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On Beauty

 

On Beauty


 

I love rocks, volcanoes, rough textures, and the hoarse sounds the ocean makes as the
waves break out on the shore. I love the silence and crash of the water in a waterfall. I love to
be surrounded by still landscapes.

 

inspiration-silence

 

I want to feel the textures and hear the voices of what I see. I want to hear the voices of the
wind and rain; to smell the damp earth, the whispering grass. I need to hear the sentient hush
of the landscape. For me, beauty is more sensory than visual. I somehow have to feel what I
see.

 

 

Humanity, motion and emotion, and nature, all inspire me with their wild beauty and raw
grace. I love wrinkles. And old people. They know so much; their opinions are refined from
experience. And young people who have found their path early, and walk it without fakery or
pretence. And the raw, smoker’s voice of the unusual guy just being himself, creating his
music, lost in his own self-expression. There is beauty to be found in originality, and also in
the innocence of childhood. Somehow the sea, the rocks, the people are all comfortable in
their own skins, and I find inspiration in this natural beauty.

 

 

 

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New Year, Be The Better YOU

 

New Year, Be The Better YOU

 

“BANG!” The gun fires and the race is on. The runners take off across the field. It rained the day before and the ground is still damp. The temperature is cool. It is a perfect day for running. The line of runners quickly forms a pack.  They move as one. As with any race, in a short period of time the stronger ones will start to pull ahead and the weaker ones will start to fall behind. But not Ben Comen. Ben was left behind as soon as the starter gun sounded. Ben’s not the fastest runner on the team. In fact, he’s the slowest. He has never won a single race the entire time he’s been on the Hanna High School cross-country track team. Ben, you see, has cerebral palsy.

The pack pulls farther and farther ahead while Ben falls farther and farther behind. He slips on the wet grass and falls forward into the soft earth. He slowly picks himself up and keeps going. Down he goes again. This time it hurts. He gets back up and keeps running. Ben won’t quit. The pack is now out of sight and Ben is running alone. It is quiet. He can hear his own labored breathing. He feels lonely. He trips over his own feet again, and down he goes yet another time. No matter his mental strength, there is no hiding the pain and frustration on his face. He grimaces as he uses all his energy to pull himself back to his feet to continue running. For Ben, this is part of the routine. Everyone else finishes the race in about twenty-five minutes. It usually takes Ben more than forty- five minutes.

When Ben eventually crosses the finish line he is in pain and he is exhausted. His body is bruised and bloodied. He is covered in mud. Ben inspires us, indeed. But this is not a story of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is not a story of “when you fall down, pick yourself up.” Those are great lessons to learn, without a doubt, but Ben’s lesson is deeper.

Something amazing happens after about twenty-five minutes. When everybody else is done with their race, everyone comes back to run with Ben. Ben is the only runner who, when he falls, someone else will help pick him up. Ben is the only runner who, when he finishes, has a hundred people running behind him.

What Ben teaches us is special. When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against
yourself, everyone wants to help you. Olympic athletes don’t help each other. Ben starts every race with a very clear sense of WHY he’s running. He’s not there to beat anyone but himself. Ben never loses sight of that. His sense of WHY he’s running gives him the strength to keep going. To keep pushing. To keep getting up. And to do it again and again and again. And every day he runs, the only time Ben sets out to beat is his own.

We’re always competing against someone else. We’re always trying to be better than someone else. We’re always comparing ourselves to others. What if we showed up to work every day simply to be better than ourselves? What if the goal was to do better work this week than we did the week before? To make this month better than last month?

What if the next time when someone asks, “Who’s your competition?” we replied, “No idea.” What if the next time someone pushes, “Well, what makes you better than your competition?” we replied, “We’re not better than them in all cases.” And what if the next time someone asks, “Well why should I do business with you then?” we answer with confidence, “Because the work we’re doing now is better than the work we were doing six months ago. And the work we’ll be doing six months from now will be better than the work we’re doing today.”

 

Sinek, S. (2009). Start With Why. New York: Portfolio.

 

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The Inspiration of Silence

inspiration-silence
inspiration-silence

 

The Inspiration of Silence

 

People speak too much and yet say too little about inspiration. Being an artist means hearing the question, “What is your inspiration?” over and over again.

There is no straightforward answer to this. There are lots of things that inspire me, and yet inspiration is also dependent on many situations, moods, the seasons even.

I might feel inspired to make something with a tool I’ve just bought, but then do I reply that the hammer inspires me? I guess that is not what people expect to hear. But the new tool might offer me the impetus to make something whose actual inspiration comes from somewhere else.

“Nature,” is often an answer, but it is a boring answer given by many, and actually tells you nothing. Nature is so different it depends on so many factors. I feel like saying this single word ‘nature’ doesn’t describe it well enough, it doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t describe anything in particular really.

inspiration-silence
I love nature: it is immensely important to me. I love to escape to wild places: I would love to live in the middle of nowhere, or to have a tree-house for weekends; to be closer to nature.

And what is it I seek in nature?

I love rocks, volcanoes, rough textures, and the hoarse sounds the ocean makes as the waves break out on the shore. I love the silence and crash of the water in a waterfall. I love to be surrounded by silent landscapes. I love the qualities of silence to be found in nature.
How to write about such silence? It is not noisy, tiring or disturbing, like our outer lives. It is an interior quality of nature, as if one is hearing with an inner ear; as if the body can be still, and listen to the many soft and hoarse sounds, and the silent voices of rocks and canyons. It is a silence that for me is full of wakefulness, the serenity of millennia.

inspiration-silence
These natural sounds, so nice to listen to, have the power to awaken the imagination and to create images; images you can really see, that eventually become refined and honed into delicate jewellery. In order to be inspired, and to create, the most important thing is to create harmony between time and silence.
When I am in this silence, I can ask what is really important to me, what do I really need; what do I value; what can I offer? What can I give to others? What is the best I have in me?

inspiration-silence
Silence feeds our imaginatings. Silence is peaceful. Early in the morning in the silence, I can hear myself think, and this is the time when the best creations are born.

Silence gives me time out. It gives me space to process my experiences, to concentrate and purge my thoughts and ideas. In a world full of continual distraction, it becomes increasingly difficult to tune out all the noise and to just hear myself.
We can talk to many people, but with how many of them do we feel comfortable when silent? It is a measure of a relationship. And many people are uncomfortable with silence, in relationship and in nature.
For me, however, it is the most important thing we can enjoy – time in nature, drawing its silence into us.

I am more about feelings than about seeing: I love to feel what I see. I want to feel the textures and hear the voices of what I see. I want to hear the voices of the wind and rain; to smell the damp earth, the whispering grass. I need to hear the sentient hush of the landscape. For me, these are all part of the great Silence of Nature.

inspiration-silence

Silence inspires…….

 

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