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Sometimes I wonder if creating art is more about asking questions than telling stories.
Can I look at this another way?
How does this change when you . . . ?
Do you see what I see?
What if we . . . ?
In a way, it takes some guts to ask questions, right. To raise a hand, to investigate, to interrupt the regularly scheduled program. So few people do anymore. Everyone seems to have “the” answer nailed down, figured out.
But what about the questions that can’t be researched, they have to be experienced? What about our incredible capacity to invent, create, bend, innovate? Make stuff up?
What of the endless mystery? What of the questions yet to be asked and the answers yet to be uncovered? What about the adventure of I don’t know?
A new beginning starts there – it starts with I don’t know how but I am willing to try, to move, to change. There is no way to begin a thing you’ve never done before without changing the way you think about the thing, about the work, about the art, about yourself.
Without changing your mind.
The catch is, though, that we fear change. It’s vulnerable and uncertain and it creates a sort of dull – sometimes sharp – feeling of un-safety, unrest, un-resolvedness. It’s itchy, it’s uncomfortable.
To change is to bust apart the boundaries, however imagined or ridiculous those invented boundaries may be.
And maybe because we fear change, we ask fewer questions. About ourselves. About others.
About our art and where it can go, how high it can fly.
That’s what is so exceptional about the beginner’s mind. It’s strung about with endless, genius, fundamental, glorious, incredible, delicious questions. And she isn’t afraid to ask them.
“And yet most of us find this difficult to believe because, despite what we may know about the psychology of resilience and our hardwired optimism bias, we dread change enormously.
Change — be it negative, neutral, or even positive — is hard; more than that, it’s usually unwelcome — in no small part because we’re stitched together by our routines and rituals.
But change is also how we stretch ourselves and grow, and in the tension between the resistance and the necessity lies one of the great paradoxes of the human condition.”
So, beautiful rebel change agents, here we are at the end of our Beginner’s Luck Series: 7 Ways the Beginner’s Mind Makes Better Art. The end of a little journey of sorts.
We’ve talked about how the beginner goes first, how she goes alone, how she makes her art out loud. We’ve talked about how the beginner takes the stage – offers up his gifts – even before he is ready. We’ve talked about how crucial it is to maintain creative presence.
And we’ve talked about how the process of beginning and keeping going can be messy, how we have to be willing to bleed, to stumble and get back up.
We know to master the beginning is to master it all. We know mastery is not about being perfect but being persistent.
All of this is to say, in so many words, that to begin in some ways is to end in others. When we begin a new way, we leave an old way behind. When we try something fresh, we abandon something stale.
As continual beginners, as change seeking artists, we are always transitioning, always stretching, always expanding outward in new dimensions and unexplored directions.
Change is a wild place to be and yet we always exist on the continuum of change, of evolution, of designing a life. To create art is to sort of dig in and instigate changes in ourselves, in our worldview, in the way we connect the dots.
The beginner makes better art because through the humility it takes to master his soul’s work, he becomes the art itself.
He is the emergence of creativity and light.
She is the stretch by imperceptible stretch of the beginning.
“In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten… Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love.
No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
Life is a series of surprises.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles (source)
The creation of art work is evidence that we as creatures of an evolving universe seek change. Something deep within our very cells craves renewal, instinctively desires a birthing of what’s inside.
The beginner’s mind welcomes the unknown. She expects to be challenged, to be engaged, to be molded, fired, bent and sculpted through her learning, exploration and unfolding.
To begin is to show faith in a new way, in a belief that the world does in fact need what we have to offer. To be creative is to bring forth solutions, innovations, surprises, insights.
All of these, works of art.
The greatest privilege we have is to keep uncovering, keep indulging, keep beginning.
Keep asking questions.
Because perhaps the most glorious mystery of all is that we are every answer we seek.
And all along, what we have really been talking about, the most amazing, most brilliant, most incredibly fascinating and enormously powerful art you are here in this wild world to create . . . is you.
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I would love to know what you thought of the entire Beginner’s Luck Series!
Did the 7 Ways The Beginner’s Mind Makes Better Art serve you in your art, your creativity, your life? Drop a comment here or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your gorgeous spirits and brilliant lights.
You are rock stars and I love you madly. ;)
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