Marcel Proust – “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Examining anything from a new perspective requires an openness to what could be, not just what already is. When we are struggling, life can feel limiting and narrow, overwhelming and complicated – even for just a day. How do we limit the noise, and begin to see from a new perspective?
I believe in all things we must start small and familiar. Be in the moment; take a new direction to the grocery store; dust off those golf clubs and set a tee time; hike, fish, ski, run, practice yoga; float the river; live the life; take the photos; read the book; love, live, and in the process, open ourselves to what could be instead of settling for what is or was. And almost instantly there it is – something new!
In order to live a more artistic life, I often use my surroundings as inspiration. Nature, architecture, observation and recreation. VACATIONS! These remain some of the best outlets for all our minds, bodies and souls to crash through the norm and embrace the “what ifs?” Leaving worry, comparison and perfectionism behind is a great way to start emotionally. But what about physically? How do we grow within our physical world? How do we consciously open our arms to more? We “just do it” like the Nike slogan says? Or we expect others to do it for us? No. We take a breath and plunge forward. Straight into the unknown. Fearless only because we know where the value and worth reside – in the new. I call it cultivation. And our lives depend on it.
We cultivate an artistic life, not by pressuring ourselves to do the things but to experience them. There is a difference. Experimentation requires us to try new ideas, methods and activities. “Doing” in contrast is simply existing. It may take us further down the path. But often the passion is missing and the destination becomes more important than the journey. We must be inspired to create. When cultivating an artistic life, it is imperative that we get curious around our current state and look for invitations to more. In order to leave the humdrum or status quo behind always requires some form of catch and release.
I prefer to describe “catch and release” in the vein of fishing where it was coined. Gather your fishing gear. Journey to your favorite, but secret fishing hole. Put on those waders and fishing vest with all your flies. Grab your fly rod and carefully and quietly enter the stream. Spend the day on the water. You may catch a few trout. Excitedly enjoy the process, the flick of your line, the tug, the realization that a fish is on the other end, the gentle splash as it exits the water, and finally it is in your hand. You admire its size and beauty and fight. Then you gently remove the hook and release the fish back to its sanctuary. The experience IS the journey. We have new eyes simply by opening our lives to what’s possible.