|Some recent painting I have been doing.|
Instead of listing in my mind the many reasons why I should not do something, I have been practicing doing. Just that. With my son achieving adult status in so many ways there is a freedom that I can now enjoy. And I have. To be truthful, I have spent this summer mostly playing with just a little bit of work thrown in. I have stretched a bit beyond my role as mom and am the better for it.
As I write this I am 650 miles from home in North Carolina--here to take an art course taught by Pam Carriker, an artist whose work I appreciate. I hope to learn a lot, especially about color mixing and portraiture. It is somewhat unsettling to be in North Carolina without Rob, and yet it is not uncomfortable. I have learned that to be unsettled is not equal to discomfort. Being unsettled is often healthy. Time seems to have a way of smoothing the rough and taming the wild edges of grief and I am ever glad for that. I am 100-pages into a memoir chronicling the last two years and though wading into that sorrow is a challenge, I also think it deepens the healing. I have been in this state only one other time without my husband and never in Charlotte where Rob, Devon and I have travelled to and through more times than I can count. What is difficult after the death of my husband are all the new places I have traveled and experienced that Rob never got to know and never will. But, here now I have taken a page from my husband's ways in the world and found a public space to write and it feels right.
This may sound odd but I love people. I love being around others, listening in at times, sharing at others. Given my profession as a consultant and educator I imagine enjoying others and loving children are not so unusual. But beyond profession, we all have a need to connect, to feel the human pulse that ties us spark to life. Matthew Lieberman in Social (2013) writes,
We are wired to be social. We are driven by deep motivations to stay connected with friends and family. We are naturally curious about what is going on in the minds of other people. And our identities are formed by the values lent to us from the groups we call our own (p. 2).
Here in North Carolina on my way to an art workshop, I am part of a group of artists I call my own. So I reached out when I got here to another participant who Sean (the man who picked me up from the airport) told me was also going to be at the workshop and was staying at the same hotel. Patricia is a delight and has led such an incredibly interesting life full of intrigue, foreign locales, and of course--art. We passed a lovely evening and knowing we will share this weekend experience is grounding.
This is what it means to live in the middle of things.