Simple Comforts

‘Simple Comforts’
9″x9″ Unframed Oil on Canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

‘Simple Comforts’ is the second painting of my new ‘In the Bath’ series. While creating this piece I was reflecting on challenges. I’ve noticed in my life, that just the way I’ve thought about some problems, has often caused me even more problems. I think folks often respond to problems in a few classic ways.

I’ve been a ‘judger’. I told myself that I ‘shouldn’t’ feel bad about this problem because ‘other people had it worse’. (You can also tell you’re judging yourself when you think that the problem happened because you were too lazy/uninspired/dull-witted – you name it – to prevent it from happening in the first place.) And therefore… as the often-unconscious reasoning went… I ‘deserved’ the problem. So again, I told myself ‘shouldn’t’ feel badly about it. I’ve also been a ‘blamer’ – with knee-jerk reactions that this must have been someone’s ‘fault’. Now, I’m a ‘self-blamer’ so usually my target was ‘me’. But blame can also be directed outwards – at people, at situations. And I’ll fess up… I’ve been guilty of that too. The thing is, approaching my challenges in those ways not only make me feel worse, it never actually helped me solve the problem.

But I also noticed what has happened when I redirected my focus. Rather than looking directly at the problem and wracking my brain for ‘why’ it happened (which never ended well), I instead looked at myself and thought about how I felt because the problem simply existed. No judgement about how I should have felt. Or why the situation arose in the first place.

And it was that ever-so-subtle shift in consciousness that radically changed my response. I could finally feel compassion for myself. When I was in that safe place, I could then do kind things for myself – like enjoy a lovely bath, pretty lotions and candles – to soothe the hurt and the stress. What was key here, was that although the problem still existed, I felt better.

Then, what also intrigued me, was that once I was feeling more comforted, I could then access a richer variety of creative ways to solve my problem. I had a direction. I had options. I wasn’t ‘stuck’ anymore. Not only was it freeing, it also made me feel proud of myself and more self-confident.

I think this is why it’s so important to have things in our lives that brings us comfort. Doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive – even some nice lotion and a pretty candle will do. Hopefully as with my experience, it might put you in touch with that soothing place of self-compassion; and then into the richness of your own creativity and problem-solving abilities. Thanks so much for reading.

Gems and Jewels

‘Gems & Jewels’
12″x16″ Oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

Fresh off my easel yesterday afternoon. Lately I’ve been venturing out of the kitchen for subject matter, and this week it seems my bathroom decor has taken top spot. These great old ‘Jewel’ and ‘Gem’ canning jars were left over from a batch of my mom-in-law’s preserves. Now, they hold my collection of seashells, and sit on my bathroom shelf. I’ve always found the colors to be harmonious and soothing to look at.

Now for the challenge. Often my paintings turn out in vivid colour. Which I find interesting, because I’m naturally a more introspective, reserved person. So with this painting, as with the china cups I painted last month, I wanted to celebrate the softer side of who I am. Allow some of the more delicate tones to take centre stage for a change, and see what would happen.

It’s always challenging working outside our comfort zones, but I think it’s there that we learn the most about ourselves and the true extent of what we’re able to accomplish. We also have the opportunity to learn self-compassion, as it’s in this place of newness that our self-confidence is most likely to wobble.

I still love to paint more quirky subjects though, as I’ve been pursuing with my kitchen series. And I’ll continue to follow that theme here as I begin exploring other nooks and crannies in our house. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance, for sharing any of your thoughts.