“come to life”
36″ x 48″
What is life…
Over the past year I have heard several definitions of life. Early on in my health struggles, a doctor flippantly said to me:
“I guess it’s just life” as I stumbled out of the doctor’s office in a daze of nausea, weakness and pain.
As I was describing how I felt to a friend, I made the comment that I just wanted to get back to “my life”. Her well-intentioned response was:
“This is your life”.
I am not sure why this response irritated me to the core, and continues to irk me. I want to scream to these people that, “No. This is not my life!!! Something has taken over my health, and I am not willing to have this be “my life”! I am not willing to be complacent and miss out on the “normal” activities that I had dreamed of experiencing with my children!!! I had worked hard to create a well-balanced and healthy life for both my family and myself. I made sure to eat healthy, exercise regularly, include humour, music and inspiration daily, create a peaceful home both inside and out, and maintain healthy friendships with family and friends.
Another doctor told me (with good intention) that I was suffering from PTSD because of a non-invasive breast cancer diagnosis and treatment a few months prior to coming down with my “mysterious symptoms”. He continued to explain to me that my body was responding to the stress in my life. What he didn’t know, is that I loved my life both during and after the cancer diagnosis. I was surrounded by a calm, wise and supportive husband, loving friends, and dedicated and helpful family members. I am essentially a hopeful person who knows that her “life” shouldn’t be crowded with burning pain and unrelenting fatigue.
I refused to believe the gentle Chinese Medicine Practitioner who said that I had pushed all of my anxiety and sensitivity down into my organs. I refused to believe that I had somehow created this “life”.
And then finally there was the kind doctor who said that he believed that I was in pain but that there was nothing he could do. Well, his complacency was the “final straw”. His lack of willingness to push further is what finally spurred me to follow the advice of a woman who found hope in a Lyme literate doctor in New Jersey.
My “life” has finally pulled onto the on-ramp of hope. I know it will be a long and difficult journey, filled with many road blocks and detours, but at least I have hope. To me, hope is life. And yes, now this is “my life”.
I recently discovered a most inspiring poet, author, artist and photographer named Tyler Knott Gregson. I stumbled upon his poems and was utterly taken with his ability to cut right through the layers of mundane life and speak the yearnings of the soul. In a recent interview he commented on his creative process: “We create what we do out of necessity for ourselves. It’s a way for us to cope… My mind when I am writing one [a poem] usually isn’t even entirely present, it’s more of a frantic rush to get the thoughts down so I can stop carrying them, so when I am done I feel better. I feel empty, but in the best way.”
Well, once again, he spoke my truth loud and clear. Painting is my way of coping through all the medical chaos I have experienced in the past year. It is my way of tuning out the details of life that can overwhelm and cloud my mind. And when I am done a painting, my mind and heart just “knows”. It really is a rare and miraculous experience to feel fully confident for no apparent reason other than my heart says,”I feel empty, but in the best way”.
I have also been attempting a little experiment of diving deeper into the creative experience and blocking out external distractions while in the act of painting. Instead I have been feasting my ears to the sounds of ocean waves, which have always calmed my spirit and inspired me to dream. The musical movement of the waves has seeped into my seascape paintings while opening my creative spirit up to new possibilities.
Here are a few seascapes that have burst forth in this new creative bent.
All of these paintings can be purchased in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/melissamaryjenkins