Journal entry for Wednesday, March 7:
I was happy yesterday and the day before. Reasonless happiness. I’m not sure when I even noticed it. I told Erica about it and she said “What’s that like?” I had trouble finding words. Lightness, buoyancy. She asked about the energy, thinking “effervescent.” But it wasn’t like that. The energy didn’t vibrate, it was deep and calm, solid. “Maybe it’s contentment” I said. Erica said “It sounds like joy.” Joy. I remember feeling this way one evening driving back from Writers for Recovery. And that long ago Christmas Eve Carol Service. Not something I’ve felt very much in my life. I think what started it was finally getting the paint color right. I love it. Erica was right. Being “held in beauty” is very important to me. It’s not a luxury to feel guilty about (“spent good money”) it’s something nourishing and supportive. It’s a necessity. In a world where humans have created so much ugliness, beauty must be fought for and paid for.
Getting the right color of the paint in my apartment here at Kendal has been a long process. What I wanted was a very pale peach, a color I know from how Neskaya was painted. My first choice, trying to get it from those tiny little samples, was awful. It was too dark and too cold. The idea of repainting it brought up childhood conditioning. “What do you mean, you want it changed. You chose it and you have to live with it.” Combined with the old injunction that I couldn’t ask for anything that caused inconvenience to someone else. Fortunately, my inner scientist said I’m not causing “inconvenience” to ask that it be changed. No one responded to my request as though it were unreasonable. Then I realized that I wasn’t asking them to do it for free, I would be the one paying for it. More ancient conditioning: I can’t waste “good money” on something that unimportant. “Good money” was my mother’s phrase, as though money were more important than what I wanted or needed. My scientist said “What’s the point of money if you don’t use it to buy things that really make you happy, things that feed your soul?” I asked for just the living room to be repainted. Actually the darker pink is fine in the bathroom and bedroom. But the second choice, while better, was still not exactly right. Another struggle with my old conditioning. Rodney, the painter, was happy to collaborate. We chose some possible colors and he came and painted a large part of one wall. He came back again and again, trying different colors. Finally I chose one, and he actually used up the sample painting several large spaces, that were easy to reach, on three walls. This was to give me another chance to be sure it was right. When the whole room was done, it was much lighter, and the color had warmth. It lifted my heart. It was worth it.