“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
“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.
“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!
“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.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo
Daily life is often unclear, messy and loud. With an abundance of options and directions, we bury ourselves in the mundane pursuit of tasks and find ourselves in a hole of scarcity. We don’t see the exact path, so we don’t take the first step.
But just one step beyond the noise, grey and cloudiness, we are called to carve out our lives with what we are given in this very moment. Each step prior has prepared us for steps unseen. Discovery and delight are found in daily pursuit of joy, unfolding the statue inside.
So instead of over-analyzing and over complicating, simply start chipping away each day to carve out the life you are meant to create. Take the chisel back from others and hold it in your hand firmly. Set the angel free.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron
Each day is a new blank page in the story of our life that we are writing with our actions, thoughts and words. We either write our story or we let others write it for us.
Some days, too many days, our page is filled the scribbles of chaos, busy work, mechanically going through the motions. Some days, not enough days, are pure poetry, light and joy. Life makes sense when we connect in conversation with that quiet voice that calls us home to who we really are, not who others want us to be.
So if your story is not turning out the way you want it to or know that it can be, start changing the plot, a few new words at a time, each day. Tomorrow is a blank page.
Poetry unfolds a word at a time, with first drafts, edits and rewrites, leading us down a path to the unknown but known to us at the same time. Take your pen back and start filling that blank page with meaning, depth, dimension and lasting value. Create the life, the story you are meant to write.
“Once you’ve lived enough, once you’re cried enough tears, you know how blessed it is to have something to smile about. People who are passionate about life don’t have a positive attitude because they don’t know any better. They’re often positive because they do know better. They know that heartbreak could happen any day. If it’s not happening today, let’s give thanks.” – Marianne Williamson, The Age of Miracles
How often we know better but we still question or forget how blessed we truly are. Looking outward instead of in, to the distance instead of the foreground, the past instead of now, the future instead of now. Be grateful for this very moment, this day.
As my 50 year anniversary of living approaches in October, I feel like I’m in my 30s, perhaps a bit smarter and caring much less about what others think or may think. I am starting my training for my third marathon in the Fall. Not to win, but to stay in the game and enjoy the rhythm of training. To start. To finish. To start again and finish again. I still get excited about learning something new each day, but more importantly, sharing the discovery. I remain passionate about my career, but not interested in the positioning, chattering and chirping. Although I still let myself get sucked in when I lose perspective – that “knowing better but not doing better” thing again.
So as we know better, we need to be, think, thank, feel, breathe, give and love better and deeper. Let the light in and cast it back out again.
“When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you. Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.” – Lynda Resnick
“We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.” – Calvin Coolidge
At first glance, Salvador Dali’s Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea is a naked woman looking out a window. A longer look reveals that the window is the shape of a cross and even closer, the crucifixion of Christ. There are several other elements, layers and meanings throughout the painting. And by stepping back 20 meters, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln suddenly appears. Layers on layers, depth, dimension, the picture in the picture, the unseen unfolds right in front of us.
When we realize that there’s so much that we don’t see, our world of people and places brightens and deepens, a story to be told and heard. Instead of seeing through eyes filtered by the past, judgment or assumption, we can look longer from different angles, asking questions to pursue what’s beneath the facade. In each of us, the unseen is waiting to be uncovered, revealed, shared, honored and asked to come out and play.
“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” –Salvador Dali The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.” – Robert Schumann.
Art grounds us and lifts us at the same time. It pulls us from our limited view to show possibilities, beauty, hope, depth, our true selves once again. It can be found all around us each day.
While I was at a conference this week in St. Petersburg, I found art walking along the water at sunrise, on the street past the Chihuly glass exhibit and at an event at the Dali Art Museum. I found it in conversation with peers, in sessions learning something new and in being in a different place if but for a short time to break the monotony and familiarity we build into our daily lives to keep us “safe.” It’s all around us ready to open our mind but more importantly our heart. To feel, to be jolted, to be thankful, to see light.