Sunday, 24 March 2013

ART AND THE ZEN OF REGULAR SCHEDULED CAR MAINTENANCE 

Right then! Here's a car story which relates not to the art of cars themselves, but to creating art in general.

About three years ago I bought a brand new Mazda 3 and over the course of the two years I owned it I would pay regular visits to the dealership for scheduled maintenance. I loved that car and I planned on keeping it around for many, many years, so I didn't mind taking it in for service. The service would usually take around an hour, all told, and during that time I would bring a sketchbook or some paper to pass the time drawing.

The other day on my walk to work I saw a Mazda 3 (not a rare thing mind you) and it brought back memories of being in that waiting area and the wonderful magic that happened there. And all of a sudden I understood what had created that magic!

You see, while I was in that waiting room I had a greater focus, I liked everything I drew, I experimented and took chances, my drawings were more accurate, confident, and loose at the same time, and I realize now that I didn't give a single thought to the outside world during that hour!

Here's what I figured out; I gave myself permission to be free of my usual worries. The fact that I was stuck there created a resignation which allowed me not to fret about any other issues that I might have been worrying about at the time. I didn't care whether I was spending my time wisely or productively, because simply by being there I was being productive!  

I existed only in that space and didn't give a thought to anything beyond that dealership. The situation put my mind so entirely at ease and in such an automatic way that I didn't even realize it was happening at the time!

Applying this realization to all the other times I've been afraid to draw, I now understand that all of that fear is entirely my own creation. Every excuse and every fear has no actual basis outside of my skull. It's the cacophony of imagined fears and worries which cloud my vision and prevent me from getting down to the brass tacks and doing rather than (over)thinking.

There have been other times when I've had similar results from having to wait. I specifically recall waiting on someone after I was ready to go and busting out a drawing that I was proud enough to hang on my wall for ages! I was just dicking around essentially but was able to focus on the drawing entirely because I didn't know exactly how much time I would have, yet someone was definitely going to come and get me at some point. So all of my cares just didn't exist and I fell into the moment completely.

It's now becoming clearer that letting my mind be unrestricted by these imagined fears is one of the gifts I can give to myself on a regular basis if I work at it. I have generally 'allowed' things to burrow into my thoughts, fester, and become larger issues. It's often small, insignificant things from the recent past, or something I would have to do soon which I was nervous about or not looking forward to. I never allowed myself to exist just for that day and that day alone. I've carried every day before and every day yet to come and all of that weight brought down my ability to think clearly.

Now my challenge is to figure out how to allow myself to be resigned to a smaller moment in time and not worry about the minute before or the one which doesn't yet exist. So far I've found it manageable to live only for today and still function normally, but tuning it right in to little slices of time could be harder in terms of time management. When an artist is having a good day or drawing session they say that time seems not to matter, which sometimes creates problems if you have a deadline you need to hit! So I have to learn to cultivate the sense of being in the moment while managing to not let myself get swept away in the current of time. 

Sounds like fun :D 

- Dave

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