Thursday, April 7, 2011

Serving others

There's a voice in my head.

You probably have one too.
It makes comments. Asks questions.

Often it is negative, even at times punitive. And while I have tried to lessen its influence on my mood, I do take it into account and consider its message, because while the message is often warped, twisted, or exaggerated, it can have kernels of truth that warrant examination.

One line of questioning it has battered me with since I quit full time teaching to pursue art is along the lines of, "Are you being self-indulgent?"

I have given a lot of thought over the years to answering the question, "What makes a life worthwhile?" and I have come to the conclusion that at the end of the day it is all about serving others. Nothing else really much matters, not how much money you made, how beautiful your house was, running a consistent 9 minute mile, even creating something beautiful. The only thing that truly matters is did you help other people become more of what they were meant to be.

With teaching that question was easy to answer. I knew I was making a difference for other people. I could see it in my students' faces and the way they looked at themselves at the end of the year.

I received a tremendous gift yesterday in the form of feedback that yes, my art could serve others as well. One of my customers called to let me know how my art had transformed their lives in ways no one had anticipated. She told me that they moved the painting to the bedroom and they see it every morning when they first wake up. Her husband, who had been neutral about purchasing the piece, decided that it had inspired him to become more physically active. The piece reminded him of a time when he had walked more and felt better. So the two of them have started walking more and he's been going to the gym. They've also looked around at that room and decided that they need to make it more of a comforting place anchored in the colors of that piece. It's given them joy about their home and moved them to make their home more their own.

What a blessing!

P.S. I couldn't not have a visual to go with all of this text. The above photo is from a canoe trip that my husband and son took to Bowron Park in Canada.

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