This conversation is about how I live today and the subsequent todays to come. In two months, I'm going to be 46. What a trip that is. I'm not at all put off by it. I'm just noticing it and feeling a mindful sense of 'wow'. I like being who I am right now, in this time, space and at this age. I'm more than a little amazed by the journey I've taken to get me here. It's been a subtle one. In general, I haven't had to live through intense trauma or hardship... except those that have played out in my head. I say this knowing full well that, all at once, it is my truth and a silly thing too. Our minds are powerful worlds functioning in their own reality. How often they coincide with the real world (which could be argued as a moving target anyway) is unknown. Anaïs Nin, on point, quoted the Talmud when she said: "We don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are."
Thinking back over my history, I have felt like so much of it happened to me. I experienced myself as on life's ride, not as the driver, but as the passenger. I lacked awareness. Until quite recently, there was little that was mindful about my life. There were a few rare moments of being awake in my life. Those moments were only flickers of a flame that were quickly snuffed out by my inability to shield them from the winds of (what occurred to me as) life's circumstantial happenstance. Honestly, I didn't even know to shield those flames from the wind. I have compassion for the me that didn't know. Mindfulness is a part of my daily world now. It's not 100%. But it's there enough that it calls me back to it and I hear it. That's a continental shift in my internal geography.
My niece went to LA today to present her artwork and sketch book at a college fair for art schools. Paul and I got to see a sneak peek via Skype of her work. It was inspiring. She's inspiring. Because of her example, I spent my afternoon working in my mostly blank sketch book. My progress was terribly slow. While I worked, I could feel my creative self being pulled and tugged at. It didn't hurt though. As I'm writing now, the thing that I realize, and am smiling to myself about, is the fact that I
didn't criticize or shame my beginner's skills. In that self-imposed, closed mind world that I lived in, I would have shut me right down. That same tugging and pulling at my creativity would have hurt. After less than 30 minutes, cut to shreds by shame, I would have quit. Today, it didn't even cross my mind. I knew this was a part of the work, my work. This is a direct example of the continental shift in me. An old part of me submerged beneath a new plate. It rose up from within me and there's a new landscape that I've never traveled before. It's unknown and undiscovered lands.
That's what today and the rest of this year's todays are going to be. I'm an explorer traveling the many and diverse new lands within.
"An artist is an explorer."
- Henri Matisse