A Daily Journey

Every day is a journey. The sun is rising, we open our eyes, and we are embarking. Bravely, we face the world. We meet other characters along the way, many of them recurring, some new and surprising. Even the recurring characters often surprise us. We meet challenges, face obstacles, and sometimes we descend into darkness. Not every day or every journey has a clear resolution or a happy ending, but at the end of the day’s journey the sun flashes like fire, red and orange, as it sets in climactic glory. We sleep, awaiting another day, another mysterious journey into the unknown future, another chapter in the larger journey of our life.

Once upon a time, Lauren and I were on a journey. A grand adventure. Then it ended. Suddenly it was over, and everything was ordinary. Mundane. That was how I saw it, but for only a moment. Then I learned to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I met the single, solitary day. I introduced myself. “Hello, today,” I said. “Who are you? What can I do with you? How can I get to know you better?” Be. Here. Now. …this is what I learned to start saying to myself. And it has made all the difference.

Not in the future. Not in the past. Nor elsewhere geographically. Just BE. HERE. NOW.

Geographic travel is empty if you do not know and love the present moment. You must be thankful for today: where you are, what you have, the air that you breathe. When you can do this in your own back yard, then you are prepared for new geography.

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“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

Today, I write from new geography, but that is only a side-note. This place is as ordinary as my own back yard, and my own back yard is as extraordinary as this place. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to travel, to see new places and to meet new people. I do not take it for granted. But if the focus is on travel, travel only breeds discontent. My first focus is to be thankful for the very air I breathe and the land beneath my feet regardless of where I am. To appreciate and honor the simplest of things. If I can’t do this, then the trips I make become only a gateway to later discontent.

So when I wake in the morning, no matter where I am, I greet the day and the new journey that comes with it. I am thankful for that journey. And I set forth on the voyage of today.

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Just finished reading…

On Stories

On Stories, by Richard Kearney

Yesterday I finished reading an excellent exploration of the ‘power’ of narrative.  On Stories by Richard Kearney explores the story from a philosophical perspective.  Kearney’s insights are not simply literary but also address such things as psychology, counseling, politics, and life in general.

Here is an excerpt:

“But let me return briefly to our genealogy of storytelling. What both historical and fictional narratives have in common is a mimetic function. From Aristotle to Auerbach, it has been recognized that this involves far more than a mere mirroring of reality. When Aristotle defines mimesis in his Poetics as the ‘imitation of action’, he means a creative redescription of the world such that hidden patterns and hitherto unexplored meanings can unfold. As such mimesis is essentially tied to mythos taken as the transformative plotting of scattered events into a new paradigm (what Paul Riceour call the ‘synthesis of the heterogeneous’). It has little or nothing to do with the old naturalist conviction that art simply holds a mirror up to nature.” (12)

Whatever you make of this excerpt, let me just say that the ideas expressed in it and elaborated on throughout the rest of the book are ones that will shape the art (everything from writing to painting to photography)  that Lauren and I produce over the coming years.  So there’s a little insight into one way (of many) in which we’re thinking when we produce art.