Mural Man, new years resolve!

27 12 2010

There is something about this time of year that makes me drift towards the philosophical. I was minding my own business the other day, writing about ADHD and focus, sipping coffee and listening to the radio with half an ear. As I listened in that distant way, I misheard a song. Can’t say what that song was but I noted what I’d misheard. “Mural Man …”. I knew it was wrong, but I let my mind wander with it. Where did it go …? My mind came up with this life analogy.

Mural Man!

My mind drew a picture of me, standing in front of a wall with brushes in my hands and surrounded by buckets of paint. The wall stretched off out of sight on either side of me. To the left it was painted. Parts were patches of bright colours, dancing patterns and intricate detail, other parts were dull, grey and bland. To the right the wall was blank, unpainted. Life yet unlived.

In front of me was what house painters call the “wet edge”, the point at which you are working. You can’t stop, if the edge dries it will show up as a line in your work when you resume. House painters work into a corner when it’s time to take a break. This wall had no corners. It was life.

Food for thought

I found this analogy of life intriguing. It holds up to examination in many ways. For instance, the wall that I’ve painted thus far is there for all to see. I thought about how it appears to others and hoped it would be appealing, then I realized that if I didn’t appreciate it, it didn’t matter who else might.

Another point I stumbled on was that if we stop and step back to admire our work for any length of time, that old wet edge will dry on us and leave a mark. The price of pursuing self-awareness.

Also, I had the idea that looking forward shows us the surface we have to work with, and looking back shows us what we are capable of doing, but if we do either for too long we aren’t getting anything done. This means that we can’t count on either our accomplishments or our potential to help us, we must participate in life, we must pick up a brush and paint.

The reality

The holidays are almost over, and I know they can be stressful, especially to us ADHDers. We recognize our inabilities to organize, to be on time. We know we misjudge both the time it takes to do any given thing and the time we have remaining. Even so, we still run into trouble. Many of us with ADHD do work well under stress, but that doesn’t mean we can take stress in holiday sized portions. Holidays come with failures.

My resolve

Saturday is the first day of 2011. And I know that resolutions aren’t our long suit, but I want you to consider this: I suggest that we all resolve to paint our walls with joy. Paint with zest, abandon and vigour. Don’t worry about resolving to do better, to be better, to quit this, lose that, do the other. In fact, try not to worry at all. Just paint joyously.

Take heart!

When life is done, when the wall runs out, you may have achieved nothing by earthly standards and the wall you’ve painted may be knocked down, painted over or forgotten. But you will have been joyful in your spirit and that may make all the difference between a life lived and a life lived well.

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