When we catch ourselves becoming frustrated with other people, in certain situations or just with the way we feel generally, it is always important to notice if we are trying to hold steadfastly to some idea, concept or expectation. If we find that in fact we are being a bit stubborn with these points, we need to consider loosening the reigns or plain letting go. This sounds simple, and it can be.

The ability to self-reflect and see patterns of attachment that we get caught up into is a very high-level skill that honestly takes a great deal of work to master. Often we have no idea we are being stubborn. We feel we are right, or entitled, or needy or perhaps being victimized, and we become relentless with not allowing room to change ourselves. The only thing that we truly can change is our personal self, perspective, mind or what have you, and that is it.

If you have ever tried to paint a painting or draw something with a specific result in mind, we have something really delightful to share with you. If you are thinking of starting up a painting hobby or vocation, this will also behoove you to contemplate. Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley, subtitled Let go. Be bold. Unfold, is a real eye opener for old artists and new artists alike. We here at On the Bookshelf like to believe everyone is an artist. Some people just do not know it yet. Flora’s book may be for everyone, in some sense.

Anytime we go into a project, be it art, architecture, soup making or a relationship with preconceived notions and any level of expectation, we are surely dooming it all from the onset. This may appear to be a strong statement, and it is intended as such. The situation that always arises is whatever we thought would happen, does not. This is pretty universal. People are terrible at guessing the future, or we would all be lottery winners. Any guess at the future that actually happens to turn out the way we guessed it would is not due to any fortune-telling merit we think we might have. It may not be coincidental, though it is not known before-hand. 

Flora Bowley’s book asks us to kind of throw caution to the wind, and see how the flower petals fall. This is a very insightful request. She is using it for artists who feel stuck or inept in their work. We are suggesting it is apropos for all of us. Try to go a day with no judgments, no expectations, no guessing what someone else is thinking or will do next. Good luck with that one! We all do these insane things all of the time. Flora is calling the artists out. We are calling us all out.

When we let life unfold, do not get to caught up is fear and hoping, allow for spontaneity, do our best and leave the rest to God, life works out miraculously well. Every time. Why is this? Though there is no clear answer, the title of our book gives us a little light. Intuition is not guessing what will happen. It is a feeling of knowing that the choices we are making right in the moment are good and beneficial, and it is a bit of a guide for what we might do next. This is not about next week. This is about living in the present moment, and letting life unfold…one of the words in the subtitle of this book today.

If you are an artist who feels in a funk or a newcomer to the art world, this book could very well lead you into yourself and your true artist. If you do not consider yourself an artist, then decide what you do call yourself, and replace artist with whatever that might be, and read the book that way. Life is about letting go of old patterns of thinking that just do not serve us anymore, being brave about living now and letting life unfold like a flower in spring. Go watch a tulip and then paint it. Come back the next day and paint it again. Try that every day until the tulip is gone. There is a lesson we all need.

Enjoy and read on!

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