It used to be, that I had a lot of time to sit and watch. To walk at a toddler’s pace – marvelling at the veins in leaves, endlessly inspired by a branch, a sweep of hills or the shadow thrown by a pebble.
As busy as children make you feel, with their constant needs and constant companionship, they also bring an intense peace – or so I find in retrospect. Perhaps that’s my zen leanings – to actively seek the beauty in mundanity, or the beauty nearby to focus on and make hanging out the 5th load of washing a pleasure rather than a problem (so lucky to have a washing line, doesn’t that peg feel smooth in the palm…). I carried a camera always as we walked – not to point at them but to catch what we saw. And we always saw a lot.
My kids are both at school now – well on their way to more independence, and they are still quite time-absorbing but in a totally different way. There are arguments to soothe. Negotiations to umpire. More clothes to be washed. Life lessons to be discussed and tears to be wiped from wounds far deeper than a grazed knee. Improvised dancing sessions to audience and witty banter to giggle at. They are amazing people my kids.
I find myself with much less time of my own to sit and watch. Far less solitary moments and the need to actively make the time to find a quiet corner and still my own mind. This has certainly impacted on my art-making and my well of invested inspiration.
To be sure – my wellspring these days is a very natural and almost constant sense of pure joy in every day, instead of a determined ‘pollyanna‘ pursuit to find the joyfulness in any difficult situation, but this has, put me into the kind of blissful torpor that I am determined to shake myself out of.
I am determined, to stop more often again and see the beauty in what is lying at my feet – without thinking ‘I can and will change that soon’, and work on expanding that into thoughts, pictures and paintings that will feed off each other in a more organic way.
I am needing to paint, and waiting to paint, but find myself without the inspirations that were once so plentiful. I need to make a date with myself every day, I think, to get back in touch with the eyes that saw so deeply. And perhaps if those 5 minutes have not been found organically, they must be gained at the end of the day to get back into the habits that were once so helpful.
Moving forward, looking down, looking around, looking deep. Looking forward. 🙂