Saturday, July 12, 2014


Remember that old TV show, Queen for a Day?  That's how I've felt the last couple of days -- not the "clap if you think her life is terrible" part but the "showered with riches" part.

It's mostly because my paintings were juried in to two different art shows this week, which is a wonderful affirmation after that rejection I received last month.  But people have just been really kind to me the last few days -- you know how that can go in cycles which don't seem to be related to anything -- and it's been... well... lovely.

But it seems really easy to allow a string of good days and successes to seduce us, not just into thinking, "Ah, at last I have arrived," but, more importantly, into looking for affirmation outside ourselves. It's all too easy to grow addicted to praise and good fortune, and to feel the loss intensely when it (inevitably) passes on.  How do we stay steady through the good parts, the successes of life, as well as the bad?  How do we stay conscious, and not get caught up in thinking we are whatever is being projected onto us in any given moment?

I think the secret to not getting too caught up in our successes is exactly the same secret that keeps us from not succumbing to negativity in response to our failures: we need to remember that we are not our egos.  We can acknowledge the feelings we are experiencing -- "I feel happy" or "I feel sad" -- without internalizing them as "I am happy" or "I am sad."

It sounds like it's just language, I know.  But as we learned from the feminist movement back in the 70s and 80s, language is enormously powerful, and even the most subtle distinctions can have a pervasive impact.  So if we can say "I am not my happiness" or "I am not my sadness" it's easier to remember that happiness and sadness are like clouds that pass over us, shading us for a moment and moving on...

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