Hey all you oil pastel lovers, what do you do when your box gets lopsided?

ie: you have just stubs remaining of the colours you’ve used a lot, and still plenty of the shades you haven’t?

I’ve bought a new box, but don’t want to open it until I’ve ‘used up’ my first set. Something about valuing resourcefulness? Maybe I’m also savouring that fresh ‘new box’ feeling – knowing that they too will decline in time.

Once I noticed the dilemma I was in, I felt inspired. Here’s what happened:

1. Colours with still plenty left: I grouped them into similar shades and popped them in ziplock bags. I think I’ll make it a collage quest. Over the course of this week, I can keep an eye out for scraps of fabric or magazines or other items in those shades and pop them into the relevant bag. I can then close my eyes, pull out a bag and let loose with some colour therapy to  see what surfaces.

2. For those last stubs of loved colours: I set out on a reckless quest to use them all up on a double page spread, not fussy about what it would look like.

It was cathartic. I found myself meditating on events of recent days and the theme of every life mattering … The dilemma of making decisions amid uncertainty … Mourning the life of our precious cat lost too soon, even finding a longing for forgiveness of some kind from her, pondering decisions about what to do with her body as the family had different requests, most of all wanting that little being to know how much her life mattered and yet asking myself: how does what I feel help her? She wanted LIFE! Oh, the pain of not being able to express to her anymore – with a chin rub, food, a head bump – that she matters. Hug and tell those who are here how much they matter. The need to express love to a particular person doesn’t disappear with them. It aches green and tight right across my chest and into my belly.

Tears.

And then came the question: do remnants matter? As I wrote the first layer, those words looked so dogmatic, strident, certain. But what are ‘remnants’. What do they symbolise that matters?

I felt my body shift from the unconscious demand that I must try to know everything, must make ‘perfect’ decisions, must have clarity and certainty.

As I became aware of that pressure, there was relief. Who says I have to know everything? How can I? Accepting uncertainty lifted the suffering and settled me into a sweet wide sorrow at the vulnerability of all life, tenderness for the difficulty of the decision I had carried with my family that week, mourning that I have so often rushed through life and past my loved ones. I’m longing to deeply absorb a state of gentle, patient, curious awareness.

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It is a relief to have an outlet through which my body can mourn. I feel so much more at peace. Like the sorrow has opened my heart wider to accepting and savouring life, its unthinkable losses and it’s unexpected love.