|All paintings by Stephane Dauthuille.|
I look at the art of Stephane Dauthuille, the heads or limbs of his richly-gowned women existing just outside the paintings' edges, and I do not wonder what is missing. I have no feeling that what these works say to me is an incomplete message. They speak fully. We are each allowed to interpret as we will.
The notion of a life in which nothing essential is missing is relatively new to me. Any of us of moderate means is capable of wishing for material goods or circumstances that could, we believe, make everything better. Depending on your definition of better.
A heart or mind that chases after the unattainable allows a sense of lack to cast shadows on what actually IS, obscuring, diminishing what we have. Contentment is not a product of merely having but of the awareness of and gratitude for what is present. As I write this, it sounds simplistic. Of course, everyone knows that, I chide myself. I can't say that I've always known it.
As the only story I can tell fully is my own and though I may write "we," what I mean is me/I. Historically, my greatest sense of incompleteness involves my relationship with myself, with a notion of insufficiency in every nameable category. Becoming our authentic selves, allowing that to be not only enough but desirable requires such traits as acceptance, faith/trust, the willing suspense of doubt and continually reviewing the situation.
I assume of others as I do of myself that we are all works in progress. I once believed that meant an endless striving to be somehow better than I was. I had no idea there could be something succulent about being miraculously ordinary, ordinary meaning just me being me. To be fully who we are, treasuring that profound and unique state without apology or asterisks to indicate missing parts, ah, there's a challenge. Within the boundaries of human life with its sorrows, we seem to have the option of being not only happy but complete. When our mother passed, my sister described her as dancing in heaven with her mother, now restored to two good legs. In the realm of spirit, measured by the heart, I believe I have what I need, two good legs and a great deal more.