Soul searching and meditative painting

The season is finally starting to wind down in Arizona and the nights are getting brisker. The heat of the days are getting below the 100s. I’ve been meaning to start the massive interior-painting-my-house project for months and I finally feel like the weather is cooperating. I’m able to open the doors and windows to vent the place out, though the paint I spent a small fortune on is ultra low odor, low/no VOC and thankfully doesn’t bother my allergies so much. Thanks to Home Depot for finally having options other than toxic. (Shameless plug for paint that won’t kill you as quickly) So, when I get home in the evenings, I’m able to do a little painting. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I figure if I do an hour or two every couple days, I won’t kill myself and it’ll get done without rushing. That’s a major concern. I want it to look good… If I rush through it, it’ll get done, but it’ll look like crap and it will not last very long. I don’t want to have to paint every surface of my house very often. It will be done slowly and correctly. 🙂

The bathroom in progress

With all this OCD perfectionism, I’ve had a bit of time to think and search my brain and heart. I’ve also had a bit of time to read the last few days, though, my procrastination of homework has caused a little stress and panic. Fingers crossed for a good grade on this last lab report. It was not easy to focus on, let alone get completed. Note to self: STOP procrastinating when I have stuff due.

Anyway, there are a few things that I want to touch on in this post, first: painting is rather meditative. You are able to think and be introspective yet, incredibly focused and not realizing either. It’s all the more important to maintain focus when you have an antique hardwood floor to protect, but the attention to detail and immense concentration required… wow. Second: through this action of extreme mindfulness, it’s come to the surface that having control over my environment is incredibly important to me… I can imagine that it’s the same for others, but I’m only going to speak for myself here. Third: Money, while it doesn’t necessarily “buy happiness”, it sure buys the option.

Ok, so the meditative thing… as some of you might recall, I am not good at the meditation. It was one of my goals to find sources of meditation that were not sitting on a cushion listening to ambient music. I just cannot sit still long enough for all that. Instead I tried gardening (which hasn’t produced much but huge plants. Food? Not a scrap.). I’ve got a hobby or two that can be meditative, but it’s not been lately for other reasons that I won’t get into here. When I embarked on the painting idea, I thought only of the end result… sort of. I knew that it would take me a long time, because I’m essentially doing it myself and I also knew it wasn’t going to be easy, mostly due to the amount of time it would require. No, painting is not easy… it’s labor intensive and physically demanding. It’s not for the faint of heart. But I’ve done a whole house before, walls and ceiling. Those times though, I had consistent help and it wasn’t exactly THAT important that the job be great. A lease of only a year is sort of good like that. If it looks terrible, you don’t have to live with it long. However, home ownership has a different feel. I’m stuck with it if it sucks. Incentive to make it beautiful accepted. Just selecting the colors was a really long process. I couldn’t find a medium and dark grey that were both in the same color family that I liked. It took a long time, but I finally did it. Hell, these two colors are on the same paint card, let alone in the same color family. Anyway, so I’ve been listening to music and just taking a little bit of time as often as I can to get just bits and pieces done at a time. I’ve had a little help from someone who can reach my ceiling without a chair. For that help, I’m incredibly grateful. Plus I enjoy the company. Bonus. During this series of relatively short meditations, I’ve made a lot of internal progress. I’ve come to realize a few things not only about myself, but about what I want in my future. This has been incredibly valuable, since I’ve had the opportunity to also evaluate how I interact and gel with other people.

Chihuahuas are people too…

This leads me to my second thing, control. I have felt really out of control for many years and I guess I’ve learned to adapt to that feeling of chaos, so much in that I almost feel more comfortable in chaotic situations than otherwise. It’s partly due to the fact that I just cannot sit still, but this doesn’t help the fact that I’m to a stage in my life where I not only want, but feel like I need control over SOMETHING other than my personal body. Slowly but surely, I have been doing what I can to extract control out of my life, which in essence is uncontrollable. However, the painting project has helped me feel like I have control over my space, where I most certainly don’t, yet I feel like I have a bit of a say in what happens here. It’s quite a nice feeling. I cannot wait to see how beautiful my home is when it’s done… since I got to be the only voice in paint colors for the first time ever.

My new bedding!

And this of course, leads me to my final point. I’ve always thought to myself that money wasn’t the key to happiness. In my experience, having money meant that I had no time. I prefer having time than money. However, I’m slightly reevaluating that thought too. At this point, I’m pretty much broke, but I’ve got enough money to get the general bills paid with a tiny amount left over. For a very long time, I didn’t have two nickles to rub together and on the flip side, I had more than enough money but no time to spend it. I prefer where I am. I get to do one or two small things to get out and have adventures, but I don’t have anything extravagant. That makes me happy in and of itself. Having a few simple things, like going to one concert a month (not big arena shows or anything, but small venues, indie bands or shows that are meaningful), going out to a nice dinner once in a while… these are simple things that produce a great deal of joy in my humble life. That’s what I mean by money giving you the option of happiness… and it’s not “happiness” in general that money buys. It’s more the experience that often requires a little cash. I’m blessed to also have a few good friends that like doing stuff that I can tag along to. This gets me out a little more than I plan for and helps me achieve the “adventures with those close to me” part of my goals right now.

Rise Against!

I think, as my happiness project is creeping to it’s official end, I’ve realized more than anything that I am so fortunate. Not because I have a fancy house, a high paying job, a brand new car, tons of stuff…. because I truly have none of those things. I live in a modest house that I’m blessed to be paying for for the next 30 years, I have a high mileage used car that happens to be exactly the perfect car for me, which I’m also fortunate to be paying on for a while, a modest salary at a small business and virtually no personal possessions… I could not be more fortunate. I have a beautiful life that occasionally sucks ass, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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~ by wendemachete on October 14, 2012.

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