Open.

I still wonder what I’m going to be when I grow up, what is going to define me? Of course, once I sit with this question and unpack it I realize that there is never one destination. I’m never going to arrive at just one thing and say, YES, this is it! I’m an astronaut!

I think this idea of moving and changing and being open to the change is especially true for moms. Moms, I have so much empathy for us. We get pregnant, some of us working for years at being so, we go through the battle of labor, we claw through the monotony and utter exhaustion of toddlerhood, we arrive at elementary school and meet new mommy friends. We then realize we have a bit more time to ourselves. Some of us go back to work. Others volunteer like they are on a mission to Mars. We all continue to pour our hearts and attention into our family. We start to think about our kids getting into college. We remember our husbands are still walking in the door after dinner and lying next to us in bed when we are too tired to have a conversation. Who is that man over there? And during all this time, we have been growing older and moving on this electric, horizontal tram like in an airport. Where are we going? No one spot. Many of us gave up careers and forget the dusty resume. What are we today?

I have thought these things, shouted these things in retaliation to my husband and his thriving career and keep coming back to sitting and just being. Reminds me of my favorite Cat Stevens song that I used to listen to on repeat my senior year in college.

“Oh I’m on my way, I know I am
Somewhere not so far from here
All I know is all I feel right now
I feel the power growing in my hair. 

Oh life is like a maze of doors 
And they all open from the side you’re on” 

-Cat Stevens

I try to meditate every day. I pray and the answer I keep getting is just be. What does that even look like? I think it’s getting comfortable with not having a definition or an answer to “What do you do?” I think, for me, it’s being open. OPEN. Ahhhh, no really. I’ve been more open the more my body and mind have aged and I feel strongly that this is also what is meant to happen. I am open to sitting down and doing a puzzle in a quiet room. I am open to doing a girls’ weekend or having a hard conversation. I am open to traveling and being in a larger-sized jean. I am open to politics and injustice and new recipes and fostering cats and drinking aloe juice and not pestering my body with meat. And painting.

Cat fostering definitely is happening.

(Sailor is a refugee from PR and is currently available for adoption. Email me if interested cbensten@gmail.com I have 4 others as well that can be found on the Homeward Trails website.)

I always told myself that when I really made it in the world I’d shop at Whole Foods and I’d take a watercolor class. A few years ago, I did it. Crazy. I then started an oil painting class and what makes this a huge feat for me is that I was always told I was not a painter. I could be an artist and appreciate art, but the painters were another, more elete group of people that I would never belong. Psht!

Open.

I love my painting classes. My teacher tells me I’m really good at skies. I want to paint one of everything I see and have a whole room of blank canvas. I opened myself up to selling a few months and ago and now my sheep painting is in someone’s home! What?!

Yes, I know this is a cow and not a sheep. “Curious Cow” is available for sale.

Open.

Recently, I was asked to teach a Mommy & Me class at my art studio. Uh. Me? Ok. Moving through this new experience and being open to it makes me feel….like a grown up. The idea that I can say and do what I really, really like to do is real freedom. I’m in this lane for now and next year I may move to another lane, but I feel like more of myself all the time.

View my class and profile at https://arthouseseven.com/
I’m teaching Art Together Thursdays at 10. Just look for my name. xo

Comments

  1. Hello Christen.. I’m happy to see you your smiling face…always have enjoyed your posts! So much inspiration from you! Lori @Vintagethruthyme

  2. Hi Christen,

    Truer words have not been spoken………..I too struggle with the, what do I really want to do in life. Sometimes I feel like the jack of all trades but master of none. It is hard to settle down and focus on just a few interests when you have so many interests and feel like you have to keep up with all the latest. The constant bombardment of new, new, new is exhausting, for me at least. But hooray for all the talented people out there who do inspire us, like yourself.
    But I feel you are on the right track keeping the focus on yourself and definitely keep painting. Art and painting is interpreted in so many ways today there is no true right way you paint in your “style”. Forget the naysayers the are always wrong. I always use the analogy of someone who was seriously wrong in life by remembering-Simon Cowel who belittled Jennifer Hudson when she was on the Voice and told her she would never be anything more than a singer in a lounge on a cruise ship, or words to that effect. He was not only being crass and hurtful but she proved she had what it takes and is a winner.
    Wishing you continued success on your path to posittivity.

  3. So happy to hear how much you are enjoying life by being “open” to taking chances on new things. Very inspirational. As a long time follower, it was very nice to hear from you. Thank you for posting. Big hug to you!

  4. It’s always so nice to see a post from you Christen. Glad to hear you’re exploring new things and enjoying life.

  5. Lisa Barfield says:

    Hi Christen,

    I just tried chalk painting and due to my need to learn all I can about it found you! I’m impressed by your work and you. You are a kindred spirit and I hope you have time and/or inclination to post again. I wish you the best, thank you for your honestly and for posting what you’ve learned – it’s helped me already. You have beautiful taste! You are a sweet and kind person (it’s so obvious in your posts) and you have a beautiful home and family.
    I hope to chat with you sometime!

    Lisa B.

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