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It seems that if you tap into your creativity using the same avenue it will run dry pretty soon. A bit like an oil field you have to go deeper and eventually approach from another angle. Drill in different places to knock the novel bits lose. How do you do this?
My first reaction to this painting when I saw it first many years back was ‘what do you mean this is not a pipe?? What is it?’ It’s sounds like a smart asses’ answer but it doesn’t make it less true: as you probably know it’s an image of a pipe. Not the same as the actual pipe. What might be obvious once you are in on the joke in terms of art is often downright forgotten in daily life. We think our images of the world are the exact reality. We treat our painting of reality as actual reality. We see a person but more often than not we see some past version of that person that we have constructed based on limited experience. This is not always a bad thing. But if we find it hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt, remembering Magritte’s famous painting might help get us back on track.
We often think that not doing something is a limitation: not using technology on a Friday night or not eating certain foods on a specific day. However not doing creates space for doing something special: instead of choosing out of every available option we limit ourselves and make space for something that doesn’t have a lot of space otherwise. What can you create space for by not doing something for an evening, a day or even a week?
If you do something every day people assume you are disciplined. Actually it makes things easier because you stop fighting with yourself most days. Some days the fight will go on. Like today with this blank screen. Some days there’s no fight and you are still not happy with what you create. But in the end if you show up every day, every couple of days something will come out that you actually care about. Maybe it’s not polished or perfect but at least it’s something. What can you do every day to make it easier on yourself?
What is the scariest thing you have ever experienced? Doesn’t it dwarf everything else that is not as scary? For me it was when a ranger asked me to leave the safari vehicle and walk towards him. The only catch: 8 wild lions were sitting in the bush 25 yards away. Weirdly enough I was not scared at that moment because seeing wild lions was something I had wanted to do since I was a kid. However now when I am scared I ask myself ‘is this really scarier than facing that pride of lions that could have torn you apart in about 4 seconds?’ So far nothing has been scarier than that prospect.
How can I love unconditionally but clearly feel better about some things the loved one does over others, which can really pull me down? I didn’t understand this conundrum intellectually or experientially until I stumbled upon the distinction between conditions and preferences. Conditional love or conditional trust says I can love you as long as you do this and don’t do that. If you do this or don’t do that I will love you less or stop loving you all together.
A preference on the other hand is ‘I prefer if you express your love or if you touch me lovingly but if these preferences are not met, I still love you. If something happens that tempts me to love you less, I will always try to see your perspective and understand my part in what is happening. Our love is more important than that I can hold on to my reflexive reactions, insecurities and fears.
Our body influences everything yet we usually only pay attention to it when it is hurting or not functioning well. Take a moment to scan your body. Take a moment to thank your body parts: how your feet are carrying you everywhere you need to go, how your lungs work without your conscious control and how soft the skin is between your upper and lower arm. If something is hurting put your hand on it and feel what happens. Can you take a bath or get a massage? If that’s not possible just stand upright and breathe in and out deeply for ten breaths.
Photography and Photoshop are often used to deceive, to depict something, that doesn’t really exist. This could be said about this picture as well. After all you can not position yourself at the point this picture was taken and see these lines in the sky. In case you are wondering, this picture was taken by leaving the shutter open for so long, that the earth rotated which made the stars look like they had changed position.
However in this case photography was used to show a reality that is hidden to our eyes: namely that although we know the earth is constantly turning we don’t feel or see it so most of the time we simply forget about it. Isn’t it weird that we can forget that what appears solid, the earth beneath our feet is constantly moving? Is it so weird then to imagine that we have inner movements too and that the truths that we are fighting about are equally valid, depending on our current position? And that fighting about it is as futile as telling a New Zealander that he is mistaken, about the stars he sees in the sky?
There is so much to enjoy about a kiwi fruit: the strong green colour that changes in nuances as you hold it up to the light. How cool it is inside even if it was kept at room temperature. How it is not just one taste, but a combination of juicy-sweet and just enough sourness to really make the sweet stand out. How this one fruit has completely different textures: the almost furry outsides, the soft green flesh and the little white part, that is a bit harder to scoop up with a spoon and of course the black seeds.
Next time you walk past the fruit aisle take a few seconds to enjoy the variety of colours. Colours are like a drink to the thirsty eye. Enjoy the memory of the last really good fruit you ate. How abundant this world is in colour, tastes, textures and small miracles.
What’s a piece of childhood joy that got brushed by the wayside as you grew up? Can you bring it back? Did you stop listening to (new) music, draw or play? There will always be more grown-up stuff to do for the rest of your life. Why not bring something back that energizes you and brings back precious memories while creating new ones? Something that takes you away from computer screens and makes you feel alive?
For me it’s soccer and animals. What is it for you?