24/06/2010

Why do things die, mama?

“Why do things die, mama?”

My child and I had walked and talked for about ten minutes after finding a young fox dead on the roadside before she asked this question.

We were on a nature walk, an “adventure” and I gasped when I saw it lying there, all soft chestnut fire glory against hard grey tarmac and sharp curb.

So extraordinarily beautiful. So young, only just an adult, smooth, soft, mange-free fur and white teeth, brand new. Still warm, but dead.

Cars whizzed past, fast. I picked the fox up, its head flopped and I cradled it, blood dripping a little from its mouth.

I carried it and laid it reverently in some bough-heavy bushes, curled it around nose-to-tail as though it was sleeping, closed its eyes.

My daughter wanted to touch it too. I was proud of her. We stroked it. Her emphasis was on its wild eyes. Mine was on its youth and splendor.

We talked about it being an instant, painless death, that looking at the road, the driver couldn’t have stopped in time. We noticed the globy blood splatters. My girl asked would the fox’s parents be looking for it?

I began to cry, just a little. I was thinking of the utter, desolate waste. The youth and vitality, the care the fox’s parents would have taken to protect, feed and teach this little one through cold Spring and wet days and nights of scarce pickings. And now too quick across the road and gone.

My quiet tears as we walked were not just for this young, healthy, fit fox. They were for my own death kisses: my dogs, my cats, my mother, my self, my best friends, a boy I found dead in his car, who had fed a hose from his exhaust pipe in a lonely place . Suicides, bizarre accidents, fatal medical mistakes.

I don’t mind at all that my child sees my tiny tears or feels my sadness. I think of other children who are not given opportunities to see and feel raw, wild life and learn about death gently at first through the natural world. Who do not go on nature walks. Death on a nature walk, what could be more natural?

We have ten minutes of discussing the fox, sudden death and the consequences for everyone involved, my child asking me all kinds of questions.

And then she asks me, as she has asked me several times before, “why do things die, mama?” And I say, without hesitation, “because without death there is no life”.

I use my quaint, simplistic theory of opposites to explain things a lot. Without darkness light doesn’t exist. And yet, when we happen upon death suddenly and unexpectedly as grown-ups we are thrown out of our complacency. Children accept.

I feel odd writing about our young fox – and this is a documented syndrome you know, that when you happen upon a dead body you feel a primal sense of needing to protect it, an askew sense of it being your responsibility – I think of him still curled up and getting wet in the rain, I wonder should I have carried him all the way home and buried him here though that didn’t feel at all right at the time. I feel a little dishonorable documenting our experience in a blog post.

All of this is perhaps less about the natural, wild fox still in his natural element in the bushes and more about the wondering over death his has stirred up in me.

Yet, I want to say that I am glad we came upon the fox when we did, that it was us and not some other, stray dogs even.

I am grateful that the fox in his death gave several gifts to my child: a chance to touch wild, to stare at stillness, to learn about death in all of its complexity, to honor the found dead, respect and revere them – and more, that crossing roads is a dangerous thing, impulse must sometimes be tempered, consequences of decisions can be catastrophic …

I see her beautiful mind absorbing all of this. And she does not cry. As with so many other things, she understands it all far better than I.

Image “An Angel in the Woods” borrowed from artist Karen Davis. Check out her Etsy shop,  Moonlight and Hares + follow her on Twitter @moonhare Thank you Karen for making our world more beautiful.

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22/06/2010

Love or be loved?

Where are you at with that? It seems to me that society puts pressure on us to be loved but I don’t resonate with that very much at all.

Of course, it’s a beautiful thing to be loved and yes, we all surely want to be a person people love. And I definitely behave in such a way as to have people like me because life is much nicer that way.

But to love another. Well, to me that is something precious. Something to be treasured. I’m talking about big love or as a beautifully lady, Julie Daley talks about “fierce love”.

There are not that many people I love in that way.

And when you get right down to it perhaps it is the same for you.

I love that wild, intense love that has you in a lather to care for someone and honor them and admire and support them and all things in the in-between places. It makes my cells vibrate when I feel that love for someone else.

Of course, there are all different kinds of love and I write this post while listening to one of my greatest forever loves, John Denver (! lol), (after playing The Eagle and the Hawk on Youtube after reading @WildelyCreative‘s new blog and her latest glorious, mesmerising moments post – follow her on Twitter @MesMoments).

“My greatest inspiration has always been the out-of-doors, The out-of-doors was my first and truest best friend” sings JD. *sigh*

I guess nature is my first love. Nature has always filled me with big love vibrations.

And then there is mother (and father) love which overrides every other kind of love whether it flows wild over your baby, your dog or your cat or any other vulnerable someone.

These days, I find myself becoming more and more fierce about loving nature. It’s kicking-in with my mother love.

Then there’s inexplicable love. That soul connection that makes you stupid, foolish, irrational – or is it brave, courageous, authentic? Feeling that kind of love is scary. Being ‘in love’ is like being possessed – and you are, by LOVE.

The media perhaps propagates the view of the importance of being loved to make us behave ourselves. But I think a sense of encouragement to love actively would be so much better for humankind.

If we focused on the glory of LOVING and expressing that – love is a verb, after all – how much more beautiful life, the universe and everything would be. If we thrilled more to the joy of actively loving, and less on the ego-centric notion of being loved, I think we would feel far more contented.

If we loved more, and connected more strongly with the energetic love vibes inside of us – and felt more comfortable with loving, rather than being loved – nature would be nurtured and supported instead of ravished for fleeting gain.

We would get better at being loving. We would learn more ways to love positively.

When we individually experience loving others, and enjoy that wild ride, we would not be quite so uncomfortable about being loved – indeed, being loved by ourselves.

.

Image – “Love Birds” – borrowed from Elizabeth Ray Photography. Visit Elizabeth’s beautiful Fly With Me Etsy shop. Thank you for making the world more beautiful Elizabeth.

17/06/2010

Interview with a Wild Man – Jim Beattie of Primal Scream


Oh yeah. I am SO good to you baby.

Here for your curious pleasure, your whimsical attention, your inner wild liberation is Primal Scream legend, songwriter, musician and all-round wild man, Jim Beattie interviewed in a hazardous fashion by me.

If you can bear the excruciating first couple of minutes of me faffing around with the camera and sounding like a donkey’s ass while Jim demonstrates great patience you may feel wildly empowered after watching the whole thing. (I chose not to cut those minutes, or any of the other bits I could have cut. I am weird that way. I like it real, raw and slow y’know.)

Jim talks with dangerous candor about music, being in a successful punk rock band, writing songs, self-expression, music, creativity, seeing naked breasts for the first time, (at a David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust gig) individuality, Future Shock, fashion, making axes from tin cans as a child, music, karma, how he uses gardening to “lose himself”,  fear factors, the Sex Pistols, mindfulness, music, why people should read more, cooking, de-cluttering, being in the now, how to find your inner wild man, google Earth, architecture, music, making furniture instead of buying it, how we’re all voyeurs, woodworking, psychos, his wild take on life’s purpose, music, going hill-walking so he can “breathe” and yes, even religion and politics.

Meanwhile, I inappropriately disclose childhood abuse I experienced, talk and laugh too much.

Anyway, after the serious ride of being a famous punk rocker and songwriter, Jim has now chosen to be of service to young musos, artists and other creative people by actively supporting and helping them to set up in business through Glasgow-based Ico Ico.

I wanted to interview Jim not just because he is a legendary punk rocker and I was a punk but also because he is one of the kindest, funniest and hard-man grandest people I’ve met. I wanted to get some insights from him that might help other creative wild types live a bigger life.

Wanna hear some of Jim’s tunes? Check out his Primal Scream favorites:

Velocity Girl

Gentle Tuesday

both written by Jim.

For more Primal Scream check out current line-up website, some other Primal Scream website, fab unofficial Primal Scream website, Primal Scream photos, history and songs on last.fm and NME’s Primal Scream news, pics, lyrics, photos, best songs, discography, concerts, gossip and tour dates.

Footnotes:

I have interviewed hundreds of people in person, on the phone, via email. You would have NO idea of my interviewing skills watching this video interview!

Video interviewing is a whole other kind of other thing entirely! I am a video interview virgin so be gentle with me.

If you are disappointed not to see me on film – so am I! I had a great outfit on, and lipstick, but forgot to film myself. *sigh* In my next interview I might sit side by side. Oh God, just the idea of that makes me feel a little faint…

The blog I mentioned at one point when we were talking about simple bliss whose name escaped me at the time 1000 Awesome Things – amazing!

09/06/2010

Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow

Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow. Oh, the rhythm of the tango.

If we dance through life then the tango is my dance. What’s yours? Waltz? Foxtrot? Tango? Maybe a bit of line dancing – why not?

Even while I’m a person who’s happy to go from sound asleep for 10 hours to massive, intense, multi-tasking action to ‘make up’ for my love of sleep, I’m feeling a pull towards a slow waltz. Yes, I think I’m gonna take the slow road, even while as the picture above shows, that’s a topsy-turvy, new perspective for me.

I don’t think I’m alone in noticing a deep, quiet yearning for a slower pace.

So I’m now evaluating how I dance through life on an every day level. One step at a time.

Time. Well let’s forget about that. Let’s consider for a moment perception. Perception of how we move in the world. Do you rush? Do you walk slowly?

A lot of the pace we find ourselves setting is not just about the tasks we set ourselves each day but also, quite simply, where we live.

City dwellers always move and talk faster as a general rule than those living in rural areas. Living in the city and attempting to slow down requires a conscious swimming against the tide of, (sometimes pretty frenetic) energy that surges around you every day.

While in the countryside, surrounded by powerful manifestations of natural cycles through plants and animals, the seasons and an overall sense of a ‘slower’ pace, the full force of Mother Nature is setting your internal pedometer and mental acuity without you even realizing it. You are HUMAN after all.

So now I am noticing these differences. I’ve become aware. I’m aiming for slow-slow-slow-slow-slow —s-l-o-w and will be happy with a little quick-quick in there now and again, of course.

Even in nature a slow-grazing rabbit must be ready to run fast, a lazing, energy-saving lion to dash for a gazelle, a feather light seed to move quickly in the wind, a snail to tuck itself into its shell.

Snails. We love snails here. Having had a dry spell there have not been many about. But during lovely, saturating rain yesterday we had a snail encounter that illustrates several of the points I think I am making today.

Our bus broke down. Us passengers were off-loaded. Some were grumpy. I just don’t see the point of grumpiness about things like this. We were standing on the pavement about to walk when I realized a woman was calling a taxi.

Ever the friendly opportunist, (I’ve always lived with dogs and cats) I asked if we could split the cab with her? She was very sweet and happy to tell me in her Irish accent that it was a free ride on her employer’s account. Lovely!

As we waited in the drizzly rain my daughter excitedly drew my attention to what she had been studying – three gigantic snails in full slither all over the top of a garden wall in amongst lush green shrub.

Wow! They were beautiful. We stared and stared. They were moving pretty quick in the rain, in their natural element, out in the morning, happy and getting to it after being in their shells so long. My daughter wanted to give them something to eat.

I had a few big crumbs of bread in my bag (yes, I know that is a bit weird, but I AM a fairy story character, OK?) so my girl put the crumbs in front of one of the giant snails and he/she slithered at it and ate it while we watched, enchanted.

I am telling you this, possibly tedious, (slow?) story to illustrate how magical experiences have the space to happen in those slow moments when we are forced to wait, to look around and wonder. (Remember “the waiting place” in Dr Suess’s “Oh, The Places You’ll Go“?)

While some people might say it was a nuisance to have your bus (or car) break down with a different perspective it can be a gift out-of-time, a valid excuse to not just embrace but fully indulge the slow. Even witnessing, as we did, one of the natural leaders of the slow movement – and pretty mascot of the Slow Food US / Slow Food UK – the snail.

I am loving the Slow Movement, Slow Food (follow it slowly, of course, on Twitter) and slow everything else even while I am still catching myself doing a bit of quick-quick quite often. But then snails slip into their shells very quick-quick.

So maybe snails understand the rhythm of the tango just as much as me but prefer a slow waltz generally. I guess they keep their schedules pretty open: find food, eat it, evade death, appreciate your amazing hermaphrodite-ness, enjoy slithering and making out with other snails.

There’s a lot of good stuff to learn here. I am going to stop setting myself a ridiculous number of things to do each day. I am liking this idea of taking the slow road and making a slow, mindful, energy-saving and aware mindset my default position.

You gonna make like a snail or are you enamored of the cheetah? Unlike most animals in the wild, we have a free choice (if we allow ourselves to live wild that is).

Footnote: I must add that I’ve actively practised s-l-o-w while writing this post, by putting back the delivery time on your email subscription instead of rushing to make it by 11am AND forcing myself to not check the 26 emails which arrived tantalizingly in my inbox while I was writing it. This was NOT EASY for me! But change never is, is it? Also, thanks to Bindu Wiles for her wonderful 21.5.800 project which has supported me in staying focused and centered today. What a gal is Bindu – check her out.

PS Lovely Jackie Stewart of Flowerspirit has a wonderful post about the healing effects provided by a particular flower essence on this very issue. This flower helps us, as Jackie says, ‘slow down and be present’, can you guess it’s name? I love flower essences.

08/06/2010

Serendipity and commitment

http://binduwiles.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/125x125_orangebadge1.png

Just when I’m thinking I could use a little focus within my flow I serendipitously discover Bindu Wiles and wouldn’t you know it? – Today is the first day of her wonderful, beautiful 21.5.800 yoga / writing project. So I dived in with my commitment to 21 days of writing 800 words and 5 days of yoga a week starting today. Whoop-whoop. *grimace*.

29/05/2010

Hello authentic life

Yesterday I talked a little about how we could all be more ourselves – the individuals we are – and feel more empowered instead of running around like Loraxes.

But how exactly to do that? How do you live your authentic life?

First of all, you are an individual. It follows that your life ought to be one based on your individuality. You are not just a person in the system, a potential customer, a consumer or one of the target market. Yet so many of us are unwittingly brainwashed and just bob along with the waves of patterns of behaviour that move around the ocean of our populace.

It seems to me that while most people understand we have free choice – and so many less fortunate people in the world do not have this essential foundation of a free society – they don’t use their free choice. (However, there are anomalies in our society, for example, parents-to-be in New York have no choice about whether to have their baby at home or not.)

Free will and free choice means we have the luxury of being more conscious of the tiny as well as big choices we make every day.

Each choice has a consequence. When we choose carefully and thoughtfully, when we ask ourselves what we want to do instead of just automatically doing what we think society wants us to do, we instantly empower ourselves.

The more we listen to our inner Self, and act on our intuition, the stronger we feel, and co-incidentally happier. The more we consciously strip away unnecessary things by de-cluttering, creating breathing space in our lives, being more mindful, honoring the things that make us feel good and doing more of them, the more authentic our lives will be. Our lives reflect who we are.

So in the hope of inspiring you, I gave myself 15 minutes to write a little stream-of-consciousness list of my ways of authentic living – practical choices I’ve made and continue to make that have helped me strip away layers of accidental falsity and live a more fulfilling life.

Hello authentic living –

Hello handmade, nature, wilderness and conscious living. Hello make-do-and-mend and minimalism. Hello connecting with my community and guerrilla gardening. Hello buying local produce and seasonal food.

Hello stripping away unnecessary things, including people and ideologies. Hello looking at bees and butterflies instead of watching them on TV. Hello letting children feel free and safe and able to play without adult supervision and interference.

Hello walking instead of driving. Hello knowing more about my family and friends than I do about celebrities and TV characters. Hello Waldorf / Steiner education and toys made of things that once lived like wool and wood. Hello not window-shopping and buying into retail persuasion.

Hello wearing the same dress I wore ten years ago because I love it (fashion doyen, Vivienne Westwood would approve). Hello making your own clothes, buying vintage clothes, revamping your old clothes, buying clothes from charity shops and expressing your individuality through the clothes you wear.

Hello being indecisive so you are always open to something new happening. Hello being spontaneous and going with that whole “who moved the cheese” thing.

Hello learning to be storytellers again instead of always reading books. Hello buying online direct from artists and creators on Etsy instead of big brand manufacturers. Hello upcycling and finding new uses for things we might otherwise throw away. Hello guitars around campfires, sleeping  under the stars and taking courses like Guy Mallinson’s woodland camps.

Hello farmers markets and people raising animals and crops the old-fashioned, expensive way. Hello curative classical homoeopathy and the slow movement. Hello creating communities of like-minded people online so it’s like we all live together in a village. (I’d like WildelyCreative as a neighbour.)

Hello supporting the people working with white knuckles, gritted teeth and in tears to save our planet, the species we share it with and the welfare of animals. Hello the rebel, the maverick, the weirdo who stands up and is not afraid to go against the tide.

Hello having your baby at home, being supported by other parents and breastfeeding for as long as you want. Hello hand-me-down clothes that have the energy of other children about them. Hello dads being good at supporting and protecting their family and moms being good at nurturing and home-making and hello all parents feeling supported and confident instead of thinking they need to read parenting books <– although I recommend that one).

Hello feeling connected to people via the magnificent universe that is Twitter that you’d never meet in real life. Hello listening to our instincts and acting upon them so we get more gut instincts and start to rely on them instead. Hello thinking for yourself instead of what everyone else seems to think.

Hello doing the exact things we loved as children, not matter how childish like playing with modelling clay and crayons, making things from twigs and collecting feathers. Hello not feeling you have to see the latest movie. Hello walking barefoot and getting your hands dirty.

Hello attempting to fix something instead of just buying a replacement. Hello getting to know your neighbours even if you don’t like them. Hello having a cat or dog in your life to teach you important life lessons and bring you companionship, fun, love and joy.

Hello photographing wildlife instead of shooting it. Hello going on guided nature walks instead of shopping trips. Hello home baking, making meals from scratch and growing our own wild foods.

Hello taking things out of skips and picking up things off the street that people have put out as garbage (we got 4 rolls of thick cream wallpaper on the street yesterday, great for HUGE painting and pastel works of art).

Hello looking up old friends and just saying hello. Hello realising you are beautiful. Hello loving what you have and being grateful.

Hello more displays of public affection. Hello more adventurous sex. (Bye bye stupid inhibitions.) Hello sharing secrets and talking more about what you feel. Hello writing silly notes and saying thank you.

Hello finding out about the insects and other little beasties you share you home and street with and looking for them and being able to name them. Hello smiling at people and acknowledging people more.

Hello realizing how far you’ve come and helping those coming up behind you. Hello leaving whole days open and unscheduled to do what you like in the moment. Hello risking looking foolish when you ask a stranger if they need help with their bags, car, crossing the road or anything else. Hello getting better about saying ‘no’ without giving an explanation as to why not.

Hello having wildflower meadows and wilderness areas in our gardens. Hello making gifts and cards for friends and family instead of giving money to a shop. Hello more people doing things like moving your tomato plant so the noise won’t disturb a leafcutter bee’s nest.

Hello healing ourselves by listening to our inner wild.

I’d love it if we did a kind of brainstorming thing here and you added your individual ‘Hello‘s in the comments below. I might add a few more too.

28/05/2010

Start living your authentic life —-> Why be a Lorax when you can be YOU?

Am warning you now, I may be a bit rambly in this post. I know I should be single-minded. Alas, I am taken today with the idea of becoming more folk tale-ish (sorry).

So if you’re not into that right now, just skip to the video I’ve managed to successfully embed at the end of this post, sit back and experience your own, personal life-changing event.

I saw this film, “The Story of Stuff” presented by Annie Leonard, on Jonathan Fields’ blog just the other day and it has had a huge impact on me.

I knew all the stuff Ms Leonard spoke about but watching her present this information on STUFF has crystallized my thoughts and mobilized me in the same way another film did when I was a teenager.

For many years as a child I had “boked” as we say in Scotland, which means gagging on food or vomiting when I asked what this food was on my plate and my mum replied, lamb or beef or any other kind of meat.

I hated the idea of eating animal friends (remember I was 10-13 years old, also I was an only child in a menagerie of pets) but everyone I knew ate animals so what other choice was there?

Then I happened to see a private screening of The Animals Film. And that was it. I became vegetarian and still am a hundred years later.

Similarly, I’ve recently been feeling a strange sense of disconnect with how things are going in our society. So many things just didn’t seem ‘right’ or natural. Why were people so unhappy? Why did so many people not care about their environment or each other?

Why did some people stone ducks to death at one end of a park while in the same park not far away, other people were feeding them? (I have witnessed this particular example of the dichotomy of humankind).

Then I re-read The Lorax by Dr Seuss. Why have we all learned so little in the last 30 plus years? Written in 1971 by the visionary Theodore Seuss Geisel (his real name) it’s a clear warning for future generations and yet have we heeded it?

While many of us have understood its premise, resonated with the desire to care for our wildlife and wilderness, treasure nature and our natural biodiversity, and have felt moved by Dr Seuss’ plea, we have run around like Cassandra Loraxes.

We’ve identified with the powerlessness of the Lorax, rather than the direct “YOU” of the character Dr Seuss wanted us to relate to.

Enter Annie Leonard. (Thank God.) Ms Leonard has done something grand to alleviate our powerlessness. She is fully equipped with the facts, the evidence and the passion to help us all. She explains things clearly to us, with simple diagrams and straight-forward narrative in “The Story of Stuff”.

She is the YOU of The Lorax. She took the Truffula Seed idea and did something huge with it. She planted it in a film. I suspect that if Ms Leonard read The Lorax and its last page:

“SO…

Catch!” calls the Once-ler.

He lets something fall.

“It’s a Truffula Seed.

It’s the last one of all!

You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.

And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.

Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.

Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.

Then the Lorax

and all of his friends

may come back.”

she decided to take up that responsibility. And by God has she ever.

So thank you Dr Seuss and Annie Leonard. I will be a Lorax no longer and simply be ME.

I too am shifting from feeling powerless to taking the steps to disentangle myself and my family from the unnatural, unsustainable, unholy threads that tie us to big corporation’s stranglehold on our planet. I realize I’ve been doing it for a while.

Tomorrow I’ll share some practical and simple new ways you can not only reverse the cycle of Stuff in your life but simultaneously liberate your inner wild man / inner wild woman.

10/05/2010

Stay or go, your choice

There I am, just walking, not really even thinking, being in the moment, at one with it all.

BAM! I’m hit by a sudden dilemma. A grand philosophical question. A sign painted in the window of a closed-down cafe has caught my eye:

“…to go … to stay …”

Well, crikey, um, I dunno. This is the sort of question that can root an indecisive Libran like me to the spot for hours. I could have spent all day in front of that window, weighing up the pros and cons of staying or going before making a decision.

So I stood and I thought. I took a photo. I thought some more – about my life and whether I was going somewhere or staying, which somehow implied being “stuck”. Where I had come from? Where would I go? Where am I right now? Do I even know?

And yet, relief. This scrawly-painted sign in a window reminds us that there is always a choice. You don’t have to stay. You can just GO.

Yes, it was talking about coffee. But this coffee shop has closed down. (Suffocated perhaps by the nearby chain cafe, “Beanscene” which doesn’t pose such weighty, life-evaluating questions.)

Did this cafe’s customers look at this when getting coffee and decide, upon reading this statement, to leave a violent relationship or an energy-sucking job, to leave an unhealthy situation or to stay in something good and commit to making it work…?

Was the sign writer aware of the effect their question might create on people’s lives? I mean, this is one of the greatest, most recurrent dilemmas in my life. Stay in this situation or go to the next, unknown one? Stay in this country or go to another? (I’ve repeated that one quite a lot.)

I hope this little statement stays in the window for as long as possible. I think it’s a valuable reminder of something we forget. That even when we feel locked-in to the most horrid of situations, or think ourselves trapped in a negative state of mind or hand-cuffed to an abusive person, we always have a choice.

And it really is a therapeutically healing, simple choice – go or stay. Once we make that choice we have already made huge progress.

Phew. Definitely time for some coffee …

04/05/2010

Cup half full? Great! ———–> Next question: blank piece of paper – intimidating or exciting?

Where are you at with the whole ‘blank canvas’ of your life thing?

Given that we can have the power to change everything in our lives moment to moment, the present is a continuous blank canvas for our future – or if you prefer, (and today I do) a blank sheet of paper.

Quite suddenly the blank piece of paper becomes a metaphor for your life.

I admit to occasionally feeling intimidated by blank white paper. Especially if it’s fancy laid paper, watermarked, letterhead or handmade paper.

On analysis, I realise this happens when I’m feeling either fearful, creatively overwhelmed/bottle-necked or remembering that a tree died to make that beautiful blank, smooth whiteness.

How can you dare break the serene silence of whiteness if you don’t feel you can make the paper any more lovely that it already is?

Strangely, my dumbness is overcome by A2 and A1 pads of paper. I LOVE those. With their maxi size and lots of leaves, I feel giddy with freedom. I always use huge pads for mind-mapping and big ideas, (of course).

When I’m feeling confident, filled with prosperity consciousness and I am holding a pen I like to write with and there’s a sentence in my mind that must be captured and contained on a sheet of A4 paper, not via my computer keyboard, I thrill to the blankness.

I guess a lot of people don’t take much notice of a blank piece of paper. It’s the same with most things we use every day, yet these tiny things can be incisively indicative of our general attitude. As humans, the potential of tiny things tends to get overlooked as we turn our heads to the glitzy sparkly BIG thing over there, we can’t help ourselves.

But wait! To redeem us all there is at least one, rare individual who is divinely inspired by blank A4 paper. Peter Callesen not only turns something 2D into something 3D, he inspires us all by creating delicate majesty with his imagination, A4 paper, glue and a blade. He also has these glorious words to say about it all:

“I find the A4 sheet of paper interesting to work with, because it is probably the most common and consumed media and format for carrying information today, and in that sense it is something very loaded. This means that we rarely notice the actual materiality of the A4 paper.

“By removing all the information and starting from scratch using the blank white 80gsm A4 paper as a base for my creations, I feel that I have found a material which we all are able to relate to, and at the same time is non-loaded and neutral and therefore easier to fill with different meanings. The thin white paper also gives the paper sculptures a fragility which underlines the tragic and romantic theme of the works.”

Ah, Peter, you are SO very fine!

Thank you for demonstrating how something humble, something ordinary like a blank piece of paper, can become remarkably extraordinary. Just like us.

Images borrowed from Peter Callesen.

28/04/2010

The freakishly simple way to have what your heart desires

It’s taken Drew Barrymore of all unexpected people, (much as I admire her) to help something gel in my mind.

How do people get to do amazing things? How come that person got to do that thing that I, oh so wistfully, wished for?

Why does it seem so freakishly simple for some people to have what they want?

Is there a secret ‘in-road’? As it happens there is. It’s called asking. All you do is A-S-K!

I’m a person who still finds it challenging to ask for what I want. So I was delighted to read a recent interview with darling Drew Barrymore wherein she said her success was partly due to having the courage to ask for things.

For example, she fancied being on the cover of Vogue magazine. Unlike most people who might sit and wait and wait and hope and hope that their phone might one day ring and their little side-hustle dream-come-true, Ms Barrymore wrote to Anna Wintour, editor at American Vogue and ASKED to be on the cover.

Yup, she asked.

I love that. It’s so empowering. So simple.

I hear another limiting belief of mine tinkle into tiny pieces.

“I just don’t think that things magically happen” said Ms Barrymore. “I think the writing [of a letter] is so proactive and a great way to take a stance in fighting for the things you want.

“Look: I have all these burning passions and desires, I’d really like to make this happen, and I know you don’t have ESP, so me sitting here scrunching up my eyes and hoping, hoping, hoping probably isn’t going to do much.”

I don’t think it has ever occurred to me that the amazing things that happen to people might have happened because they asked. Asked! Such a tiny word.

And yet I am sure lots of people – I’m thinking various forms of the casting-couch scenario, for instance – have skipped this first, simple step.

So thanks Ms Barrymore. I am now going to not only write things down for myself but write things TO people. Put a stamp on it and not just thereby action it but tangibly ship it - (as Seth Godin says, “One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen“).

Image, ‘Growing Human Heart’ from a selection of prints on paper and fabric available to buy from The Utilitarian Franchise, San Francisco. Thanks for making the world more beautiful.

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