These three little words have consumed my mind of late. What does it mean to live ‘out loud’? For me, I believe it involves living one’s true self and shining as you do it.
Now previously and still, I am a firm believer that each of us has a particular path that our life’s journey happens on. Many other people’s paths will interchange with ours for a little while or a long while. Someone’s path may run parallel with ours while others run perpendicular. Some paths we come across may bring us gifts and others we may leave something behind from our path in order to help someone else out. Sometimes we abandon our path all together because life asks something more from us. Regardless of where we stand today, the path of who we are is still there waiting for us to simply recall where it is. The funny thing is when you relocate it, you most often didn’t even know you were off it.
When I moved to Arizona I was excited about my envisioned path to artistic stardom! I was going to come here to the great Southwest, try to summon my beloved Georgia O’Keeffe, and sit in my studio to create a fascinating body of work that would go to galleries and get gobbled up by new collectors. I had done everything I needed to do to prepare for this big artistic moment! I had come out to the desert for years gathering resources of cactus blooms and funky agave portraits. My brightly colored artwork was going to make a big splash here and finally I was going to artistically belong.
“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns
The only thing that occurred in my big vision is that I moved to Arizona. I have a job doing financial work for a company I love but never even knew existed. Every artist grieves when they have to get a ‘real job’ because it always seems a step further away from our dreams. I try and get into my studio once a week to keep these creative juices from drying up. For some time, I must admit I was existing in the shadows of embarrassment that I was no longer who I wanted to be, but instead was being who I needed to be. I was emotionally drained of who I thought I wanted to be because to try and be an artist who doesn’t make artwork is about the most heartbreaking thing for me to go through.
One of my survival tools to endure this great change is that I try to practice appreciating the details of my experiences. This practice allows me to be still and absorb all that is around me. In the stillness of being, that’s when the good stuff happens. Have you ever walked into a coffee shop that, upon entering, feeds your soul and makes you feel like you have spent a lifetime there already; or met someone that unknowingly reconnects the bonds of who you are with their gentle words or a soul seeing glance, or opened yourself to the colors of a radiant sunset allowing your brain and soul to reconnect in the silence? It’s important to pay attention to these lightning rod moments, for they lead us back to our true paths.
Through this newfound stillness, I have recently been fortunate enough to recognize unique moments when something or someone becomes the key to opening my awareness or becomes the bridge that helps me get back to my true path. I have recently experienced this bridge which has reconnected me with an amazing version of myself that was put away a lifetime ago. Through this connection, I have been able to refamiliarize myself with my young soul that was bold, fearless, light in spirit, and full of curiosity. Thanks to this bridge, I have a sense of belonging that I have not had in the past 21 months here and even longer in life along with the sense that I am back on my true path. I am still tenderly and slowly walking on my path, not having felt it for a long while, and discovering more about myself every day.
For me personally, my path is where the small things lie. My path is not a quick one, instead it is one of discovery and learning. My path is listening to the small details that surround us in nature, acknowledging the vibrations from the things we often don’t see, and sharing my passionate appreciation of it all. On my path; colors are richer, breezes feel sharper, birds fly faster, and I want to dance slower. I have also noticed on my path I walk a little taller, smile a little easier, and hug a little harder. It’s as if all these great parts of me were strewn along the path when I walked off it, but I am grateful to reconnect with them.
I believe in this reflection, for me, living life “out loud” is celebrating every nuance that surrounds me in a moment and realizing how I was meant to be right here, right now.