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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is (was last week: sorry!) bottled.

I’m getting that feeling again. It’s a strange cross between the flu and the blues. An itchy, irritating tingling in the spine. Nothing satisfies, and there is a vague sense of something welling up from the murky depths. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and leaves me restless and anxious in the cold light of day. Having been here many times before, I recognize the symptoms of impending change. Not change of the everyday variety, but change with a capital ‘C.’ The type of Change that does not leave me where it found me, and is harder and more painful when I resist.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Change could be bottled? That way, I could take it in small doses, gradually and gracefully. I could keep my smile, my sleep, my productivity and my waistline while transitioning to a more genuine me, a new medium, or a new and deeper level of art-making.

But no. Change comes when it will. And though it does not feel like it during the process, Change is my friend. Snake, butterfly and bear all attest to the truth that change is natural. Seasons and cycles of the moon say it too. Why do we humans fight it so? Our friends or family will probably insist that we are slackers, failures, or courting disaster, and should get back on that proverbial productive horse. What would the neighbors think? In the privacy of our own minds, we say these things to ourselves too.

But speaking from experience…resistance is futile: it only slows the process. What is being called for in this process of Change is complete internal surrender, even as we go through the minimum of motions to sustain everyday life. A retreat, a sabbatical, pondering dreams, and meditation can be helpful too. We are gestating something new, and that something coming wants to be honored.

This time…I intend to cooperate with Change. I plan to give it my fullest attention, to support it with exercise and sunshine, healthy food, fewer distractions and avoidances, enough solitude, and more respect. With pencil, paper and paint in hand, I plan to do a lot of internal listening. Who knows what will happen when I willingly give Change the reins?

This being said, dear readers, I will be taking a sabbatical from blogging for a while. I will be painting more consistently, and am excited (and anxious) to see what the fruits of this cycle of Change will be. At some point, some of the new work will be shown in a Trade Your Talent blog Art Exhibition, so if you’d like to hear about that, check back or become a subscriber to this blog or the Trade Your Talent blog.

I leave you with this wise quote from The I Ching Workbook, by R. L. Wing about how to recognize the need for Change:

Hexagram #45–Assembling:  “…When you are not in accord with your goals, you may feel indecision, conflict or malaise. When you are, a sense of confidence and well-being will surround you.”

“Drink Me”   (watercolor, pen & ink)

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is sneaky.

Friendship is such a sneaky thing. One minute you are minding your own business…and the next moment you find yourself borrowing sugar or lending ladders, babysitting each other’s kids, and sharing joys and griefs with someone who was a complete stranger only a year ago. But now they are part of your life’s underpinnings…part of the sweetness of life.

Friendships can be seeded by any circumstance: sharing the same grouchy clerk in the market line, the same flood or hurricane experience, the same job, class, world view or ex-boyfriend. Friendships are not predictable or made-on-demand. And like their more intense cousin, Love, they are subject to the laws of ebb and flow. They are subject to change, and therefore call up the highest, most demanding lesson on life’s journey: surrender.

Like all other Surrender lessons, friendships (and love) challenge us to welcome the new when it arrives, stay open for the duration, and gracefully release the old when its time has come. Sometimes the letting go must happen almost immediately, sometimes it will be required only after a lifetime of connection. The time frame and circumstances will vary, but Change will always find us.

Hopefully, it will find us non-resistant.

Isn’t it interesting how The Mystery has built this great need for love and friendship into our very hearts…which, in turn, requires the stretching of those same tender parts?

Two of my favorite quotes about friendship and relationship…

“Shouldn’t relationships come with an expiration date…so that we know when they’re going to go bad?” (Unknown)

“Where do they go, the friends who sail into our lives like green leaves…and disappear like snow?” (Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter and poet)

“Encounter” (watercolor, gouache, pencil, colored pencil)

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