I am a painter and work holistically with people facing dying, grief and loss. I paint portraits and anything that I am requested to paint. I also work on the A Graceful Death exhibition, portraits and words from the end of life. My latest project is called Addicts and Those Who Love Them, working with addicts through words and paintings. I love sitting on my sofa in my pyjamas, wrapped in a colourful blanket, drinking tea and thinking.
Sunday, 24 August 2014
How do you Move On, and Let Go the Old Cheese?
From upstairs, I hear sounds of grim and desperate gasping. Giant Boy is training the Anxious Pole. They have spilt out from the room where the weights and training stuff is kept and onto the landing; I can hear sounds that make me want to explain to the rest of the household that it is not a blue movie being made up there. Giant Boy's weight machines can be dismantled, the dumb bells moved and weights added or taken away from it. He is a very hard task master, and does not believe in second chances or lilly livered pleading for mercy during training. The Anxious Pole knows that if he lies down and cannot lift the mega ton weights from off of his chest, he will get no help from Giant Boy, who will fix him with his dangerous eyes and tell him to push through the pain. I tell myself that the Anxious Pole is an adult and I do not need to go and save him from a painful death. As yet, he is not dead, and is looking very well so I tell myself he knows what he is doing. And he is, I think, looking a bit beefier. I do not want to tell his adoring mother in Poland that her son has been flattened by a dumbbell, and I also do not want to tell he that her son now weighs two tons and eats cannon balls for lunch.
Against this backdrop of grunting, sweating and the clanging of metal from the landing, the household continues it's gentle way through a Sunday afternoon. The lodger in the Annex has put on her best dress, put in her false teeth, and gone on a date. If he tells me he loves me, she said as she left, I'm coming home. See you in ten minutes then! I quipped. More like twenty, she said, and left. An hour later she is still not back so the signs are good. I am sitting on my sofa, happy in the afternoon sun as it shines through the hollyhocks and into my sitting room. Perhaps September will be an easier month than August, perhaps I will find my energy and will be able to concentrate on the right cheese.
The wrong cheese
I will explain.
On the radio recently, I listened to a very good programme on self help books, one of which was about moving cheese. Who Moved my Cheese it was called. The message was that if your cheese disappears, don't spend all your time longing for the cheese that is gone. Don't pine for that cheddar no longer there, make plans to find some new cheese. If cheese is what you want, and it disappears, pining for it will not bring it back. Wake up and smell the cheese. Get your act together and find new cheese and when you are successful, be aware that someone can move that cheese too. So don't take it all for granted, if your instincts tell you your cheese is not as plentiful as it was, go off on a brie hunt and find some more. Accept change, check your cheeses, have a teeshirt printed with the words Cheese is Change and go with the flow.
I saw how I was holding on old cheese. What is this? I asked myself, why am I sitting and moping about cheese that is no longer here? Why am I trying to visualise cheese that is too vague to see when there are many cheeses in front of me already? It is one thing though to understand that you are spending your time missing cheeses that are gone, and quite another to put into place plans to find some more. And so, I have told myself that I must take it easy for the rest of August. I must be gentle with the knowledge that much of my time has been spend recently in moping over things that are gone, finished, over, and out of sight. While I am being nice and understanding to myself over this, I must make plans for future, tiny, Babybel sized projects. I must open my eyes and see the shimmering vision of Wensleydale, of Stilton, Red Leicester of Camambert before me and go with the flow. Cheese is Change! Go for it.
The right cheese
Back to the present, and the grunting from the landing has stopped. The Anxious Pole is silent in his room dreaming of being a chunky cheese. Giant Boy has been in here playing Debussy very sweetly making me wonder if he has any conscience at all, after training his fellow house mate to an inch of his life (sort of) and then playing gentle sweet piano music as if nothing had happened. The lodger on the date has not come back, which means the date is surviving the experience. She is not happy with her teeth in, and may have already taken them out so that she can settle down to a comfortable afternoon out. No cheese worries for her, she sees it like it is, and acts accordingly.
I will end this week with a painting finished yesterday that makes me happy. It is strange that I have had very complicated feelings of whatever recently, and painting them out results in a very uncomplicated, straightforward image. See what you think. Do you agree?