What Animates & Illuminates?
“This feeling… of alertness to the inner-spirit of things — this humming — comes from a hard-earned understanding of the impermanence of things and, indeed, our own impermanence. This lesson ultimately animates and illuminates our lives. We become witnesses to the thrilling emergency of the present — a series of exquisite and burning moments, each extinguished as the next arises…” ~Nick Cave
This quote and article it came from have spurred me to pick up my blog again and write a little more about my experiences with grief, impermanence and life.
My husband and partner of 28 years died suddenly two years ago. I was away at an artist’s residency and he was abruptly and painfully removed from my daily life forever. Grief, the shock of sudden loss, the emptiness, the pain – all galvanized me to action. When Cave talks about understanding the impermanence of things I can honestly say – I lived that reality on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment basis for many months after Shaun died. This was extremely painful. At the same time it was freeing, empowering. For once in my life I fully realized that I was the one who controlled my future… I was the architect. And I wanted so badly to live an examined life that was absolutely true to my nature, needs, skills and dreams.
When loss and impermanence came I was fortunate in that I was relatively young and energetic and always ready to embrace change. I was able to respond to my heart and take action to create the life I wanted to live. Through the loss of a life built with my love – I created something new for myself… and it has been my greatest quest. Circumstances were also in my favor. I had assets that allowed me to afford to move across country. Shaun and I had previously begun to loosen the ties to our old home by traveling every winter out west and I was poised to try something completely new. In addition, I had seized the moment and fulfilled an artist residency out west in Trinidad, CO just months after his passing – and fallen in love with the town and the people here.
In the two years since Shaun passed I have done my best to keep moving. I have literally and figuratively moved everything! I am more fully myself than I ever was in my previous life. Now I have my own gallery/studio/art supplies store named for the very experience I had by following my heart. Tabula Rasa Studio… tabula rasa means ~ a blank slate… pure potentiality… to me it represents the opportunity I was given when I embraced becoming the architect of my own life. Nothing was set in stone, all options were on the table, I merely needed to follow my heart and be brave.
After wrapping up my life in New York State I moved to Trinidad, CO in February 2019. A few months later I met the love of my life, Randy. He is an artist, musician and poet. We share a lush life in SE Colorado. In March 2020 we opened our studio in a building on Main Street next door to our home. Less than a month ago my twin brother moved to town and he is building something new for himself here as well.
This ability to seize the moment, to embrace “the thrilling emergency of the present” doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes miss my old life, miss my sweet True… grief is always present if you sit quietly enough.
My focus now is to create artwork, to offer something of value to my family, friends and community, to be loving and true. I do my best to continue to live in the present moment and give thanks for each day I’m given… as well as to appreciate those around me knowing we will not always have these moments together, and that we never know when they will be taken from us.
Thanks for reading! xo a
Posted in: Colorado, Friendship, Grief, Healing, Ideas, Living Simply, Personal History, Soul Food, Southwestern US, Trinidad
The elegance and beauty of your words perfectly match your spirit and being. You followed your heart and your feet took you just where you should be. Love you so much dear Amanda! Hugs from your adoring fans in Tucson
Well done on all accounts!
All the best to you in your new life and love! I love your optimism and free spirit. I have been watching the progress of your Trinidad life (and studio construction!) with interest. How wonderful to have your twin there now! Take care, Elaine