How to Keep Living while Life Tosses Us Reality

The last couple years have been full.  Good stuff here like lacing up my hiking boots and tramping them around spectacular and intimate landscapes: the Italian Dolomites, England’s Exmoor, the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales, Portugal, Ireland and San Miguel de Allende.  Painting some of the best and largest works of my career and seeing many hung in public places.  Downsizing and prioritizing to fit new frontiers opening up ahead.  Digging into mentoring and teaching the next wave of talented artists.  And watching really good humans work together to save beloved sacred places now protected forever.  Good, good stuff.

And then there are those boulders that appear unexpectedly which challenge Hope. Rugged terrain, uninvited, endless, tearing down and building character.  We have all stumbled or been stopped by their appearance. Making hard choices like letting go of what no longer works personally, emotionally and spiritually.  Watching grown children pull themselves into adulthood rejecting help.  Saying goodbye to someone too soon.  That would be my Dad, first by the cruelty of dementia, and then when his loving heart could no longer beat. 

Life has been full, and the outlook is more of the same to come. 

So We the Living, how to respond?  I think of myself as a member of the Awakened.  Awake to the real-ness of a seemingly capricious world.  Easy to keep eyes opened when the sun is out, the wind at my back.  Not so much when staring up from a dark deep place and no clue how to climb out.

I am lucky.  Most days I wake up happy and full of energy.  This I recognize as a gift.  It is unearned and so I rarely squander that luck.  A few times in my life though, I have not felt lucky.  Of course those days tend to string together when they come, right? 

On the toughest days waking up tired debating pulling the covers over my head, I consider wallowing in the slop of self pity.  However, a pig I do not aspire to be so I make a plan instead.  Today is a gift today – a full 24 for hours (more than Dad has anymore) which is mine to live well or to waste.  Kindness toward myself during this streak of unluckiness is absolutely necessary.  (Hey, I usually hit the day with annoyingly positive momentum so beating my slothful self up would not be not helpful).

The gentle most loving version of myself asks for only three accomplishments on this a Downer Day:

  1. Do one kind thing for yourself.
  2. Do one kind thing for someone else.
  3. Do something that will make you feel as if you lived today.

Simple.  Doable.  One step in front of the next sort of living, one day at a time. 

Some days my 1,2,3  amounted to: take a walk (for me), text a friend having a hard time and tell them they are loved and supported (for another), watch bees gather honey in the golden light of the setting sun (living). 

And to put a bow on it…end the day early, grateful to have lived,  been kind to myself and someone else.  That gratitude thing is The Pearl. 

So if you are still reading this, Thank you.

~ Kim

Here’s what is what’s new around The Kim Barrick Studio:

Painting in Summit County next week – August 27th – 30th

Tuesday, August 28th – Giberson Preserve overlooking Dillon Lake

God knows where else the rest of the week.  I’ll try to post locations on FB.

Wild About Colorado

Those paintings, along with 7 other artist’s work will be hanging in Breckenridge, Colorado at the Old Masonic Lodge on Main Street. 

A large portion of the sales will be donated to the Continental Divide Land Trust, who is actively protecting open spaces in the Valley of the Blue River. 

Fast and Furious — New Workshop!

November 30th – December 1st

Warehouse 521
Nashville, TN

Painting from Your Intuitive Side.  A perfect time to pause between holidays.  This will be an exciting workshop painting small quick studies perfect for intensive learning and perhaps gifting for the holidays! 

$250 – Two days
$150 – Single day

For more information:


“Fresh Air Painting on the Mountain”

July 08 - July 12, 2024
Monteagle, Tennessee

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