There is nothing quite like hearing you have a brain tumor. There is this quiet moment after the words “pituitary adenoma” leave a doctor’s mouth where it feels like the world is standing still.
I cried the entire car ride home. My dear friend Dawn had driven me and my wonderful mother had just arrived from out of town. As I got out of the car there was my mother waiting outside my door. I had to tell her I had something in my head and we wouldn’t know what it was until I had someone dig around inside.
I don’t remember telling all of my family or friends. And there is a lot of story in between. But what sticks with me most in the days leading up to my surgery (you may go blind, you might have cancer, you could die on the operating table) was my desire to paint. How I enjoyed the quiet of my sister’s basement where I painted and painted in the quiet and solitude, trying to drown out the worried whispers and tiptoes in the rooms above. I didn’t paint to fulfill anyone’s expectations, even my own. I painted my present and injected my non-judging self, a person I rarely meet.
After the surgery (which went great: I have my vision, no cancer, still living) I was speaking with a colleague about how I felt during those hours painting. He smiled, looked around conspiratorially and told me he had had cancer. He proceeded to share his best art was when he didn’t know if he would make it, “The trick is to keep that energy with you now that you are back to the everyday.” (Paraphrasing here).
This idea remains with me always. Those artworks were the first time in my life that I truly LET GO. No more judging, thinking, hoping… just me and a canvas. Completely present.
And you know what? They are good artworks. I placed in VSA Arts’ Competition Destination Anywhere and had the works displayed at the Smithsonian as well as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. These are pieces I will always be proud of, with or without recognition.
Don’t wait for a life changing health (insert your own) experience that forces you to let go. Embrace your moment as now and everyday because only then will we all do the amazing, wonderful things we are all capable of doing. What do you really have to lose? What a place this world would be.
What’s holding you back?
Inspired by Ev Bogue’s post: Scared Shitless (which has since been removed from his site). I’m scared of letting go, each and every day. You?