December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
When I lost my job, I threw myself into my art. While I’d come to art in an enchanted kind of way, learning from memories of my mother and I painting on the kitchen table when I was seven or eight, I approached it in mostly the same manner I do anything - a perfectionist’s eye. This isn’t a reiteration of day two’s theme, that I get in my own way, but rather a statement of fact. Art came to me when I was still in college, stayed with me along the string of jobs I took after graduation, held my hand as I decided to leave corporate life for various part time jobs centered around things I loved - creativity, books, conversation.
Being self-taught meant I followed along the edge of the rules, learning most of them from others. I copied what I loved, I read books, watched videos, kept a narrow view of what could be done based on what had already been attempted by others more learned or experienced than me.
I had begun to open up to the wonder and splendor of the world during college, when, walking down the wide sidewalks of downtown Chicago to classes, I had to slow down. There was no choice - my bursitis had gotten worse, sending tendrils of pain through the joint and down my leg, sometimes so bad, I’d walk with a limp. My knees ached. While others my age could walk fast and run bits and had boundless energy, I took naps during the day, moved slower, left classes early because I couldn’t stand to sit at a desk for longer than an hour.
Sure, I was playful and fun and laughed, but there was always this undertow of despair and sadness lurking under the surface. I struggled - hell, I still struggle! But I had yet to really go into myself and figure things out.
And then, I was drifting. Aimless. So I created and read and relaxed. Allowed, even praised the slower pace in my life. I no longer had days spent in bed, crying because I couldn’t move. I no longer felt my life consisted of work and rest as it often had before. And while things were hard and prescriptions expensive, I let myself grow some roots and be.
I began meditating again. Reconnecting with the Divine. Admitting I’m not in the driver’s seat on this crazy ride. I was loose yet connected. Grounded yet high in the clouds.
And I stopped reading those tutorial books and looking at the art of others and everything else I’d been using as a guide for my creativity. I started to experiment. To keep a log-book of what I discovered. I learned that there is no end to the imagination. Or the heart.
I reconnected with friends. Laughed and shared meals and amazed myself with the things I thought up. No longer limited by what had come before, I spread my wings and tried new things. Not just artistically, but socially. And with foods! And experiences!
I kept my chin up and noticed the clouds in the sky. The shadows buildings cast. I’m reminded on something I read about how the autistic mind works - non-autistics see what they’re used to, what has a mold in their head. Autistics see what is. They see those ships on the horizon because they don’t have filters like others do. And this year, I decided I wanted to see those ships. I wanted to see something and wonder how it could be different. How it could exist. Where else it could go. What else it could do.
And as I drove across the world, through thick forests beginning to shift and change, across great plains with windmills in the distances, to a land vastly different than I was used to, I was overcome with the wonder of the world I live in.
Call me silly, but I don’t want to change a thing.