The process-oriented mindset is one of several styles of moving to the beat of your own passion. Another name for it is “mastery.” One of the best breakdowns of the requirements and outcomes of pursuing “mastery” is the one the celebrated art curator Sarah Lewis delineates in her book, THE RISE: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery. This 2014 book is a fascinating exploration of the constant pursuit of excellence that is pretty much what distinguishes…
It is heartening for me to see the world-wide burgeoning of another sort of rebellion against the very real effects of the post-modern aftermath of our narcissistic phase of dominion and domination over nature, where we humans felt entitled to willy-nilly pave over the world and dump our stuff all over the place to make yet another ugly. They call it “guerilla gardening” and it continues to expand all over the globe.
Probably since the beginning of time the love of stuff has ruled the world. And as long as there has been stuff-love, there probably also have been those who growl about all this rampant “stuff-ism.” According to those grouses, making and getting and keeping and trading and maintaining and so on and so forth goes against “right” thinking and the proper order of something or other. Stuff-ism is going to destroy the world as we know it, they say, or…
One of the wisest thoughts I’ve ever encountered about impermanence is this one from English writer W. Somerset Maugham’s novel, THE RAZOR’S EDGE: “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.” It reminds me of a Hawaiian aesthetic that holds that beauty is made more precious when we understand that it is ephemeral and will not last.
They told us wrong, you know. All those guys who kept exhorting us (for decades now) to “think outside the box,” urging us to forget about our limitations and be “free-free-free” didn’t give us the real story when they touted that ‘Unbound” mindset as the panacea for all of our gnarly problems. In fact, I think they were blowing sunshine up the nether parts of our anatomy (with the best of intentions, of course).
I have a fondness for quilting. My own experiments in crazy-quilting and then sashiko quilting had me going blind doing fancy-stitching with wild and crazy colors and patterns as well as tactile combinations of bumps and lumps that were a heck of a lot of fun for me and for the heart-friends to whom I gifted these bits of silliness.
Back in the ‘70’s I ran across a small book of distilled teachings taken from talks given by Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki, ZEN MIND, BEGINNER’S MIND. There was this quote in it: “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” It spoke to me, that quote, and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to unpack the thing.
I confess: I am in love with artist Dustin Yellin’s mind. He strongly believes that “if you have amazing people around you, then amazing things will happen” and he’s been proving that truth over and over again.
I think that in every Maker’s heart of hearts, there is a dream of being surrounded by others like them who live their lives working and dancing to their own heartsong, trying to do their own best work and cheering each other on to greater effort. We dream of a place that supports us in our journey while letting us find our own way to our own best life.
At a party recently, a bunch of old guys – artists, tinkerers and generally handy dudes of a certain age – were reminiscing about high school shop class. They found it amazing that forty and fifty years ago it was not considered unusual for a bunch of silly-assed, overly amped kids to be dealing with hands-on fooling around using massive, old, industrial-strength power tools. In fact, they agreed, shop class was the go-to class for all the worker-dude guys who were…