“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – Rene Magritte
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso
As I ran by the Como Conservatory on my 10-mile run on Sunday, the flowers growing from the pond stopped me in my tracks. Every day, nature is a brilliant art gallery, a gift to open again and again as if we’ve seen it for the first time. May butterflies, flowers and bees always command my attention, delight and awe.
Life is either a series of hassles and hurdles or blessings and beauty. While I’m not batting a thousand, I pray that I always choose the blessings and beauty option.
We are only asked to be alive in this moment, fully aware and deeply grateful for simple beauty.
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
i “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” – Buddha
“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” – Walt Whitman
What punctuation are you using to define your story? Commas, question marks, periods? How about weaving more exclamation points into the narrative of your daily life, especially right now in this very moment.
We pause and stop too soon, starting a sentence but not finishing the paragraph. Your story is not over yet. You have the pen so keep writing, first drafts, second drafts, final edits to launch.
If you need prompts, inspiration, watch the natural expression of flowers in full bloom, dancing with delight, in exclamation and celebration.
“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.” – Ecouchard Le Brun
“When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.” – Jean de la Bruyere
In two days, I’ve watched one quiet craftsman tear out linoleum, laminate and carpet and piece together new vinyl plank flooring throughout my first floor. One person in rapt attention, in flow and in craft. An art and science. An ease and flow. It’s informative and directive of how we rebuild, design and craft our future. We may not know the pieces in this moment. Unknowing and mystery are gifts in disguise, revelation, if we enter with new eyes.
Embrace the mystery, allure, fullness and emptiness of this very moment of unknowing and uncertainty to discover how the pieces, the planks, the puzzle fit together. Sense comes from chaos. Order from uncertainty. Wait, hope and hold tight. Craftsmanship – the art and science of building from disparate pieces that create the whole which is always revealed in due time.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso
“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” – Vincent Van Gogh
“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
Kids section. Dollar Store. Drawing book. Try something new, frivolous and creative. Dive into the unknown with joy and a sense of exploration and adventure. Cling to new and what’s next because it IS coming. In addition to planning for painting in a few weeks, I ventured outside, stocked up on cleaning stuff, cleaned and wrote “Is This Y(our) Renaissance? on Start3Things today. I also checked to make sure work technology is still up and running for my awesome coworkers who are in this to overcome and prevail to the other side.
I intend to post daily for Cast Light to offer up light, optimism and joy amidst “reality.” Pick up a coloring book, dare to draw and journal daily to tap into your very soul. Get out and give nature a warm long embrace. Forgive. Love. Laugh. – yep, laugh. Be vividly aware and deeply grateful for what already is right now amidst chaos. Do NOT miss this moment fully and deeply. Rapt attention.
Pick up the pencil and start drawing.
“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?” – Alice Walker
“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – D. H. Lawrence
No special occasion. No waiting on someone else. On the weekly grocery list. I buy flowers for myself like I buy lettuce. Nutrition for the soul to savor the fragrant brilliance found only in a party of fresh blooms. Each one unique, brimming with beauty. Showing off as they should. Unapologetic.
A florist once advised me that to make the flowers last longer, freshen the water daily. Solid advice for living too. Dump out the stale, clouded water and begin each day a new. Fresh water, fresh blooms.
“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” – Edvard Munch
“The artist discards all theories, both his own and those of others. He forgets everything when he is in front of his canvas.” –Georges Rouault
Rather than merely seeing an old wall on an industrial building, someone saw a blank canvas and painted a beautiful flower. When we look at the same old things in new ways, the same becomes new, our vision expands and understanding deepens.
Look at each day, each moment with new eyes, with your imagination. Where can you paint a beautiful flower, plant a seed in a heart?
Imagination and creativity are in all of us, no exceptions. Blank canvas, colors in your imagination, flowers in bloom all around. Start painting!
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
The Cathedral of Saint Paul was built between 1907-1915. Eight years with none of the equipment and tools that we have today. The workmanship is magnificent. Those who started in 1907 had the vision, the faith of a mustard seed followed by a heavy dose of fortitude and patience to finish this national treasury. Most days, we don’t have the patience to put eight minutes into something much less eight years.
The Cathedral is two blocks from the end of the Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile run. During my three marathons especially, I would visualize seeing that beautiful sacred place many times along the long path. And when I saw the tip of the dome, I knew that I really was almost done.
A tiny seed planted takes hold, carries us along and mountains are moved. So often we try too hard to figure it out or do more. Rather than more activity, plotting and pining, we just need to be still long enough to hear that still small voice directing the next step.
Not knowing is o.k., believing in greater things than ourselves is required to live contently with deep joy rooted in optimism.
Go move mountains today, not by doing, but by faith. A mustard seed, that’s it.
“Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.” – Samuel Butler
“The fullness of one’s soul evolves ever slowly. We’re asked only to go within to gestate the newness God is trying to form; we’re asked to collaborate with grace.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
Each day is a blank slate. Shake off yesterday’s marks that serve no purpose in your becoming and transformation. We write our own story or it is written for us. And our story unfolds one day at a time with an abundance of grace.
Seize the pen and fill that blank page with words and lines that shape into art. Design your life as only you can.
“As the memory evaporated into the autumn afternoon, I walked on, hope rising in me. Hope for you and me and the journeys we undertake. Hope that we would trust our waiting hearts enough to risk entering them, that we would listen for the Voice that bids us come to the edge, and that we would welcome the gentle push of God, who is both our wings and the wind that bears them up.” Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk into it.” – Isaiah 30:21
So often we force things. We try to make the puzzle pieces fit where they just don’t fit. Square peg, round hole activities. There is value in allowing things to arrive rather than to always be in hot pursuit. When we allow God to do his work in us, we unfold. A good place to be and remain, a holy sacred ease.
Trust in the mystery. Don’t assume you know the final chapter before you write the first ones. The path appears as we walk into it and at the right time which is often not on our watch. And as the chapters weave the story together, we can find joy in each day, no matter the circumstances.
If you’re at a crossroads or you can’t quite find the road right now, it’s alright. Trust, listen and be open to that soft yet firm voice that whispers, “this is the way, walk into it.”
“A painting is not thought out and settled in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it’s finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.” – Picasso
You are an unfinished beautiful work of art that is being revealed, finished and yet never done, unfolding as you should. Ease up and enjoy the walk.
Poetry, music, a sunset all have the power to put everything in perspective slowly and then suddenly. Tune out the voices that produce no fruit. Focus on thoughts and activities that drive you on the journey to your purpose. For when we live out our purpose daily, we make the world a better place.
“One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life that you could save.” – Mary Oliver, The Journey