An Artistic Life
In my dream an old musician told me his secret to life. He said: react to things as an artist. Here’s what I think he meant.
Normally we react to events and situations based on past experience. And usually we are quick to classify and bring to bear our summary encounters and limited purviews of personal history.
To react as an artist means opening to the moment. Not just connecting the dots deterministically and robotically. The older we get, the more autopilot seems to engage. If we’re not careful, pretty soon we’ve got everything sorted and nothing really informs us, or enlightens us, or moves us. We can travel long intervals unaware we are still at the wheel.
To react artistically, engages different parts of mind than the bookkeeping of our habitual conditioning. To play with the potential of a moment opens to a larger field of inquiry. It’s a not so subtle difference between creating and manufacturing. Every widget is not the same. And we may have to discover this by stretching our imaginations rather than pushing shapes into slots. Then our experiences become invitations to unfold creatively. Then we can peek into, behind and around things and ferret out umbral dimensions of illumination, connection and enchantment. Some claim this can be done with nothing but a grain of sand. Or maybe a wildflower in a pinch.