“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
We must ask ourselves: Are we just existing? Do we like whom our lives say that we are? Do we need to change that message? Why don’t we just do it?
A few days ago, I blogged about how Fear of Loss prevents us from fixing our paintings that we know are not good. We are afraid that in the process, we will lose the painting entirely; therefore, we just hang on to what we have and yet, do not like. https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/fear-corrupts/ I continued in that same blog by questioning what would be lost if we did entirely ruin a bad painting? The question is valid. I teach art to all ages–and the adults are the worse of the bad art hoarders. Kids just toss everything aside–easy come, easy go–and start all over. That is the way that we all should be. That is the nature of doing art for the sake of the doing--for the sake of the process. 99.99% of my adult students just want to paint something that they can hang over their couches–those people are product-driven and not process-driven. Product-driven painters do not find enrichment and meaning through their art. Process-driven artists paint for the sake of painting. L’art pour l’art.
Barbara de Angelis discusses how this same fear of changing also affects people, as they make life choices:
“When we try to keep things the same, we often end up holding onto people [and paintings] and situations we shouldn’t, and ignoring the possibilities for transformation that are presented to us . . . and thereby sabotage our own progress, our own happiness. We become rigid, inflexible, stubborn. . . . of course, then we wonder why we don’t feel the passion we want to feel. . . why life seems meaningless at times, never suspecting that it’s because we are trying to keep things static, to keep life from moving. . . .When we resist change, we are in essence trying to make life stand still. And nothing could be more unnatural. It would be like trying to make a river stop flowing, or the ocean stop moving. . . . That’s called death. Death is the only state in which nothing about you or your life will change. . . .Instead of trying so hard to keep everything the way it has always been, we should stop struggling against the flow of life and learn to surrender to its currents. Life isn’t about getting everything in place and keeping it that way,. [See my Blog asking if Your Inner Control Freak is Ruining Your Life: https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/the-most-ausp/ ] That isn’t called living–it’s called stagnation, it’s called death. Trying to get our lives to be ‘stable’ and not rock the boat is the perfect formula for suffering. . . . We all like the idea of growing. But we don’t like the idea of having to go through changes. This is what I call ‘conditional growth’; I will grow and work on myself as long as I don’t have to change anything major about my life. I will grow and work on myself as long as I can stay in my comfort zone. I will grow and work on myself as long as it doesn’t mean I have to reevaluate my marriage/ my career/ my personal habits/ whatever. . . .Each time you confront these ‘cliffs’ in life, you are offered an opportunity to grow, to become someone better than you were yesterday. But in order to grow, to leap, you have to experience change. And this is where most of us can get stuck. All growth and accomplishment involves taking a risk, jumping from one cliff to the next, leaving your comfort zone and leaping, at least temporarily, into the unknown. . . Is it natural to feel scared when we contemplate taking these leaps? Sure it is. . . .Even though you might be unhappy there, stuck. . . .[this] is familiar territory, and your mind interprets what is familiar as safe.” Barbara de Andelis – Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know. [pgs. 53-58]. I recommend you read the entire book. This one is an oldie but goody.
Again: Do you want to break out of your ruts–in art--and in life? [They are actually the same thing.] Is it important enough to take a few risks to make that change? Certainly it is. It is as I said before–about risking the changes that might fix a bad painting. Losing a bad painting is no loss. Throw it away, if you don’t want to fix it. Don’t let it hang around your neck like the Black Albatross that it is. The same is essentially true of life [but you could not have convinced me of this either [before my much-needed divorce]. If you lose your status quo entirely, what have you lost? I’d rather have a few great days than millions of bad ones–or even mediocre ones.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
Grab the Brass Ring and Take A Spin Around Life. You Are Worth The Risk!
“You only live once; but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” – Margaret Thatcher
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher
“We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don’t care for.” – Marie von Ebner Eschenbach
“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” – Mark Twain
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” – Muhammad Ali
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali
“There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream – whatever that dream might be.” – Pearl S. Buck
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery [The little rose, speaking to the the little prince]
“Inside every hardened criminal beats the heart of a ten-year-old boy.” – Bart Simpson