After writing the last post on sleep and dreams, with the poem by Herman Hesse*, Maria Poplova posted her Brain Pickings :
You were made to be yourselves. You were made to enrich
the world with a sound, a tone, a shadow. – Herman Hesse
For makers, and I think for most of us, there is a yearning to make a mark, leave a sign, sing, write, paint, proclaim– to leave a footprint .
What does it take for you to believe that your particular sound, tone, shadow is already in you, already good enough, and unlike anyone else’s? And that this has nothing to do with fame, acceptance or perfection?
These are questions I return to like water over stone. How often I forget Mary Oliver’s proclamation:
For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!
Yesterday I taught a class in brush lettering at the University of Louisville, to young students who don’t remember a time before social media…who feel the universal pressure of class assignments, and find it difficult to set aside time for what is going on inside. I was delighted to see how willingly they surrendered their phones to the “basket”, which was placed outside of our circle, away from our bodies and minds, allowing uninterrupted no ding-dong time to enter. They seemed to delight in the freedom of attending only to breath, brush and ink. (It’s just as well too, that I had no idea we would have an audience of students and teachers from the rest of the art department, as spectators. The students proved to be undaunted by this, completely willing to enter the temenos).
One of the great gratifications of teaching brush lettering is being witness to a student who suddenly comes alive, in body, mind and spirit, whose countenance is all at once lit up, by making of an unself-conscious, authentic, unedited mark. One unguarded moment of freedom from what anyone else thinks, including herself!
One door to finding yourself, and your path to enriching the world, is doing something that brings you pleasure.
A phrase from our recent poem by Tony Hoagland comes to mind:
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,
that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
Back in my studio, I took the time to find some things that give me pleasure, things that you can do even when you feel you don’t have enough time:Read More