January is often a time of introspection, new dreams, and leaving the past year behind. Sometimes, leaving our pasts in the past is more challenging than we'd like. And sometimes, nature steps in and nudges us to move forward.
In my last blog, I wrote about the devastating wildfires raging through California and what we can learn from fire. With 2018 in full stride, I want to share a story with a fresh perspective on beginning again.
The LA Times ran an article about John Wullbrandt, an artist in Santa Barbara County. His archives, 50 years' worth of letters, photographs, slides, portfolios of drawings, and treasured books, all burned in the recent wildfires.
Here is what the article said in an interview with him:
For years, Wullbrandt meant to organize his archives. But that would have required classifying his history, and he isn't one to be pigeonholed, he says. Losing everything frees him... from his personal narrative. It presents an opportunity to start anew.
"There's not being burdened with all the trappings of my life," he says. "I thought that one day I would take all this archival stuff and turn it over to someone, and somehow that would validate my career. But I don't have to do that now. I'm free to paint."
"It really will be like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, the rebirth," he says. "It will be so much more beautiful once it starts to rejuvenate. We're gonna see wildflowers we haven't seen in 100 years. As an artist, I can't wait to paint it."
Wullbrandt is an inspiration.
He reminds us that we can let anything go and clear a path for something new. What are you able to let go of so you can unshackle yourself and paint a new life? I've already started, letting go of lots of things that are not serving me, and I am feeling free!
Wishing you a beautiful beginning, full of freedom and healing,