Monday, January 6, 2014

The Second Resolution

I made two resolutions for this year. The first was to cultivate more joy in my life through the written recognition of gratitude. The second resolution has been to stop hating myself, especially when it comes to the stream of condemnation that comes to me from my own mind. I've come to realize over the past couple of years since I came to Christ that the condemnation is almost a sick pleasure that I have used to paralyze myself from moving forward rather than do something productive. It sounds so stupid and strange to say that, but I've been forced to admit that it's true. It's something I've been battling for as long as I've been deep down savoring it. I decided this year that I'm not going to let myself sink into and savor that kind of hate-speak, and that I'm going to recognize it and shut it down before it starts. So far so good.

I realized that another part of that is to identify my true talents and things that bring me real joy, rather than things that I do to emulate someone else, make myself more interesting, indulge in idle curiosity or distract myself. I've wasted a lot of time in distraction. I want to focus on hobbies that are really meaningful to me, stripped down to my roots.

Several days ago as I was chopping onions it hit me suddenly that God has given me artistic talent which I have totally wasted since high school. My senior year I was taking four art classes. Four. Seriously. I loved it.

Now I use my creative energies in crafts which I've learned: knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing. The difference is, I follow patterns for those things. They offer joy of completion, but they are not really original and perhaps some creativity is not being used. I have absolutely no interest in creating patterns. I've put forth a considerable effort into learning to play clawhammer banjo. I do like playing sometimes, but I know I don't have musical talent. My banjo playing is built on muscle memory and sweat. Something I learned just to prove that I could. I don't have any particular desire to push the limits and get better. I can play Cluck Old Hen and some other happy songs and that's enough.

I realized as I was chopping onions that I stopped doing art because I felt like a poser. Other people were better. Other people were real artists. I'll never get anywhere with it. I totally lost the memory of the way it made me happy to make art. I hated myself and I amputated something that came natural, like breathing, to me.

I think it's time to get back to the basics of Rachel. Art, reading, reflection, laughing, nature and prayer.

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