"Stand Still in the River" - acrylic and ink on gallery wrapped canvas, 12" x 12". Ready to hang. Available on Artfinder.
Dread Pirate Roberts: < climbing cliff > Look, I don't mean to be rude, but this is not as easy as it looks, so I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't distract me.
from The Princess Bride
Ahhhh Westley (as Dread Pirate Roberts), what a cool demeanor you have when under pressure. Politely asking to be free of distraction, even as your very life literally hangs in the balance, dangling from a rope on a cliff. While playing the part of a pirate. While chasing the bad guys. Westley is the overachiever we all love, because he actually gets it all done.
This painting was in progress for a week or more. And it just came together when it was intended to become today's piece. Of course, when I read this morning's chapter in Nepo's The One Life We're Given, it all fell into place like tumblers in a lock - click, click, clunk. In describing a legacy of lessons inherited from his great-grandfather forward, Nepo mentions his own father's ability to make do with whatever they had, to figure things out, to find a solution. After his dad's death, Nepo says: "They're all gone and I braid their lessons into a rope I can use: to see a way out, to know there will be enough, to figure out what to do. In the midst of trouble, we're always challenged to stand still in the river, till we're shown how to stay alive and give." Stand still in the river. Hmmmm.
In order to stand still in the proverbial river, we've got to be mighty confident of our own problem-solving skills and toolbox. Which means we need to "braid lessons into a rope" which we carry with us wherever we go. Like Westley on the cliff, we will have a strong rope and a cool demeanor, knowing we have what it takes to get to the other side (or to the top or down from the tree, depending on your particular predicament) safely and without undo peril.
And there's that last little nugget in the quote...not only do we stay alive, but then we give. It isn't enough to braid your rope and rescue yourself from the current. Once you get safely to land, it's time to pay that forward. Sheesh! But Nepo is wise and right, of course. Our challenge today, dear reader, is to stand still in the river, give ourselves a rescue, and then help someone else. Ready? Go.