Two Artists Tuesday

SWEET POTATO copy

Standing at the doorstep of her mortality, Kerri’s mom, Beaky, turned to her daughter and offered these words of advice. Live life, my sweet potato. This print hangs by our front door as a reminder of two very precious gifts: Beaky and this life.

Live life; who doesn’t occasionally need a reminder?

A few years ago, as a readership experiment, we created and published a series of simple images with words. Each image or phrase had a special meaning for us. We called the series two-artists-making-stuff-for-humans. The experiment was a success, our readership quickly grew, and then, like all attention deficit artists, we moved on to other projects. In the melange, Tuesdays belong to Two Artists.

 

LIVE LIFE, MY SWEET POTATO

kerrianddavid.com

live life, my sweet potato ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

Grow Young

681. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

“A child-like man is not a man whose development had been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.”
Aldous Huxley

It’s not that I don’t want to grow up. It’s just that I don’t want to be like most grown ups that I know. I figure that I will have plenty of time for being deadened after I’m dead so why numb myself to experience now? It makes me wonder if hunter-gatherers became complacent? In the absence of a laz-y-boy and an entertainment center, what constitutes good living?

Twice in my life I put myself on a television moratorium. Both times within a week, after the initial detox period of wondering what to do with myself when not anesthetized, I stopped pacing and began to experiment. I created things. I went places. I stopped shouting at the television and started engaging with people who talked back. I read more books, thought more thoughts, went out into a cold winter night so that I could feel the cold, see the stars and shiver just enough to make a good cup of hot chocolate taste better. Also, there are few things more satisfying than wrapping cold fingers around a hot mug. Once, I smoked a cigar while sitting on a wall that overlooked the city just because I’d never done it before. In short, when not distracted, when not “muffling myself in the cocoon of middle-age habit” I came back to life. Breaking patterns is more important than you might realize.

What are the multiple ways that we check out or pad ourselves from new experience? What paradigm do we embrace that makes “just getting through it” a viable option? If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone count the years before they could retire I’d be hauling around a ton of nickels. While sitting in the Blue Moon a few days ago I heard this: “Six more years to retirement and I can finally start living.” The others at the table nodded as if to say, “Hold your breath; you’ll get there someday.” With such a premise, why would anyone want to grow up? A real friend would have stood up, slapped them and screamed, Wake Up!”

The Buddhists say that life is the joyful participation is the sorrows of the world. The key word is participation. Protect yourself from the sorrows and you blunt your capacity to participate. We aspire to “easy” and “easy” comes with a cost. Children count the minutes until class is over. Adults count the years until retirement. And in the mean time, the rich textures of life, the capacity for joyful participation, passes unnoticed.

There is no mystery to fulfilling your potential or releasing your inner artist. Get up, let go your current form of distraction, look around, step toward the thing that will take some effort and is worth doing. Get messy. Do something for no other reason than you have never done it before. Aspire to grow young.

Live Everywhere

676. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

For the past several weeks I have been in gypsy mode. I am traveling from place to place, landing for a few days and then moving on. There is a great gift that comes when you’re on the road as a rule and not an exception: when you’re not living anywhere, you start living everywhere.

I’ve noticed that I’ve let go of the expectation of norms or routines so consequently I am paying attention to the little things – each day is filled with little amazement, little gifts surround me. I’ve realized that when there are no day-to-day patterns, you cease investing in the comfort of the pattern so are capable of welcoming what is right in front of you. You truly begin to live everywhere because every moment is unfamiliar.

There are tiny arrivals in my gypsy mode, resting places but it is as if I am seeing life without its security mask. Sometimes a cliché is a cliché for a reason: the idea that I possess anything or own anything is an illusion. I am at best, a steward. We are all merely passing through. We are, as Jean Houston wrote, “the burning point” of the ancestral ship. Others came before and were witness to their time and have passed the burning point to me (and you). For this brief lifetime I am the eyes, ears, and hands of the experience; I am the witness; we are the stewards of our time. In gypsy mode there is only one question that really seems to matter: Did I open my eyes and ears and other senses to the full experience of being alive? Was I present during every moment of this incredible ride?