"To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have: our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive ---the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans." DON MIGUEL RUIZ
Once you reach a certain, ahem, age (shhhhhhhhh - no need for numbers!) thoughts of mortality are more prevalent. Along with the preparing of wills and other documents which we'd much rather postpone until they are really necessary, by which time it will be too late. While watching my thoughts (don't you do that? It's like stalking your own mind...) I recently noticed way too many were about being old, passing away, fleeting time. So I wondered if I might be having a little anxiety or fear about death. Until I read the quote above in Ruiz' The Four Agreements and had a little epiphany. AHA! I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of being REALLY alive and being EXACTLY who I am. Wow. Now there is a little something to sit in awe about.
I mean, really. How many of us are out there living a bold, fearless, carpe diem kind of life? How many of us spend an inordinate amount of time worried about what others think about how we [insert word here: dress, act, believe, eat, look, drink, decorate, write, drive, walk, think] and less than no time at all about what we'd really, REALLY like?
Maybe, my dear, cherished reader, you already seize the day in a brazen, Pippi Longstocking kind of way. If so, would you comment below with some much needed HOW TO for the rest of us? Though my intern is back at university now, Wonder Mike has volunteered to step in and send a little something sweet to the commenter whose comment is most commendable. Ready? Go!.
And I've been thinking about stubbornness quite a bit this week, as Wonder Mike becomes more comfortable in his new shangrala and begins to display his tiny but mighty personality. Which includes an abhorrence of walks. Twice a day, he and I each dig our heels in on opposite ends of the leash and take 45 minutes to go half a mile. He likes to sit and look around. I like to walk fast. I realized after a week of this that he probably doesn't know how wonderful walks really are (who knows if he was ever even on a leash before) and so I've begun wearing away his reluctance with pockets full of treats, the most interesting destinations and a willingness to stop and greet every single passerby and yes, even sit beside him on the sidewalk now and again. Just this morning, he sat by the garage door where his leash hangs, waiting to go. I wonder if he knows deep renewal and a doggy pedicure are coming his way?
This daily looking at Tamayo (and by looking, I also mean sketching and exploring with paint) really reduces, narrows, hones - my eyes begin to see the simplest of shapes in a compositional setting. For those of you with a formal art education, perhaps this realization seems rudimentary. For me it is a revelation.
Nepo, in The One Life We're Given, mentions the practice of tracking whale sightings in ship logs from the 1800's. "And all processes of art are essentially ship logs, in which we track the appearance of what matters, and it surprises us with its majestic breach in to the ordinary moments of our day." These studies are my ship logs. A little aha, a majestic breach. I will keep looking.
I've spent a lot of my life trying to finish lists. Crossing things off gives me satisfaction. It gives me the illusion I am ever closer to the time when I can relax and really enjoy life. As if it must be done in that order. Yet these lists (and worries I touch with my thoughts each day) are the very thieves which must be quieted. The things which prevent flow.
One very good way to quiet thieves is to spend a few minutes immersed in the wisdom of someone else's words. Here's a link to a TED Talk by David Whyte (provided by the same thief-quieting spirit lady who gifted me a copy of the new book by Mark Nepo) which is sure to help push your lists to the side for a few minutes today. https://www.ted.com/talks/david_whyte_a_lyrical_bridge_between_past_present_and_future.
Jen Jovan and her imaJENation