Life is beautiful. It provides seasons for everything. To play, to grow, to learn, to listen, to observe, to grieve, and to celebrate.
We can’t predict how we’ll navigate the seasons of life. Our circumstances at birth and for most of our youth are based on the lives of those who raise us. We can play and let our imaginations dream of who we want to be and discover what is important to us.
To understand someone — you have to know that the people and places they’ve been have shaped their own personal history.
When we navigate tough, demanding, possibly overwhelming circumstances it’s valuable to try and put yourself in another person's place and see the world through their eyes.
I’m deep into helping my mom prepare to move to Virginia. We’re packing, consolidating, cleaning, donating and all the while surrounded by decades of memories. Framed photos, family albums, boxes of newspaper clippings, report cards, recipes, trinkets and mementos from trips, events and adventures.
The brain is an amazing tool. It can see a photo and transport you back in time. Some photos are so powerful they bring a flood of emotions with them (happy, sad, exciting, difficult).
I've been contemplating how to move all these memories for her. Will we have time to organize, sort and archive these memories for our future generations? Will my kids understand the uniqueness of the stories lived in these photographs? ...for they are living out their own life story…
Why do some photos resonate more deeply? Why do some photos provide more joy or sorrow? Do we have shared emotions? Shared reflections?
There is no question that the same house may tell many versions of the family story. It’s fair to say all versions are accurate in terms of each person's respective experience. But can thinking or reminiscing about the past shape the present moment or even our future? It absolutely can affect our decisions, our attitudes and our relationships.
As I vacillate between keeping the photos/mementos and helping her downsize, I reflect on my own problem: what will my family feel they should do with all my art?
I paint to live in the moment. Art is meant to tell its own story. Perhaps it can remind you of a place, a mood, a person…but it should also give you hope. Hope for the future, hope for adventure, strength for the challenges and new perspectives yet to be experienced.
How do you feel about your own stuff? It’s tricky, there's no way to archive the spirit of a person in a couple albums or even in a few boxes.
I read it somewhere and it fits my current circumstances —
“The best way to keep/save the memories of a person is to carry out the wishes of that person.”
So go paint a picture, plant a garden, hike a mountain, catch a fish, swim in the ocean, read a book, watch a sporting event, share a meal, and spend time with family and friends.
Because all you need to take with you is LOVE.
*Photos taken Fall 2021 - Summer 2022, Washington