The Zen of Life’s Artful Lessons

Down the Garden PathI spent this morning reading several articles on the business of art and trends headed our way. This led my thinking down a certain path. Here’s what I was thinking; go with the flow when it comes to your life’s journey, but don’t lose sight of where you’re going.

The most important lesson I’ve learned while shaping my artistic adventures, is to know the why of something.

It’s primary because it helps you choose the right goal in the first place.  Everyone wants to be happy. No one wants to waste precious time.

Asking yourself  why you want what-you-want can seem obvious at first, but most of the time the truth is in the closet, hidden with your other stuff.

Why? Because, with the constant changes we go through in our lives, it’s easy to end up in a place that you hadn’t anticipated. Not only can you lose focus, but you can also forget the why behind your choices.

I thought I knew my why when I began my studies in fine art, but after two years I changed. When I started, the goal was simple and based on my history of experiences interacting with fine art. The goal was, go to school, learn whatever it is they teach you in art school, paint and become an artist. It was a very traditional mindset which probably germinated in public school with its established approach to art education.

It took me a while, but I soon discovered painting wasn’t my passion. I’m very much in awe of great paintings and I get excited when I see paintings that work on many levels, but the act of painting itself didn’t move me to explore its visual possibilities. It didn’t grab me the way ceramics did when I explored the material of clay and its many possible forms. Clay fit my nature and my need to manipulate materials into three-dimensional forms.

This revelation didn’t require I let go of other forms of art making, or the importance of taking courses such as painting and drawing, it just meant they were stepping-stones and not my primary focus.

The why of my original goal became visible after two years of exploration; it was based on my limited knowledge of the arts. Eventually, as I experienced other disciplines and ideas I was exposed to possibilities that I hadn’t even considered. I believe this is why luck has much to do with success. It’s something that happens when we bump into things, as we keep an open mind and explore our potential.

Boris (left) with his brother; painting by the...

Boris (left) with his brother; painting by their father, Leonid Pasternak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.”  – Boris Pasternak

Much later in life I went through another life altering discovery. It happened after a couple of years in a position that I had strived for. Something that I had wanted so I could experience the gallery system inside and out.

I first had an idea that something was wrong when I developed an unsettling feeling that wouldn’t go away. I had everything, but something was missing and I wasn’t sure why I was feeling the need for something more. Was I having a mid-life crises?

Eventually, I realized that while I was busy stepping from pebble to pebble on a path I had chosen, I found my perfectly polished shoes pinched and my vision had faltered. It took several years to discover what was gnawing away at me, but I finally realized what it was.

Often answers are buried inside years of responsibility and growth. You need to dig deep when you find yourself in unknown territory.  -F.K.

I have always been drawn to the arts, but I got caught up in the training and preparation and found myself at the end of a series of goals without further direction. I was in stalemate. The only move was to do something unexpected and take a chance. There is a saying – the teacher arrives when the student is ready. The teacher is our life experiences and it’s the student’s role to create those experiences.  The two are intertwined like rhizomes connecting underground.

These days I’m happy to have my compass pointing in the right direction.  There’s still uncertainty in my life. Life is complicated and I’m only one part of the equation, but I’m happier, because I know that I’m moving forward.

Here is what I learned.

♥  Stay focused, dig deep and keep sight of where you are in your journey.

♠  Change is not the enemy. Our unwillingness to change is.

♣  Rules are only valuable when they help you grow. They’re guide posts. Not walls.

♦  Bend in the wind like green bamboo, that’s where magic happens.

♥  Keep your head up as you step on the pebbled pathway of your life’s journey.

Be strong, be a Zen Warrior.

All the best, Filio

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2 thoughts on “The Zen of Life’s Artful Lessons

  1. Thanks Filio, for sharing your thoughts on this. I can really identify with the difficulty in keeping your vision. Digging deep to find what it is you really want, what you are afraid of, what it is that just doesn’t feel right,— is not easy & sometimes it’s even scary. But we’ve got to do it to stay on course. & We’ve got to be open to everything that comes our way, as you’d said. Sometimes the greatest opportunity is disguised as meeting someone you wouldn’t have thought twice about, or getting some kind of work you don’t particularly even want to be bothered with.
    My direction is not 100% clear yet, but every day that I make an effort to be open, & to be willing to change if needed—I believe I get closer.

    • Thank you! Your comments are always insightful and in depth. Life is complex and beautiful, and more so because it doesn’t come with a user manual. I think you are right about getting closer. Don’t give up. One day at a time. That’s what I tell myself.

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