Saturday, January 16, 2010

Don't think. Just paint.

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Young Harris College. Tena Magher. Have no idea where she is now, but those words that she barked at us young southern college students in her painting class years ago, still stick with me. Vividly.

When you are not trying, magical things can happen.

Now, I don't mean don't try at all. But rather, don't try so hard that you squeeze out the potential for things to naturally unfold. For you to stumble upon something. Or even with my blogging, to allow a blog post just to bubble up and almost write itself.

Often in our lives, expectations, pressures (real or imagined), and anticipations, can impede this mysterious process. A New Year, for instance. No wonder resolutions are only kept for only a week or so. The pressures and expectations are of perfection. Or in art, there is an intimidating notion of confronting a 'blank canvas.' That somehow, what you paint should be done carefully, well, and in one shot. Pfhh! Who made up that rule? We try so hard, we wind up not doing anything. Or anything of interest. Or meaning.

Think of the difference between painting 1 painting in 30 hours, or 30 paintings in 1 hour. You will obviously still try. But in the second scenario, there's also the beautiful balance of not trying so hard.

Enter January 16th, 2009. Busboys and Poets.

One year ago today I went to grab a bite with an intriguing new friend of mine at this cool DC joint he introduced me to. We were caught up in the excitement surrounding the events of the inauguration of last January. He's a DC-area journalist and showed me his hologram-laden credentials and passes for the events. Cool! I was getting busy on my inauguration quilt. We were each doin' our thing. And very intrigued by eachother. Plus, he's hot.

I wouldn't realize till April that this was a date (I'm a little slow to pick up on things sometimes).

But that was good.

Because for four solid months, I was wysiwyg. Most people who know me, know there's little effort spent on pretense. I'm just me. I've also held a belief that while I was ready to share things in life with someone else, if there wasn't anyone, that would certainly not stop me from doing the things I love. Then, poof. Through a monthly coffee house meeting with our church, and later bumping into eachother and chatting it up on a chilly January day, it was an instant connection.

A month later, this night, at Busboys.

I later said to him that I've always felt like I was this funny, weird-shaped puzzle piece. It's like that child's toy where the circle goes in the circle. Square in square. And he and I just fit.

As a nod to this revelation of mine, one of the gifts I gave my niece for her first Christmas — was the very toy that taught me that lesson.

Don't conform to any other shape than what you are. When you are you, then if you connect with someone it's more authentic. We have to work at maintaining the magic of us. The sweet, weird, wonderful, unique things that make us, us. This in turn keeps the magic in life. And our connections more authentic.

Over the course of one year, now, he has inspired me, challenged me, encouraged me, made me laugh, sigh, float, and smile more often than I can remember. I told him that because of that feeling, I didn't care whether we dated one more day or until I'm 95. Who knows. I don't want a crystal ball, and I don't know what lies ahead. I just know that when you connect like this and someone shines this light of excitement into your life, you're just so damn happy to have it you feel overwhelmingly blessed and lucky. He's pretty amazing.

But at that time, that night one year ago, in a perfect little bistro in DC, with innocence and excitement, I was just being, myself. Not trying. No expectations, pressures, or anticipations, impeded on this mysterious process.

I was me. C'est tout.

The formula for the magic in life? Just try not to try so hard.
©2010 Wendy Hudgins


  1. Wendy, you always give me something to think about. Thank you!

  2. amen to that


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