The paint on my toenails has chipped and fallen off in spots and early on, the chairs that I was in the middle of painting today did not look as good as I had hoped, some paint formed in clots and would have to be sanded and redone. I spent a good few hours sanding the old wooden kitchen chairs down, wiping turpentine over the wood and coating them, first with a primer , sanding again and then I applied a shade called ''antique white''. It was way too hot outside on the patio and the paint felt gluey on the brush but still I persisted. The chairs have hosted this family and many guests for the last fourteen years, but of late they looked tired, jaded really and in need of a new look, something fresh and bright and new. Painting is easy, I figured. I've always done it and who on earth are you going to find to come and paint the kitchen chairs. But the task was hell. My hands were soon covered in the paint and my back ached. I was grumpy to those around me, shouting, no don't go near those chairs and no I don't know where your swim shorts are. The household avoided me. Even the dogs cowered. I stopped then. What was my approach? I chose to take on the task. Yet, when I did I grew resentful and negative. I battled with the chore. And that was the operative word. I had turned my choice into a chore.
I stopped then. I made a cup of Jasmine Tea and sat down. I looked at the chairs. They actually started to look better, they seemed to smile back at me. I finished my tea and moved the chairs into the shade. I took it more slowly. Moving the brush in my hand with a gentle motion. I told myself there was no hurry. The job would get done. I thought about my writing as I applied the paint, a little at a time. No mess. One word. One clean sentence better than twenty murky ones. One long thought applied to the page. No need to speed or panic. Clean good words applied with skill, no matter how long it takes. Patience and love of the act, this is all that matters.
In the evening my son got home from swimming in the sea. The first thing he said to me was, Mom, the chairs look great. I know, I said, they do, don't they.