Phew! Now that I’ve got out what I wanted to say about my desk, I can carry on with what I actually wanted to write about before I got blown off course. Okay, I promise that was the last of the nautical metaphors.
Today a pure white sky sits beyond the rooftops and the wind is making the field of ferns dance outside the window. Clouds have a way of getting us to look inwards. I sure do love me some soft fluff (clouds).
Or perhaps it is the Alain de Botton talk we went to see on Tuesday night in Zurich. In case you don’t know, Alain de Botton is an amazingly smart and funny philosophical writer, whose books include Essays in Love (about the stages of romantic love), The Art of Travel, The Architecture of Happiness (actually about architecture), How Prouost Can Change Your Life and the latest, Religion for Atheists. If you haven’t read, watched or listened to him, you definitely should. My next book shall be called ‘How Alain de Botton Can Change Your Mind.’
Anyway, the talk was about this latest book – about what aetheists (like himself) can learn from religions. One of the points was about learning – he compared how the basic principal of universities is that you could take a person, open up their head and pour all this information into it and expect them to remember it. Religions do things differently. They take a simple message and repeat it over and over. They know that man is flawed. We want to remember, but we do not. We want to celebrate and comemorate, yet we forget. Religions deal with this realistically by telling us when we should be doing certain things and reserving days in the calendar for them. He gave the example of looking at the moon. We like looking at the moon, we think it’s a good idea and we should do this more but we forget. The Zen Buddhists have a special moon viewing day for this. You see.
This got me thinking about creativity (of course). From my experience, being creative is about making a commitment, sitting down and sticking to it. Of course, it would be so nice to just wake up whenever my body wanted and spend the day in creative pursuit, going with the flow and what not, like in this blog post I recently read. But due to certain constraints on my every day, ‘creative pursuits’ is something that needs to be scheduled in. It must be remembered. It has to be made time for and squashed between must-do chores. But that’s okay. It still happens.
Writing this blog can get crowded out by the necessities of eating and sleeping and working. That’s why it’s Thursday – that’s what I’m saying.
Have I said this all before a thousand times? I probably have. See, Alain de Botton was right again. In that case, I’ll carry on with religious zeal, submitting more intently to the fervor. We could all do with the reminder…
But hang on, creativity is not something that only gets a twenty-minute time slot before breakfast or a couple of hours when you should be at the gym. All of us are always creating. The force of creation is what’s driving the whole universe! Cells are regenerating, plants are organically taking form and babies are being birthed, rocks are turning to sand, fire and wood to ash, asteroids are sculpting new surfaces and somewhere in London a light-switch is being turned on and off and even that is being called art.
So if creation is happening anyway, we might as well put some thought into it.
Everything we do or say is our creation. We are constantly creating our experiences, creating our life.
Take red lipstick. Imagine if you were a woman who wore red lipstick everyday (or for the men if you’d prefer, the equivalent – a beret?). Firstly, you would be making a statement without ever opening your Ruby Tuesday lips. You are projecting an image and creating the art of your life. And red lipstick makes us feel a certain way – feminine and fierce. You would be influencing your mood. You would be just like Gwen Stefani, who doesn’t just live it, she is it.
Even if we are not conscious of it, our habits and ways become part of our characters in other people’s minds. I think of the way my Mum drinks her afternoon tea and the way my Dad bangs his fist on the table to wake himself up. Like it or not, we are all memorable.
I have been reading about Kundalini Yoga and have stumbled upon some diamonds. As usual, I look to the wisdom of a genuine yogi to give some razzamattaz to my so-very-humble-human words. And so Yogi Bhajan reminds us,
Whenever you do something, do it as a piece of art. Otherwise just don’t do it. Let everything express the creativity of you.
I hope you don’t get the ‘I don’t have time for this!’ feeling because of this, but look at it as an invitation to get more from the everyday. It is not an item to be added to the ‘things to do’ later list or something to worry about getting perfect, but a way to have more presence and beauty in your life.
We all know when we are dressed well, we feel good. When we cook a pretty dinner, we feel good. When we write our signature, we feel good. When we are face-to-face with fresh flowers, we feel good. When we have an interesting conversation, we feel good. When we read something inspiring, we feel good. And this feeling is available to us everyday if we choose to put a few thoughts into our actions.
Zooming in, what you do is an expression of who you are. Zooming out, we are each just a brushstroke upon the universe.
I think everyday in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone. And how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel.
Life is art.