Ready to Let Go

And why are children the most beautiful flowers of all? Because they allow themselves to be who they are. Without agendas, they flourish in the now. Whether the sun shines or buckets of rain pour, it’s a good day. We are all born with a sense of wonder,  but it soon fades. We learn not to trust our own nature. It happens to some earlier than others, but it’s rarely escaped. This lack of trust is the root of why we think we have to control every aspect of our lives. It’s not only self-defeating but futile. I’ve spent years praying for my hands to unclasp the control I hold so tightly. I have come a long way. I’ve discovered that I don’t know what is best for others or myself. I am open to what life brings me – most times.

 An area I’ve found impossible to loosen my grip on is my creative process. I have a schedule in my mind that I’m never able to adhere to. Always pushing, I resist any interruption in my work flow. When something does get me off track, the wheels of reprimand begin turning in my brain. Why do I hold on so tightly? Because my creativity burns like a fire in me. I’ve guarded and protected it my whole life. I’m afraid to let it run its own course. If I do that, will it eventually die away?

 Matthew 6:34 reads, “Therefore do not worry for tomorrow; for tomorrow will look after its own.” Does that mean if I let go, my commissions will be completed in perfect timing? Have my attempts to direct the flow actually interfered with the Creator’s plan? Why am I so insistent that illustrating is a 9 to 5 job anyway? My attempts to manage only seem to bring frustration.

 I am ready to take a leap of faith and live like a child. That means being immersed in the now and turning my creative undertakings completely over to God. I’ve done that in other areas of my life. Remembering the peace of being guided makes this leap less scary. I’ve learned life works itself out and to count on the missing pieces coming to me. Stress is a sure sign I’ve taken control back. What spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle shared in a lecture makes good sense to me, “Enjoy the doing in the now. With the enjoyment of the doing also comes the power that flows into it. Enjoy the energy that flows into the doing and it becomes empowered. And then the goal looks after itself.”

 Yes, I’m ready to let go. If flowers and children blossom at exactly the right time, then my paintings will too.

 Is there anything you cling too?

Aine, my little muse.

Aine, my little muse.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.

Life is a Gift

Life is a Gift Life is a Gift

The gift is always wrapped in risk.  It takes courage to open it and dive in. From cradle to grave we’ve been indoctrinated to dedicate ourselves to safety. Which doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, until you consider all you’re likely to miss.  I’m convinced real safety lies in the willingness to be surprised by life. A mind that weaves safety nets ends up boxing itself in. Being open leaves room for the unimaginable to enter.

At the end of my days, I will be glad I followed my path as an artist. Sure, it’s risky. There isn’t a steady paycheck, and I walk hand in hand with rejection. If I had abandoned my gift for a more conventional career, no doubt I’d have more money in my pocket. But to experience the fullness of life is why we are here. I am in agreement with George Bernard Shaw when he said, “I want to be totally used up when I die.” Yep, life is for living.

My muses for this piece were my great-niece Aine  and her little brother Colin. Notice a younger version of Aine in the banner at the top of the page.

My muses for this piece were my great-niece Aine and her little brother Colin. Notice a younger version of Aine in the banner at the top of the page.

The dog in the picture is the beloved Quincy.

The beloved Quincy modeled for the dog in my art.

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved.