Bookmark and Share

Change! Are we ready for it?

Have you noticed? About the time you become comfortable with the way things are, they change.

It is rattling to say the least. I like things the way they are until I’m ready to make the change.

Does it work that way? No! Change interrupts where we are and moves us into a place where we aren’t sure what to expect. No one is exempt to change.

Sometimes we miss the signs until we see the sign. There are businesses that open and close in Pagosa every day. We drive to a restaurant, excited to order No. 3 on the menu, to see the people we know, and there is a sign on the door that says, “Business Closed.” We drive by an old run down gas station that has been closed for years and is now being leveled and we feel like we have lost something. What’s that all about? I believe its called familiarity!

I drove to the Pagosa Artisan’s Co-op where I have been working and showing my art for the past year and half, only to find the sign changed. Seven artists believed in a place where they could sell their art, be involved and have a networking among other artists. Was I ready for that change? No. Did something need to change? Yes. A thing called hope makes us believe that everything can stay the same.

My husband, Al, reminded me of one of his favorite sayings. The swinging trapeze artist must have faith to turn loose of the bar, turn around and position himself to catch the next one. Otherwise, he just keeps swinging.

Change is part of the process before all the details are revealed? We would rather be comfortable than jump. There are times when the choice is made for us. If we have done what we need to do in the present, we are ready to jump. Empty hands are not comfortable, but there is something exciting about empty hands being filled with new opportunities.

Some of us have re-invented ourselves many times. I told my children I felt like Grandma Moses. They laughed thinking that was a ridiculous notion. But there is something to her story. Her life was pretty incredible.

Out of adversity, at the age of 76 she began her final call. A widow, Grandma Moses operated the farm left to her with her son’s help until arthritis crippled her hands. She could no longer embroider or do farm chores. She couldn’t hold a needle, but she could hold a brush. She painted from memory, things past, and memories from a long life as a farm child, hired girl and farmer’s wife. The last 27 years of her life, she painted more than 1,000 pictures; they brought a price from $3 in her earlier career to $500,000 and more.

She was just living the process. When she began painting, within two years, doors opened to her. America was ready for her and she received national recognition from two presidents. Her two, one-woman shows toured Europe. She received honorary doctoral degrees from two educational institutions. She wrote a book and continued to paint. She finished a painting the day before she died at the age of 103. Not shabby at all.

President Kennedy paid a tribute to Grandma Moses. He said, “The death of Grandma Moses removed a beloved figure from American life. The directness and vividness of her paintings restored a primitive freshness to our perception of the American scene …”

Had not adversity in the form of arthritis come her way she might have continued to embroidery and do farm chores. The world would have missed a beloved figure that painted and documented history.

From “My Life’s History” Grandma Moses expresses her basic philosophy: “I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented; I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

Final brushstroke: Take care of the present, be aware of the signs and honor the process. So when change comes, you will be ready for your next call. That last painting in you might be painted as you are ushered with wet paint on your fingers into the next life. I love it!

Comments from readers

Please send your comments to

Dear Betty:

“The Poet’s Mistress”, Great metaphorical piece, Betty! Must admit: this one nailed me to the wall.  Aargh! “Mister Creativity” jerks me right out of a dead sleep and doesn’t let go till he’s staring back at me from the laptop screen or journal page!


Farmington, N.M.


Regarding your column “The Poet’s Mistress” I think the pop culture term is, “being in the zone;” a way to describe the self-absorption we succumb to when “creating” our works. There are times that I am deaf when I write; not realizing that a family member has been asking me a question or trying to tell me about their day. Your column is a great wake up call to help us remember that everything needs to have balance. Too much focus on one area creates disharmony in our relationships with others. Thanks for being the voice to address these things.

This story is convicting — maybe some toes need to be stepped on. Shines the light on the selfish nature in me.  The beckoning call of the “mistress” and the enchantment of the altar can be so subtle and irresistible that the ones we love the most can easily be excluded if we’re not careful to keep a proper balance.



Pagosa Springs

Quote of the week

“You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.” — George Lucas.