?  Or a way you can re-frame an experience to find appreciation for it instead of focusing on the loss?

Sending you all love.


a day that changed it all – by getting really real

It’s Wednesday. Oct 23, 2013.  It’s cold outside today in the 30’s.  I’m crabby. We’re just coming off a full moon.  Aunt Flo has overstayed her welcome and I’m exhausted. I have been wanting to either yell or cry all day.  Finally, tonight at 7pm I started crying. I walked outside to the garage to get something and just started crying and crying. Praying, pleading for a sign that I’m on the right track with my art career.

Today is the day in 2 different online groups I’m in I did something I’ve never done. I confessed I’m having a bit of a breakdown, I don’t have it all together and I’m scared. I feel like I can’t tell if I’m wildly succeeding in going for my dreams and this is a good scared, or if I’m failing miserably.  I have such big dreams I’m going for and here’s the thing; they are SO deeply personal and close to my heart that it can almost be paralyzing to me when I need to reach out to the next step.  Being an artist is intertwined through my every cell so sometimes I don’t know who to find a healthy distance so that I can take chances without my whole heart involved.

This is the day that I realized there are moments where those completely opposite results and visions of success and failure are only a  sliver apart.  I always pictured success as a road going in the complete opposite direction of failure. So it was obvious to everyone involved what road any person was on at any given time. And furthermore… to get on the other road you’d first have to backstep and trace your path back to a nuetral point and THEN begin on the other path.  I NEVER knew that they can go parallel, criss cross and even merge together here and there and that sometimes you wouldn’t even know what one you were on.  Holy Shitballs.

As I posted my plea for help online the thing that scared me most is that no one would care to help give me advice. I would be invisible.  I cried out of fear as I posted all of my worries.  Then minutes later I cried in amazement and gratefullness as my cyberspace soul sisters poured their support and wisdom my way.

Today is the day my gratitude shifted. A deeper thank you for each person that takes the time to respond to a newsletter I send out, to “like” a new picture I post online of my artwork to even respond to a personal email.

Today is the day I realized I have mindset issues. When I see someone left me feedback on an Etsy purchase and I click on it I hold my breath hoping it’s not bad. Why am I like this? I love myself, yet where does the doubt come from. The fear of confessing what everyone around me already knows. The fear of saying, “Guess what, I don’t have all my shit together”. Intellectually I understand that no one does.  I applaud for the underdogs in stories. I weep out of joy when people go for their dreams.  Why can’t I feel that same appreciation for myself?

Today is the day I realized I don’t know how to be vulnerable.  And do you know who are the most vulnerable?  Those that don’t think they are… and that is not a good thing. It feels like the joke is on me.

Today at 11pm is when I did my Brene Brown and Oprah homework for their online course, this is when I gave myself permission to do the following:

Be shallow, ask questions, give a 100% and maybe still fail, to experiment, to take long baths, to be wrong sometimes, to be crabby or tired or angry… unapologetically at times.  To not apologize for crying, believing in mediums and pyschics and all kinds of woo woo things.  Today is the day that I give myself permission to explore a part time job that will add to my skillset and business goals.

Today I stop worrying what people will think. I will go balls to the walls for my business and my family.  I will make phone calls, get shit done and fight for my dreams.  I know through EVERY cell of my body that one of my soul’s missions here on earth is to work with women. To help them live their most authentic, soulful and inspired lives. I know I do this through my artwork, my stories and community.  I know this. I believe it in. I know I have a story to tell that will help women.  I know that the crap I have gone through in my life is not so that I can sit here now feeling sorry for myself. It’s been my greatest teacher.  I believe in my artwork’s message.  I surrender on what the universe has planned for me on how I will get it out to those who need it.


Reflections from a week later: It’s amazing how tough things can be when we are in the middle of it. It’s hard to see beyond our perspective and the big picture.  It’s hard to know how we’re coming off to others, how many things we should be really proud of ourselves for.   You know what else I can say now, I am vulnerable. I am vulnerable throughout painting every painting and presenting it to the world. For writing poetry to go with it not sure if anyone will connect with it. Walking a line between the different parts of my personality; flowy, spiritual artist and obsessive list maker who gets a natural high from budgeting and doing accounting.  I am my friend, a messy, blurred ball of contradictions, good intentions, dreams and mostly love.  This week I’m perfectly content with that.