Last summer I conquered my fear of jumping off a high spot into the water. I have avoided the high diving board for my entire life. I did it. I jumped off the Jaws bridge in Martha’s Vineyard 15 feet down to the water below. I conquered my fear! It was a symbolic moment and I had to do it twice because my sister hadn’t filmed the first jump. What I noticed is that when I stood on the rail to jump off, I didn’t really look around and take it in. I jumped off as fast as I could…both times. This has stuck with me since my experience.

I mention this now because I have started working on paintings for my solo art show in September and it in many ways feels the same as standing on a very high spot about to jump off with nothing to hold on to. I guess each piece I create will feel like this since they will be different from each other. What I’d like to do differently this time than in the past and also when I did the high jump off the bridge, is to take time to look around. Take time to gather myself, gather info and be present before and during the leap. There seems to be a balance between wanting to be free, letting go and presence.

My word of the year as I have shared is open. This to me now not only means to be open in general but to also open my eyes and take it all in. Really be present and not partially there. This is a challenge in our world where there’s always a chance to get pulled away, eyes averted.

Out of curiosity I looked up the antonyms for the word averted and do you know what came up? Allow. I prefer allow, don’t you? Let’s just take the leap, allow, and keep our eyes open all along the way.