Friday, December 30, 2022

F ³: Presents


How do you remember the things you want to remember? Do you have a system? Does it work?

For years I wrote things on the backs of envelopes or on scraps of paper that happened to be in my purse. Then I lost them. When I got an iPad I discovered I could save things in the Notes section. This worked pretty well until I had hundreds of items in the Notes section. 

Over the last year I’ve started taking screenshots of things I want to remember. This has been working better for me. (So far.)  I tend to go through my photographs regularly, deciding what I want to keep and thinning out things that are less relevant. And, every time I do that, it jogs my memory as to why I put a particular image there to save.

Here’s one:

Image from PBS Facebook page

Why did I save it? Not for the question, but for the way the question is set into a pattern of colors and shapes. It’s simple and also clever. It indicates winter and celebration with so few visual elements. 

I started keeping an art journal at the beginning of the pandemic. I discovered that I’m drawn to images that combine shapes, colors, and patterns in interesting and creative ways. 

At the outset I had very little confidence in my artistic ability. So I started by attempting to recreate images I liked - - just to see if I could do it - - and moved on to exploring and experimenting using what I had learned in that attempt. My goal was to enjoy the process. No judging, no worrying, no comparing myself to others. 

Giving myself permission to enjoy something I’d always felt bad at has turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself. There’s so much self-discovery that is possible if you allow yourself to do something purely for your own enjoyment. I’ve made my art journal a judgement-free zone. I affirm my choices instead of second-guessing them. 

I treasure the moments when I am so immersed in the process that my brain is completely occupied and I am completely present. It’s restorative. The end product is important only in that every picture is there because I liked it and I enjoyed creating it. They don’t all turn out exactly as I had planned, of course. But in a judgement-free zone that means that I can choose to take what I’ve learned and use it next time.

On every page there is something that makes me smile. 

My daughter and her partner gave me a new art journal and a huge box of markers for Christmas. I’m almost at the end of the one I’m working on now. I think it’s my fourth since the pandemic began.

What was the best gift you’ve ever received?

Did it come in a box wrapped with ribbons and pretty paper? 

Was it a life experience shared by someone who cares for you? 

Or was it something you gave yourself?

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