Archives for posts with tag: be who you are

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about life as art. Authenticity, creativity, beauty… transcendence of pain, finding voice for those things in life for which we lack language or words… isn’t a life well-lived, itself, an artistic endeavor? Life, lived, as an art form, itself… means… what? Another day in the studio. Today, a lot of questions, consideration of the day behind me, work already started, unfinished – like life.

Who is the artist?ย A question for answering, individually, subjectively, personally. There is only one answer, for any one artist, really;ย gnothi seauton. The journey to the answer, is the life as art.

A woman told me, once, some long time ago in another life altogether, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body – I’m not an artist. I don’t do anything creative.” I took that at face value, at the time, and it fit my understanding of the world, then. I later saw her in her home. Her home struck me as a piece of fairly wonderful artistry, and the lack of paint staining her jeans, or dust under her nails, or bits and pieces of creative moments needing to be cleaned up didn’t detract from that impression at all. Her home was lovely, orderly, cared-for – each piece of memorabilia, each ornament, carefully selected, an impression exquisitely crafted – how is this not also art? Wherever she moved, she appeared to be quite carefully placed to communicate a mood, a moment, or an idea of beauty. The point I’m trying to make is that, as an artist, it isn’t really for me to define “what is art?” – only to define who I am, as an artist, myself. Those choices are not made of words – they are conveyed by my actions. By my art.

Words over coffee. It was a good day in the studio yesterday. Playing with paint – and chaos. I choose my materials with care.

A pair, 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow and UV. “Chaos Theory”

I did several pieces as pairs yesterday, specifically indulging my fascination with chaos theory. I started with two canvases, the same palette of colors for each, the same measured amounts of those pigments, placed similarly on each canvas, the canvases placed side by side, and worked as a single larger piece, to the same playlist. Mood, movement, brush strokes, technique – all as much the same as I can easily make them.ย  In every instance, of course, two different canvases still result. Not just different-as-in-separate-and-individual, but also just… different, as in – not the same. It was a fun day in the studio, playing with science, chemistry, and philosophy.

I spent the day in a meditation made of movement, color, and music, contemplating differences and similarities, considering the way I’ve carved up my life into “separate canvases”; the life of the artist, alongside the life of the analyst. The lover, alongside the angry woman. The professional, alongside the free spirit. The citizen, alongside the protester. I spent the day thinking about life as art, and contemplating this vast broad canvas of experiences as a single unified whole. I spent the day free of any constraints aside from those I have assigned myself. I answered a few questions – I asked a lot more.

I spent time in the garden, too. Another living metaphor.

I gardened later. I grilled a lovely summer evening repast. I meditated as evening came, and watched the dwindling twilight become night. It was the sort of day I could single out from among many and say “this is some of my best work”, as an artist.

Happily enough, it’s already time to begin again. The day stretches ahead of me, a blank canvas. You, too. What will you do with it?

I read a really cool thought-provoking positive post on Facebook from someone on my friend list. New-ish friend, and from the perspective of 54, quite young. I was delighted and fascinated by her approach to the ancient human question of “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, expressed as a question to her friends (and possibly the world) “what is your occupation?” followed by “was it hard to get there?” – I spent some time thinking about it, just as a straight up question, without understanding it to be, more properly, a search query put to the humans in the room, instead of Google. (By itself, that delights me.)

I answered the question. A friend answered the question. Another friend answered the question. One respondent, rather disappointingly I found, myself, very explicitly directs the questioner to consider some specific line of work, as if it isn’t the questioner’s journey, entirely, and a whole wide world of “occupations” to consider, many of which lack that sort of very clear path to a very obvious objective. As if the question had not been specifically phrased to achieve something grander by way of an answer. lol I hope she chooses her path with far less… certainty. Ease and convenience, and all manner of things that are obvious, definitely have less risk – and also promise far less reward.

I realized in considering the questions, I’m not at all unhappy to be where I am. Fuck, it took a while to get here, though, didn’t it? LOL Every step, every turn, there were people attempting to direct my hand, my decision-making, and very few of had any interest of mine in mind.

Walk your own path, young traveler. Make your choices, even in the moment, with your experience and your future in mind. Try things. Taste exotic foods. Tempt your senses with novelty. Find balance and perspective – your balance, your perspective. Do you. The map – any map – is not the world. The plan – any plan – is not the project. You are your own cartographer on a journey into a future that hasn’t been determined. There are verbs involved. You will try. You will fail. You will try. You will succeed. You may find that your notion of what success would look like is very different from the success you actually achieve. That’s okay too. It matters more to succeed on your own terms. To love well. To treat people with great consideration. Your results will vary. What matters most is to be present in your experience, and to love well and deeply. You may change the world…

…Are you ready? It’s time to begin the future. (Don’t worry, you can begin again tomorrow.)

I woke this morning wrapped in the stifling stillness of a too-hot-for-real-comfort apartment, and committed to asking one of my friends next door to give me a hand putting the a/c in the studio window this week – if it fits. I started opening windows, and didn’t notice until I’d finished, that I was also singing “Cooling Down the House” (to the tune of “Burning Down the House“, by the Talking Heads lol). lol Freedom to be feels pretty good… and it’s super hard for anyone to take that from us; much more common is that we give it away. Usually we give ourselves away quite early in life, before we are aware of our choices, and often quite permanently, as though we have no choices to make. It is one of the most singularly sad things to see occurring in the human experience, I think.

Come out, come out, whoever you are! (Oh, hey, shit – I could have written about this for Pride! Damn it. lol)

Seriously – who can do “you”, as well as you can? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m smiling, and listening to a cover of Cypress Hill that makes me smile, because it’s somehow both totally this very familiar track, and also quite uniquely the band covering it. Art is transformative, and each artist rather unavoidably borrows from their own experiences of life, and other art – not copies, not reproductions, no; totally new art, created with new vision, is still built on bits and pieces of other art, other lives. There’s no worry that something will be lost for lack of duplication (except, maybe, knowledge itself?). I’m babbling. Here. You can listen, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

One track and I’m down a rabbit hole listening to a band I’d never listened to before… fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

The point, though, is simply this – and I’ve no doubt repeated myself to say so – investing time, effort, energy, and intent in being/doing what everyone else is also being/doing in the same way they are being/doing it, whether for acceptance, or out of fear, or by way of some explicit directive in our early years, is a waste of precious individual resources. Life is not generally improved by squashing myself down into a little box marked “acceptable” or limiting myself wholly to those activities and ideas noted as well-received by others – and I have so much more to offer! (You do, too.)

Besides… how very freeing to simply be? ๐Ÿ™‚ …And how exciting; if you don’t like who you are, there is a universe of choices you can make to truly change all of that. ๐Ÿ˜€

You can choose you, anytime. You can be the person you most want to be – it’s a choice away, nothing more. Your results will vary (I know mine do). There will be verbs involved, and plenty of opportunity to practice. There’s only one thing you must do, unavoidably, to get started on your way – your way… You’ve got to begin again. There are verbs involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ready? The sun rises on the choices you make each day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes life seems to have a bitter aftertaste, a hint of hurt, an edge to it – too much work, not enough rest, too much future, not enough in the way of resources; the challenges pile up faster than the solutions. Still… however fast the challenges pile up, life has its sweetness, too. It’s those sweet moments, those small pleasures, those brief interludes of delight that hold the power to wrap me in smiles even while I wade through knee-deep difficulties in one moment or another.

Sometimes even though the world appears to be on fire, it’s really just the sunrise.

We’re each having our own experience. We’re each walking our own mile, each focused on some short bit of the path ahead of us. We’re each telling our own tale, living inside our own narrative and barely able to fully consider what anyone else is going through. Our logarithmically curated personal internet bubbles suggest to each of us that the world is more of whatever we assume we think it is than it was the day before. Unless we try really really hard to find out what is going on elsewhere, we may never know another world, or any other “truth”. Awkward or angry conversations become more common as we are further separated from each other by the tools that purport to connect us. We end up divided and feeling powerless. It’s a very human experience.

A young neighbor, hearing me beyond the words when I described my irritation with anger about my bird feeder pole being wrecked, offered to try to fix it. He succeeded. It’s oriented quite differently now, and just behind my happy smile, I find myself wondering if the birds noticed that, too, and if that would matter to them…? A stranger on the train, on crutches, had difficulty getting a seat in the morning; I asked the person seated next to me to give up their seat for her. That same evening, I got on the crowded train heading home and she returned the favor, asking the young person sitting next to her to give up their seat for me; I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be awkwardly off-balance and standing precariously gripping my cane for the trip home. ย I’m just saying; sometimes the world is scary, sometimes the world is human beings taking a moment to be kind to each other.

When the world feels unkind, I practice kindness, myself.

I’ve been making a point to savor life’s sweetness, too, not just lingering over the bitterness of the occasional unpleasant bite. I find it a bit odd, when I think about it, how much more practice it takes to remain aware of what works, what feels good, what supports me well… and how effortless it seems to become mired in sorrow, disappointment, resentment, or anger. Negativity bias is a deep lingering bit of woe that requires pretty continuous practice to mitigate. I meditate. I practice “taking in the good“. I practice being aware and present in the moment, I practice being kind, I practice feeling gratitude – it all matters, it all helps… and I’m still human. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a journey. The destination is along the way, the way out is through, and the map is not the world. We each walk our own mile.

Today I head out into the world looking for “home”. Later, I’ll enjoy some time with my Traveling Partner, and hear a traveler’s tales. Today, I’ll wrap myself in smiles, and taste life’s sweetness. ๐Ÿ™‚

Each sunrise is a moment to begin again, and a moment to pause for now.

 

It can be a scary world these days – sometimes that’s very real. Other times it’s more a byproduct of our search and surf choices online creatingย a tidy reflective bubble of talking heads and advertising that continuously reinforces our existing thinking, without exposing us to new information. Step away from the bubble once in a while – it’s healthy to be uncomfortable now and then, to try new things, even to think new thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚

Be aware of the bubble. Consider the bubble. Break the bubble. (You’ll thank yourself later.)

Today is a good day to see the world through new eyes. Today is a good day to taste a different flavor of ice cream, to try an unusual sandwich, to take a detour on the way to somewhere. Today is a good day to start a conversation with a stranger, and to listen deeply to what they have to say. Today is a good day toย live well, to live wisely, to live actively, and to be part of the world.