A Spring Renewal: Finding Wisdom in the Old

Still Life with Otter (2012)
Still Life with Otter (2012), Oil on Canvas, 12″ x 18″

What is the core limiting belief keeping you small?
Who would you be if you didn’t believe this anymore?
 Tara Brach

I looked at this painting on the wall last night, and realised that it is one of my favourite. It’s been 2 years since painting it, and I am in a completely different place in my life, but somehow this little otter still captures a feeling I have finally began to understand-

That we are designed not to be perfect, but to be alive. 

This means we will continually change, adapt, grow, from forces internal and external. Growth is messy, it can be unpredictable, it takes hard work, and what we become is hardly ever what we expected in the beginning.

This little otter is not holding hands with a fellow sea otter as they should (to avoid being pulled away by the tides as they sleep). He is alone, but not lonely. His expression is one of peace.

Comfort, familiarity, safety … is nice. We all yearn for it. But just as a tree cannot grow strong without the downward pull of gravity,and the push and pull of the winds, we need discomfort in order to grow, change, transform.

There needs to be some darkness for us to see the light.

It is up to us to choose our path, and we choose how we experience the path. These choices can be daunting, but they are also empowering – as long as we remember that even a climb to Mt Everest was done one step at a time.

So my question now is:

Would you rather be perfect, or be alive? Will you stay comfortable, or will you choose to grow?

This Spring, Mr Otter, I’m with you.



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