PainterOne of the hardest things to do is remember what you thought something was going to be like after you’ve experienced it.  It’s like the brain goes back and writes over that section, putting the memories of the experience over our expectations of what the experience would be. We can remember the fear, the excitement, the anticipation and the expectations, but how we envisioned our goal seems to disappear.  It may be that because we built the expectation from the limits of our previous experiences and our imagination they simply can’t hold up against the reality, however there seems to be a bit more to the process.

Moving from potential into reality is a transformative, alchemical process. We see this in a myriad of ways from high school graduation to the Super Bowl, from becoming a first time home owner to the loss of virginity, from your first big gig to becoming a parent. Crossing the boundary from “No I’m not” to “Yes, I am” happens in a second and yet feels like we have crossed an invisible boundary into new territory. It happens every time a writer puts words on a blank page or an artist makes that first mark. Moving out of the mind, out of the heart and into the real is an alchemical process of doing.  The enormity of this transformation, the concretizing of something into form, the irretrievable being of this which prohibits us from being so much else can freeze people in fear. How to know what to do? How to not make a mistake? How to know where to go so that things are perfect? They seek to control the process in the only way they know how, by not allowing it to happen at all.

There is an alchemy in doing which transforms both the object and the doer. We are changed as much as we change things around us. The vision that we have for what could be is erased by what truly is, like a lover’s gentle kiss. The painter is transformed with each color choice, each brush stroke, in constant pas de deux with the painting, each informing the other in each moment until the piece has completely manifested in the world. In the end the painting exists in and of itself, having its own identity and yet containing a lasting impression of the artist as they were for that moment in time. The artist retains the imprint of the painting forever as part of their beingness. The painter transformed by their creation. So are we with each experience we have. We can choose to do things which create us in positive ways, challenge us to become more than we are, to expand our boundaries, and even bring our dreams into reality. The alchemy is in the doing.