My friend Barbara Kass recently wrote an engaging blog post titled “The Presence of Decisions.” As I shared with her, it made me think about several people over the years who’ve said, “I feel like I’m painted into a corner.”
All we have to do is but look in our own hand
to see who is holding the paintbrush.
Life is a series of choices and consequences. It takes a series of choices to get into the corner; it takes a series of different choices to get back out.
When was the last time you painted yourself into a corner—
literally or figuratively?
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan
www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page
© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved
I think I paint myself into a corner daily, and often paint myself out just as regularly. It’s so easy to overlook the ways we paint ourselves into a viewpoint or a belief or an action that doesn’t reflect the totality of who we are. Now–to be completely free of paint–that is an interesting thing to ponder. Maybe we don’t need to be free of paint…perhaps it will keep us out of the corner just realizing that we are not our paint. lol!
Kathy – I don’t think I want to be paint-free. I just want to use my paint (the brighter and more colorful, the better) in a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing way.
Well for one thing we could do stop living in a box, so therefore no corners! Life is full of glamours, grand choices so why keep making the same ones?
I like Kathy’s line above, “realizing that we are not our paint. lol!
So if we can change our minds, we can change our choices, changing the corners into winding paths, endless roads, infinite skies, boundless lakes and oceans to entice, enchant, and amuse our senses !
Jeff – You’re SPOT ON! “…stop living in a box, so therefore no corners!” And then you take it well beyond into “…winding paths, endless roads, infinite skis, boundless lakes and oceans…” 🙂
Yes, I like Jeff’s take on the question too.
Change the paradigm.
Try a tent.
Paul – And if we’re going the tent route, we may as well have a bonfire and make s’mores: gaham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate — heated up ’til gooey over an open flame. Yes!
Ohhhhh yes……love it love it love it
Oh and don’t paint with lead based paint, it is toxic and will weigh you down!!!
Kim – You Crack Me Up!
Hi, Laurie — thanks for the plug! I have painted myself into many corners in my lifetime, and, yes, I often had to wait for the paint to dry before I could find my way out. I like Jeff’s idea of not living in boxes . . . eliminate the corners totally! The most recent paint job was buying two properties when I could barely afford one. With the economic downturn, I had to sell one of them at a loss. Fortunately, I had this wonderful friend named Jonathan who happened to have a spare bedroom and wanted me around to help support him in his life, just as he supports me in mine. So, I am currently painting my way out of the corner by renting out my residence and am only two months away from having paid myself back entirely for that loss in selling my condo. Lesson learned: the mortgager who allowed me to buy two properties was more interested in his commission than what was good for me. I now look at other people encouraging me to do something by asking “what is in it for them if I do this?” If it is better for them than it is for me, then I gotta say “no, thanks.”
Barbara K. – “…only two months away from having paid myself back entirely for that loss in selling my condo.” Whoohoo, that’s excellent news! Picture me doing the Snoopy Happy Dance for you!
I have such high freedom needs Laurie that I can see a corner coming even before a room knows the walls have met. Like a mustang horse, I start to sort and blow and back up long before the first rope is thrown. Consequently, most of my corners are left unpainted and full of cobwebs… they seem to round out nicely this way. Am I missing out on something? Likely but don’t expect me to go rushing in there with a brush to find out.
How do I avoid getting “painted into a corner.” When I can feel my self start to tense up or get jittery I ask one simple question – Now what? I then pause for as long as it takes to receive the answer. Sometimes if things are moving quickly I use a tai chi concept and use the momentum of what ever is putting the squeeze on to move it gently and effectively on past – giving me time to gather myself and decide what is next. If I am feeling really stuck, I know there is only one thing I nee to do – breathe.
Ohhh!!!! To much information Laurie. I think your question hit upon something i have been mulling over all week. I have come to the conclusion that in that situation… no action is the best action. Moving forward. Thank you for allowing me to muse…
Terrill – You and I are very similar in our need for freedom. I love the conclusion that you’ve come to: breathe, and no action is the best action. It makes for an excellent recipe.
Vital decision-making at work, at home, traveling, everyday life almost always puts one in this unenviable position. An oft-used expression “I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t” invariably finds it’s way into the dilemma, while others would opt for “you made your bed….” But such definitely uncompromising connotations need not be applied, since painting oneself into a corner does allow for the application of new clothers and turpentine. Just last night while travelling over to my classic film mecca, Manhattan’s Film Forum, I “painted myself into a corner” by opting against better judgement to cross the George Washington Bridge instead of the NYC tunnels, which are normally the most sensible routes to take for my final destination. As a friend of mine soon realized (the site’s own Dennis Polifroni) there’s no turning back from gridlock, and escape must be mapped out. Ha! Luckily I embraked on the trip with some extra time.
Sam – Not being much of a city person, there’ve thankfully been very few occasions when I’ve found myself in gridlock. Factoring in extra time served you well. I imagine it would be near impossible to extricate onself from gridlock on either a bridge or in a tunnel. And then there’s the potentially cranky motorists who are trapped along side you, and you’re working against the clock — headed to an event that’s going to start with, or without you.
Thank you for asking Laurie – your timing could not be more perfect.
I painted myself into a corner when I choose to take on a ‘friend’ as a client. This person was more of an aquaintance than an friend, but none the less, the lines were blured fromt the get go.
Last night, after wayyyyyyyyy to many ‘gratis’ calls to ‘vent’ I closed the door. I got out of the corner I’d painted myself into lickity split, as soon as I realized what I’d done.
This episode has taught me sooooooooooo much about where the line is and what happens when there isn’t one. . . and I end up painted into the corner.
Alison – Ohhhhhhhhhh, been there, done that — and isn’t it just awful?! They say, “Never say never.” But that’s definitely a situation where I can say, it will NEVER happen again (somewhat like touching a hot stove, I would never do it on purpose twice).
Niiice, Laurie, and Barbara, and the comments extraordinary and helpful, too!!!! A lot to contemplate here!!!!
Hugs to all,
OM – So good to see you, thank you for popping in. I’m glad you enjoyed the conversation threads both here at Speaking from the Heart, and over at Barbara’s Eternal Presence.
Hi, OM! Glad you came by for a chat 🙂
Something else that keeps coming up for me with the title of this post; Not all painting is art. I must disagree, lovingly of course, that are painting is art. What that paint looks like, how one response to it is the function of art. So if you have painted yourself into a corner, or painted a corner, there is a reason, a discovery that that painting is seeking to tell.
Jeff – I really like your line of thinking!
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Readers – I recommend you check out Sam Juliano’s Monday Morning Diary (July 25) and learn more about THE WOMAN WITH THE FIVE ELEPHANTS. To my way of thinking, this documentary sounds profound, yet quietly haunting.
Painting myself into a corner usually happens when I underestimate the amount of time I will need to complete a project and am forced to abandon it or postpone it, which tends to leave me with a long list of not-done-yet things. The best way for me to get things going again is to keep telling myself, “little by little a lot gets done,” and focus on one project at a time…
Barbara – I know that many people who tout the benefits of multi-tasking, but like you, I do my best work when I focus on one thing at a time.