For the past few months, if anyone asks my granddaughter “how are you today?” Her response is always “better!” Some just smile, many ask if she has been unwell. How are you today? While I may wonder about Indigo’s response of “Better!” – I love it. For so many years, I have worked with affirmations. One of the original affirmations was from Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie in the 1870’s. He introduced a form of psychotherapy and self improvement using positive statements for change. The best known, and still used is “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” Reminded by Indigo of this powerful inner suggestion, I began using it as I walked up the hill to pick her up at her school. I can at least say that walking up the hill is definitely easier and better now than when I started. But it’s much more than what the exercise would have accomplished alone because I was making changes within. Moving to a Caribbean Island and having time to paint sounds dreamy, but it isn’t all sand and umbrella drinks. There are days when it is difficult to face the living room with its assault on the senses with the massive clash of colors and sounds of propane tanks being loaded and unloaded at the store downstairs, and the fumes of the truck waifing up through our windows. And the car horns as people say hello or warn possible traffic that they are in the area. The wonderful island breeze that has been crazy (local terminology) for the past couple of weeks blowing a partially empty box down the hall and slamming doors,even knocked out a small window, not to mention all art papers had to be anchored down. General depression ran through me like sluggish molasses. And then I heard we may be here even longer. Those examples are a very tiny sliver of the stabs of everyday life. I didn’t want to shut down, but I was. And here’s my thought on that, if I am trying to block the “noise” I am blocking part of the symphony. In this case, I was protecting myself to mental/emotional death. I love dogs. The neglected dog chained out the back door had to be ignored. He’s taken care of and by island standards, he has it easy. And I’m living on a tropical island. There’s the dreamy version VERSUS the reality. Using the best tools I know, I felt into that depression to the core of its energy to expunge it at it’s tangled roots. I used the affirmations to root out the mental lines and ideas that argued with “better and better” and to make firm within me the highest and best of the lovely ones. I focused on the previous romantically held notion of being an (emerging) artist living on a Caribbean island. I looked past the living room and out the window to mountains (mornes, they are called here) so close I can count the trees and engaged in how they change with the sun and the clouds that so often sit on top of them. And embraced the little sliver of the bay and boats that I can see and know that I can walk there. And, probably most important, I resumed the practice of meditation. I also added heaps of gratitude felt as deeply and thoroughly as possible.I’ve even created a few signs in my sketchbook using a couple of positive words and splashes of watercolor, just to hold onto those thoughts. I must add an important piece here… I signed up for a few art groups before I moved since that was the plan on how I was going to fill my days. One of those is Tamara Laporte’s Life Book 2015 and it has truly impacted me.(The picture is of flowers Indigo collected last week and in the background is a work in progress.) My art work is improving at tremendous speed and the lessons that have been provided so far have been in perfect alignment with the changes I was working on. They have been affirmations held in place and lovingly drawn forth as I did my inner work. Then I began to look for a new place to live. Ours may be inexpensive, but it had reasons to be. There is a place I pass on my walk and I would wonder about being there, top of the hill, able to see the view. I scoured sites that listed or mentioned rentals around us. On a walk home from the school, I ventured to areas of possible places to move from my list. I became scared of leaving the known problems of this place to journey to unknown ones with new potential new problems. I decided to ask to look at the place on the hill that I knew was more than we wanted to pay. And he made me a deal, right in the range of my target price, and sweetened with a washing machine and maid service, and I can have a dog, which of course will be a rescued island dog. And even better! Our current landlord said notice to leave was a month, but the last 2 weeks of our paid month was okay! I could go on and on! But I won’t. And I’ve put in my schedule to continue this blog through the smooth and rough as part of the practices I am embracing so I’ll be back. Day by day, I am getting better and better and I know you are too. Life is great when you know where to look.