Learning by Painting the Canvas

By tamara on
image of fire burning in the shape of a heart

When I set out to launch my blog, I really just wanted a forum on which I could practice writing.  I wanted a place to share my life stories which many of you seemed to find amusing, whenever I told them.  But instead of entertaining an audience, what I discovered was a course that set a clearer direction for my own life.

In writing this blog, I spent a great deal of time researching other bloggers and blog sites and was introduced an entire movement that is guided by love.  I know this sounds a bit hokey and even hokier to those who know me and have often described me as “the bulldozer.”  But truth be told, I have always believed that your outlook and approach to life will set a tone for how you live.  What I never knew however, was that approaching life with love was the way to abundance and joy.

I reflect on my life and refer to the death of my parents, my divorce and the loss of a deep love as catalysts that have fueled my life’s greatest lessons. Through these traumatic events, I have learned to allow myself to feel; which has become a skill and my greatest gift of all.  And without an ability to feel and really lean-in, we live our lives dressed in armor that prevents us from feeling anything at all – bad, good or alive.

What I recently discovered about myself is that in feeling pain so deeply and so frequently, that it had become an emotion that I had grown quite accustomed to feeling.  And because pain had become such a familiar emotion to me, I have been attracting painful relationships for the better part of the last decade.  In evaluating my life over the last ten years, I realized that at any given point, I was in at least one relationship that could only result in pain.  And like a functioning alcoholic, I drank just enough each day to prevent withdrawal.

I awoke to understanding that this behavior was destructive. But the hardest thing for me to admit was that this behavior came from a place of self-loathing.  I am strong, confident, ambitious and successful and even prefer my own company to time spent with the inane, mundane or superficial – I like myself.  Yet deep down inside, I don’t love myself enough to believe that I am deserving of love.

As you can imagine this has been a tremendous discovery for me.  And I know that through the work I have done on myself over the years, I have both the strength and the wisdom to work through this and heal.  This journey could prove to be my greatest challenge yet, but I know that when the work is done, whatever the result, it will have been worth it.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the launch of my blog and I still don’t have a sense of what it is meant to be and how it will continue to evolve.  But what I do know is that without it, certain doors in my life would have remained closed.  And given what I have learned from walking those doors, that in itself would be my greatest tragedy.


  1. Congratulations on the anniversary of your blog!! I enjoy reading and know the process itself has brought a lot to you and those who touch you. Here’s to another great year!!

    • Eren,
      Thanks so much for your comment and support. I was pleasantly surprised to hear to you read my blog. I’m so very happy that you do and it means the world to me as i bear my soul to world.

  2. Hi Tamara,

    Another insightful piece. I also struggled with poor relationship choices due to feelings of failure and insecurity. I pushed away decent people and only opened myself to those who would take advantage of me as that was all I felt I deserved.

    How did I change? By doing what you’re doing – embracing something I loved and doing things I intrinsically enjoyed.

    It appears that words (reading them for me, writing them for you) is a key part our respective journeys towards self actualisation.

    Keep up the good work.

    Z lyubov,


    • Hi Andrij,
      There aren’t any words more supportive and understanding than “me too.” Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing your experience.

      always with love,

  3. Self-realization- (The basic premise of self-realization is that there exists an authentic self which has to be discovered by psychological or spiritual self-striving. Self-realization can be a gradual or instantaneous phenomena depending on the school of thought but in all cases it involves extensive preparation of mind and emotions to recognize self-realization when it occurs.
    Self-realization is a maturing of the ego or personality to accept its own evanescence and thus allow space for the true Self to reveal itself. The moon veiled by clouds is an apt metaphor for the Self’s apparent absence in our everyday lives. The dissolution of the ego’s obsessive, internal pre-occupations with its psycho-somatic complexes frees the psyche’s energy to directly experience reality of the world as it is, free of any assumptions.)

    Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. ~James Dean

    Unfortunately most of us live in a delusional world caught up in a daily routine in pursuit of something…

    • Dear Brother,
      You seem to have forgotten to footnote. But let me respond to your sarcasm with a quote:

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”
      -Theordore Roosevelt

  4. Muy bien mi amiga. An insightful and well-written piece. I don’t know that “self-loathing” necessarily causes one to enter relationships that turn out to be painful or closes off avenues that may prove to be joyful. Your blog and your journey shows a healthy balance between romantic hope and hard-won experience. You have far too much hope to be a self-loathing pain-addict. But an act of hope also means the risk of pain. Perhaps you are addicted to hope, which doesn’t seem like a bad thing.

    • Dear Alfredo,

      Thank you for your sharing your feelings with me which I know can be difficult for you, given your latin machismo. I can accept addicted to hope, I can even accepted addicted to love and romance. I wish that you were right in your assessment so that I could once again deny this to myself and push this realization down back into the vault where it belongs. Unfortunately Pandora has opened her box.


  5. Thank you for providing and sharing with me, the building parts for our ongoing “work in progress”…the one + year Life of your blog is expanding and touching other shores of humanity thirsty for a signal in the dark. You help to shed light by “blogging” your thoughts

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