Looking at the little gallery of pet portraits that has arisen over the past few months, you might think I'm talking about four-legged, furry, feathered and scaled friends. Well, of course, these are some of my dear friends. After all, I've always felt a little lonely, and the companionship of canine friends has been my mainstay. But that's not the kind of friends I'm talking about.
A few years ago, while I was teaching at a yoga teacher training, one of my students gave me a bookmark that read, "Dream bigger, darling." She didn't give it to me as a mere token of appreciation, but rather, of friendship. And the words that she said alongside the gift were serious and sincere. I didn't know what that meant at the time. I honestly don't think I had ever dreamt. I had always just "done." I'd always done what I needed to do or what others expected of me, sometimes even big things. But I had never dreamt. Not really. It might have been yoga or meditation, prayer or practice that opened that door, but I think it was something else.
From Yogafaith friends to student friends, from generous neighbors to friends at church . . . they all bought and supported and encouraged and dreamt for me when my dreams looked like the picture on our little, black-and-white tv in the 1970s! Dream bigger, Darling! One dear friend, Amy C., has purchased so many of my paintings over the past 10 years that she could start a little art gallery for me. And with each purchase, there's been a conversation that has encouraged me--one that has increased in volume to the present day and is now powerful enough to overcome doubt. My good friend, Lish J., has done the same. What's funny is that these friends have also listened to me bemoan the fact that I would never be an artist (while they made me an artist).
And as of late, my friends at the YMCA, have been up to "all good" (as opposed to "no good!"), commissioning me (especially Tracy D.) to paint pets. Dogs, cats, and a turtle . . . or two. They do this with the affirmation, "You could really make a business out of this!"
And you know what? I'm dreaming bigger, darling. More importantly, I realize that while I was busy "not dreaming," friends had carried my dreams for me. Nurtured them. You know what else? While I was busy, I was also making a lot of friends. Perhaps I wasn't as lonely as I thought . . . .
Sure, I love my four-legged friends. I love to paint them, too! In fact, I dream of painting yours! But I get by with a little help--and a lotta heart--from my friends. Thank you, friends!