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Indian Summer
Mixed Media
2003

This piece was painted at a very strange time in my life. I didn’t feel like I could deeply connect with anybody. I was on anti-depressants and the only way I could paint was if I went off them for a while, then the creativity came back.It turns out that when I am on those drugs, I have no spark left. I guess you could say that it’s our suffering that shows us the light.It’s when we experience life fully, the pain included, that we tap into that deep river of power that lets us know we are alive.Having sat alone on a hill, and having been down in the trenches with relationships and kids, one thing I’ve learned is this:When you have no one to care for, inner peace comes really easy. Living a life of isolation, surrounded by like minded folks, can lead you to a state of enlightenment and you can become worry free, judgement free, and like the best hot dog in the world: One with Everything.The real challenge is finding that while still participating in life.

And that’s where most teachings start going over our heads, right?

I mean, yes, let’s be grateful, let’s do our best, dream the big dreams and walk our true path.

Let’s focus on what’s important.

But there’s still wood to chop and water to draw and fields to plant, jobs to do, kids to raise, and so on.

Some people get overwhelmed by it all and no wonder. In a way, we all get overwhelmed by it. We live in a very strange time that we’re just not prepared for.

We’re breaking our societies, our communities and the world.

But as dire as it all sounds, there’s still hope for us, and a lot of it.

There’s still a form of enlightenment to be found that includes all the people we love (even the ones who might not love as much!), and allows for our beliefs, our play, and get this: our attachments.

The key rule in most deeper teachings is to let go of your attachments. To everyone and everything.

And really, if you want a life of no worry, of an even keeled emotional journey, this is the correct counsel.

But most people want to bring their family along their life journey, not as fellow non-attached beings, but as loving, joyful members of a tribe.

But how?

Big question. So I’ll only give a small answer, and one that is imperfect.

Learn your emotions.

Like a wine connoisseur, learn to name every flavour. Become expert at identifying how you feel.

Why?

Because most of our interpersonal problems come from us ignoring how we really feel and naming it something else.

Simple emotions like jealousy become anger or blame when that’s not what they are at all.

Complex emotions like love become simplified into things that have nothing to do with love: possession, control, etc.

Facebook is an amazing teacher. Scroll through and observe the flavours of other people’s emotions and see if they really match up with the words or the post or the share.

Check your own. Be honest.

We spend so much of our time under masks that we present as our face to the world that we forget who we really are, what we really think and how we REALLY FEEL.

Next time you feel a strong emotion don’t take it at face value. Unpack that sucker. See what it’s really about.

The more you do that, the better you’ll get at it. But it’s not an overnight thing. All this positive affirmation stuff means nothing if you think it’s automatic.

Just like building a new muscle, this takes time. Bit by bit you will get better at it, but you have to be intentional and actually take the action.

Try it out.

And one last tip, for those of you in relationships.

5 to 1

Burn that into your awareness.

You must have at LEAST 5 positive interactions with your partner to every 1 negative interaction. Anything less means a very rocky road ahead.

So, like this woman in the painting, contemplating the deep waters, make time to know your emotions. The world is beautiful and the summers last long into the autumn. Let these, clean, crisp nights awaken you and keep you grounded. Let these warm days of Indian Summer allow you to reap the harvest of your lives, to become aware of them.

Winter is coming and with it comes the scouring wind that rips away our comfort, our illusions. Be honest and when the cold arrives in your life, you will know who you are and what you have to do.

hai hai.

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Words and Art: Aaron Paquette

www.facebook.com/AaronPaquetteArt

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