Behind Every Beautiful Thing, There's Some Kind of Pain

We are in the thick of autumn. I learned two weeks ago that in Chinese medicine, fall is a season for grieving. I've been feeling that emotionally and energetically. Not only as I watch the trees change colors and shed their leaves, as the flowers go to seed and turn brown, but I'm truly feeling like a lot of my identity is dying away as I continue to adjust to parenting a teenager and thinking ahead to the next phase of my life (should I be so fortunate is forever and always the unsung lyric in my cells). 

Every day brings an internal sense of loss as I watch families around me with their younger children out playing, out trick-or-treating, out walking home from school with their tiny backpacks and tiny hands entwined with their mothers' hands. Every time I attend my art portfolio development class at the community college, as I learn about other artists' paths, as I learn about BFA and MFA programs, as I sit among the 20-somethings with their whole lives ahead of them to ponder such decisions, some of my own identity as an artist dies away.

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Any notion of my path ahead is shrouded in mist this season. As I research career paths and talk to people with clearly defined career paths, there is another layer of grieving who I was, who I am, who I am to be. Every time I tune into the news, I grieve for the suffering in my city, my state, my nation, my world. 

Yes, I would agree that fall is a season for grieving. I'm learning to lean into it, to recognize it and call it by its name, to trust that it's leading me somewhere anew (for example, to artist Richard Tuttle, this interview with him showed me I have some kind of energetic connection with him), to understand this is the natural cycle of life. 

"I always aim to live seasonally anyway," I say to myself.

So. What is soothing my grieving heart?

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1. Making art (read the story of this collection here).

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2. Observing nature (this is my ginko tree flowing in the fall breeze).

3. Pure love.

4. Meditation.

5. Taking action for the midterm election. It's my personal dream is to see 90%+ turnout nationwide so we can see where we really stand in this country. No more of this half the population staying home during our elections. Please vote. 

6. This quote:

If I am not for me, who will be for me? 

And when I am for myself alone, what am I? 

And if not now, then when? 

— Rabbi Hillel, Pirkei Avot 1