Making the Time

Last week wasn’t my finest. I had a cold, my husband was out of town, we had constant rain and two rainout days at school which meant that my three boys (age 10 to 15) were home. With me. In rain. With nothing scheduled. On top of that I discovered that I had a rat making a nest inside the engine compartment of my car. Joy. I also had a full schedule of students, and two 4-hour studio dates in which I was to paint. The studio time was the first thing to go as the rainout days were announced.

But in the middle of all that I had my once a month painting date with my dad. We meet at Fort Baker, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Usually it’s too cold to be outside and we paint from the front seats of my mini van with our watercolor field sets. We sip warm drinks, paint, and talk. Oh, we talk, talk, talk about our lives and our people and what we think about this month, and we thoroughly enjoy our time together.

I find this time absolutely precious. Sometimes one of us makes a lovely painting. Oftentimes they’re simply OK, or even mediocre.  Here (below) is the painting I made this month. I think it lives somewhere between mediocre and OK, but that’s not the point. I painted. I visited with one of the two most important men in my life (my husband being the other) in a cozy and honest way. And I connected with my true self as I do when I make art.

Those two hours kept me sane last week. I touched home. I spent two golden hours with my dad, and with my artist self. This return to home, this true connection with self, helps me to maneuver through the ups and downs of my daily life. It helps me to speak about what’s important to me, and to share what I see in our world.

But this connection doesn’t happen out of the blue. It needs to be seen as important to my life, my family’s life, my student’s, and my audience’s life as well. And then it needs to be scheduled. I need to make it happen by putting it on the calendar.

I hope you can find ways of giving yourself the time to connect with yourself. Maybe you need to write it into the weekly schedule, take a class, or meet up with a friend in the landscape. Sometimes what you make will be so great that it fills you with joy to look at it. Other times it will just be OK. And that’s fine. It may still fill you with joy because it’s evidence that you’ve been connecting. It’s in the making that we find flow and touch down into our true selves.

Melissa Weiss