Do you ever write a love letter to yourself? I always enjoy receiving comments on this blog but I really write to help myself remember. Writing this blog has been last on my list recently, but I always appreciate looking back at what I was thinking as I create, and I have been painting. With Valentine’s day coming up, I figured it was a good time to send myself some love. I want to focus my mind and get these thoughts down.

I’ve been painting work for my upcoming April show at Waterstone Gallery in Portland. The title of the show is Blame it on the Moon. I wanted to choose a subject that reflected the emotions I’ve been having lately – both positive and negative. Loss has been a huge part of my life in the past two years. My mom died two years ago this month. Before that, my first watercolor teacher passed. Then in June of 2022 my husband died unexpectedly. I’ve also lost two other close mentors more recently.

Although I’m relishing the additional painting time I’ve had recently, and friends and family have stepped up to make me feel loved, I’m missing these special people. The tides of life keep changing. The moon reflects those changes.

The Moon’s Influence

I’m also fairly nocturnal, and I’ve become more so as I adjust to living alone. I think that the darkness allows me to stay more focused because there is less visual distraction. And I love how dim light creates mood and mystery.

Living alone has forced me to focus on myself more. I realized that for much of my life I have oriented my actions around others:

With parents, husband and close friends needing much less attention from me, I’m finding myself free to stay up late, exercise when i want, eat what I want and make all the decisions based solely on what is best for me. I’m also becoming more independent and self-validating. It’s difficult for a people pleaser like me, but I’m learning to self-soothe, self-discipline and to calmly accept change.

“Celestial Pull” ©Ruth Armitage, Cold Wax and Oil on Panel, 20″x20″

Navigating in the dark – moving through life without my familiar landmarks – is often unsettling. But it does also present beauty in the moments of clarity and focus. The changes I’ve been through lately are major, requiring me to be flexible, alert and aware. My process for making decisions is different – less cluttered by desires from other loved ones. Now I’m doing my best to follow my instincts and analyze what I really want. And I keenly feel the brevity of time. Life is short.

My progress on adjusting to this new life makes me want to create a love letter to myself, to leave something beautiful behind and to create a record of this experience to reflect upon later. Does writing or journaling help you recognize your accomplishments? Give it a try – focusing on the positives. Creating a love letter to yourself might be a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long course of the rivers, and they pass by themselves — without wondering.

St. Augustine

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