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“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl

The list of reasons to be bitter is long. Life can be challenging. Financial hardships, health issues, parenting issues, family drama. I could go on. And on. And on.

How do you still find a grateful heart in the midst of grief or turmoil? Our minds are an amazing tool that allows us to always make a choice between bitterness and gratitude. It’s not always easy. but we can always choose joy and gratitude. Finding beauty in everyday things is a choice.

“My Morning Glory” was painted during an especially challenging time. I was struggling to find the gratitude in my days. My Dad was in the hospital.  He was in ICU.  Things weren’t looking good for him.  I needed to get my mind off of my worries.

Some restorative painting time was in order but I didn’t feel like painting anything in particular.  I decided to just start painting and see what would come.  Instinctively I chose to paint with purples and deep blues.  A morning-glory was what flowed out – the same color as the ones that grew on the backyard fence where I grew up.  It brought back the memory of long summer days in the back yard.

I found that I could say things with COLOR and SHAPES that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.  – Georgia O’Keeffe

Retrain your brain through art

I have been looking into why we go into patterns of negativity, even depression when bad things happen.  These patterns of thinking are so deeply ingrained that we don’t even know they’re there.  It could be that we learned these patters as small children.  Now, it feels normal to think that way.

But those patterns, when they are no longer serving us, or worse causing us depression or intense anxiety need to be called out.

This is why I find painting a perfect activity when I am anxious.  It calms my mind.  Slows my thinking down enough to identify the patterns.  You don’t have to be an artist to try this.  You just have to have a few paints and a surface to paint on.

With love and big hugs,