Archives for posts with tag: choices change the world

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? A question for answering, individually, subjectively, personally. There is only one answer, for any one artist, really; 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.  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?

Losing weight – like growth and change – sometimes happens faster than my self-perception can keep up with. It’s a decent metaphor, this morning; I may not recognize myself, or treat myself well in the context of who I am, and find myself sort of stuck, treating me like some other person than this being, right here, now. Character, and qualities of self, can be difficult to see in a mirror, and the mirror of our relationships and associations is a bit of a fun house sort of mirror with everything reflected back being filtered through that persons experiences, expectations, and understandings of the world. The idea of a mirror completes this apt metaphor in this moment.

How accurate is a mirror, or a photograph, when time passes, and people change? I accurate as it ever was, and that's a matter of perspective.

How accurate is a mirror, or a photograph, when time passes, and people change? I guess…as accurate as it ever was, and that’s a matter of perspective. 

It’s important to pause now and then to take stock of who I am, now, what matters to me, and what I value. Fall seems like a good time for that; I can imagine the autumn leaves fluttering to the ground as misperceptions falling away. I can ask “who am I?” and comfortably answer the question without fear or panic these days. I enjoy that. [Warning: ‘I statements’ ahead…]

When conditions are right, growth happens; it may be necessary to make a point of noticing it.

When conditions are right, growth happens; it may be necessary to make a point of noticing it.

I like relationships in which I feel heard and considered. I thrive when I feel respected, valued, and encouraged as a person. I feel most motivated to commit emotion and effort, and to work at love, when the efforts feel reciprocal, and the investment – emotional, and otherwise – feels balanced. Reciprocity is important for love – at least, for my love, and so is equanimity. I favor openness, and gentle frank explicit communication – of needs, of boundaries, of limits, of hopes, of plans, of desires, of successes, of failures, of complaints, of fantasies, of values… of self. I prefer kindness and compassion to sarcasm and mockery. (Actually, I prefer kindness and compassion to a whole bunch of other things that crop up in relationships I’ve had.) I like pleasant homecomings, and easy departures. I prefer a relationship of equals. These are the qualities I seek in relationships – and not just by looking; I seek them by choosing, by building, and by being willing to acknowledge their lack. I practice them, too. Every day, every minute – sometimes with less success than others; I know to begin again in each new moment, and that practicing over time becomes being. I am learning not to compromise what matters most to me.

I like sex, too. Hell – I love sex; it’s been a very big deal for me for a very long while. It’s a basic need for human primates, and I associate the feelings that follow sex with love and romance. I’ve done it enough to know that without a connection that matters to me, sex isn’t worth the time spent, or the calories burned, at least not now that I understand there can be so much more to it than a copulatory act. I am learning not to compromise on that, too.

This is who I am. This is the way I love. These are the things I value in my relationships and in life.  I’ve come a long way to understand these things about myself, to acknowledge and respect my values, and to practice them with commitment, intention, and will. I’m still human, and I still err…right now, though, the view in the mirror is pretty okay with me.

One singular autumn moment in the company of my self.

One singular autumn moment in the company of my self.

Today is a good day to be who I am, and whether I am content with who I am and the journey I am on, or find myself lacking; no one can be me as well as I can. Every journey we take begins precisely where we actually are. Today is a good day to take a first step. Today is a good day to think on all the steps taken thus far. Today is a good day for contentment, and a good day to recognize the tremendous value we have to ourselves and our own experience.

Take care of you today; you matter. Be kind and compassionate to those around you; they matter, too. Today is a good day to change the world.