When you begin with a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless. Painting large murals reminds me of the vast potential of the mind. Your world is as big as the parameters you set for yourself and choose to live within. When my friend Lisa and I first began this mural, I remember looking at the top of the wall and feeling completely overwhelmed. I questioned my creative ability to see this project thru to it's completion. Isnt that how life is? We become so preoccupied with the end result of a thing that we lose sight of the invaluable, gravely underrated PROCESS...for it is indeed this process that actually makes us who we are. I remember reading an interview with Will Smith and hearing words that would change my way of thinking forever. I learned that we all desire to build a wall (success), our very own special wall. However, at the thought of what we might gain we become so overwhelmed and inundated with racing to the finish line that we neglect the fine details and fail to realize what it takes to actually build a perfect wall. Instead of focusing on the completed wall, I must focus on each individual brick that make up that wall...working hard each and every day to lay the best possible brick I can lay...taking pride and putting time into laying each brick, and being grateful for the opportunity. I fully embrace the work of every brick, each day as though it were the last. My motivation is that I know I will one day look up(or down) and realize that I have a perfect wall, and that I gained much wisdom in the process. I applied this wisdom to my creative projects, and ultimately my life. Each day my team and I set aside what we wanted to accomplish for that day and focused on nothing else. We worked hard...we laughed, we cried and I even experienced moments where I wanted to give up; some of our debacles seemed insurmountable...but we did it.
Each day...little by little over the course of an entire year...we put in the work...smelling the roses along the way..enjoying every new image that colored our wall. We sat in the glory of every triumph while eating sandwiches at break time, perusing our toil and totally amazed at what the mind can do when we set it free from fear and limitations. What a beautiful experience that added color and depth to my life. Through the slow, methodological, creative process of "building" a mural I learned how to live my life. The universe has its own way of teaching us all that we need to know when we are willing pupils. I am eternally grateful.
There is something quite sacred about that middle of the road too. Definitely something quite spiritual to be said about it. Just think. When you look ahead sometimes the road seems dauntingly uphill. Fear grips you, so you look back but you realize that you've come to far to foolishly entertain the thought of quitting. So, with your heart in one hand and your ego in the other, there you stand at the point of no return. By the time we had completed the entire pencil sketch, the thought of now bringing our mural to life through color seemed impossible. I was mentally drained! Soooooooo much work it would take! But a fresh idea (which I was full of, lol) to an Artist is like food for the soul...Chicken soup, infact...hearty and fortifying. So my inner Artist told me to stop and only focus on that which I set aside for myself each day. She told me to breathe and move forward and to take one day at a time. Henceforth, I wrote down my daily tasks as a daily "To Do" list and stuck to it.. I refused to let the BIG PICTURE overwhelm me. Breeeeathe in, Breeeeeeeathe out.
Just like this scaffold that lifted me up so that I could move forward, we must employ life's tools to propel us forward when we find ourselves stuck in a place. There was no way I could have finished this wall without the help of aids. Similarly, it is impossible for me to complete my daily tasks within my family and community without meditation, prayer and focused intention/work. I often wonder how people try to multitask life on their own...without spiritual tools that are available for our learning and growth. Its just not possible.
Oh, how wonderful the feeling of accomplishment!!! It is like food that fulfills even the deepest hunger. From the blank canvas where hope and intention was key, to the completed WALL which gave birth to feelings of gratitude and accomplishment, triumph and testimony and divine manifestation - I am grateful for every minute of my journey. I am grateful for life and her lessons. I embrace my Sankofa moments that allow me to fetch personal lessons of my past in order to move forward with power into my PRESENT and future.
Happy Painting! <3