I thought that I would introduce my post today in an unusual fashion... perhaps catching each of you as much off guard as the You Tube guitarist did me... with his intentionally "troubled" and very questionable start. He most certainly more than redeemed himself with his virtuosity... verging upon guitar genius. Consider in the same breath... that he is attending Harvard University... for God knows whatever other intellectual "gift" that he must possess... and demonstrate.
I am simply in awe of his rich guitar virtuosity... but what prompted me to choose him as my "front man" on today's "gig"... was the verbal expression he used to introduce himself before he played a single note or chord. The title of his presentation....? Gratitude... Gratitude for the wonderful things which had entered into his life in his coming to Harvard... and the friends he had made there... "that would last much longer tn the fame they would attain later in life.." Chuckle! Chuckle!... but nonetheless true!
The word which comes to mind to best describe this young man and his actions in this "Gig" is... "humility". I believe that both humility and gratitude walk hand-in-hand. Together... they bring to those who embrace both fully and actively in their lives, a measure of Peace and Joy beyond that experienced by other travellers in life. This observation is especially true when I think about artists whom I admire. All of them demonstrate a complete lack of pretence in regard to their achievements... and can readily recognize and accept their weaknesses and criticism graciously. They seem to me... to be able "to live comfortably in their own skins". They know who they are!
A Plan for Helping Develop... Achieving and Receiving a Greater Sense of Personal Gratitude
Reducing the Importance and Need for Competition in Daily Life
I have given much thought to the "idea" of Gratitude as of late. I personally believe that a real gratitude is achieved in stages and with practice. I think that the most well-adjusted "seniors"... as we're referred to in this generation (it used to be elders)... have reached a point in their personal life journeys when most of the mountains we're forced to climb in life have been climbed. The need to struggle to "climb" to greater heights daily has been met and the drive for our goal-seeking greatly lessened - by personal choice.
Use of Personal Time
We have the advantage of "seeing" the value of Time as "the coin of the realm"... as opposed to the almighty dollar being the standard in earlier life. Life slows down just enough... for us to breathe and for us to be able to look around and to enjoy the scenery (too rapidly) passing by our window. For the most part many of us better value and use our time to seek new experiences and adventures... especially travel.
Re-evaluating Important Life Relationships
A feeling of genuine Gratitude for the smaller blessings of each new day gradually replaces the need for competition or comparison to make our lives seem complete. We simply "are"... at peace with the Self that each of us carries within. We become more aware of true importance of those we travel with. Those special few... who have loved and supported us during our lives - our spouses, our families and long time friends. Choosing to devote more time to being with those precious few individuals adds further to a rapidly growing sense of fuller Gratitude.
Pursuit of New Personal Adventures
The ideas and thoughts that I have mentioned in the above body of my post are not to be construed as any plan to opt out of further growth and achievement. Just the opposite. I would offer that this life stage we have currently reached in our "senior" years is comparable to Autumn itself in the cycle of seasons in the Natural World. It is rich in colour and opportunity. We can reap the harvest of our labours and savour the security that we have obtained.
That is why I view autumn.. albeit too brief... as an opportunity for deep Reflection. For me, that is inwardly directed questioning about prioritized and achievable goals or markers. Things to be checked off my list of "want-to-dos". That reflection also includes the coalescing of "want-to-dos" which Deb needs to fulfill her own life goals and needs. That as well involves setting aside more time to be shared with family and friends.
Fortunately for Deb and I, we are "much on the same page" in regards to this reflection process... simply because our lives are woven together in a rather unique fashion. We are not only enjoined happily in a matrimonial sense... we are as well contentedly sliced together in our individual artistic pursuits and our joint Gallery business activities.
Fortunately for us, we have just lately reached a point in both of those areas to start thinking about an "exit strategy" from the real rigours of owning and operating a gallery business. It has been indeed been a very inspiring... satisfying and rewarding venture/adventure... but as with all things... there lies within that decision a cost - a huge investment of time and energy.
Raising families, as with us all... has required years of investment of precious time and capital. Now... we find ourselves on the very cusp of seeing our children successfully and happily launched upon their own journeys. We are extremely proud of each of them for their individual achievements... and unique differences. We feel gratitude... for the gift to us of having lived sufficient time to reach this point to enjoy this special moment.
We have jointly decided to begin preparing for a new adventure - travel. Our strong passion for creating Art will still be maintained in our adventures... but it will be revised to meld with the sheer joy of freedom of choice to create... as opposed to the fiscal need to produce works for sale. Painting for pleasure... mostly - that's very different from a business perspective (usually).
My own art journey has carried me to to paint in all but one Canadian province... Newfoundland/Labrador. I have painted in each of the British Isles, Germany and Italy and as well... in parts of the USA, Jamaica and the Barbados. What's next?... That's the focus for us over the winter... as well a preparing for a final "swan song" for The Paint Box Gallery -anywhere!
Offering Gratitude to Others
The recent terrible and tragic events that have unbelievably unfolded during the last week here in Canada in Quebec and Ottawa underscore the complete lunacy and danger-fraught path that Mankind appears to be headed down. It is a hideous and totally misguided downward spiral... a vortex which sucks even the innocent into a world driven by fear... hatred... and even untimely and meaningless death. Today... Humanity itself hangs in the balance. No ideology... whether cultural... political or religious can claim "the right" to determine the future for those not included within its precepts.
I will close out today's post... as I began it. I appeal to those of you who read this to consider what role you might assume... what non-violent act you might unilaterally undertake in your own everyday life to buffer this threat for further violence and hatred. Perhaps your art... or even your smile might be seen as visible evidence... that a better way is possible!
In closing ... I offer my usual Remembrance Day tribute... a simple painting entitled "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" It echoes pictorially the very same anthem theme which prominently spearheaded the non-violent folk music movement's crusade and public appeal to bring the war in Vietnam to a speedier conclusion. I offer it humbly today in the memory and remembrance of the sacrifice made by all young men and women... especially these two recent peace time soldiers here... on Canadian soil. I extend my deepest Gratitude to them... and my condolences and thanks for their sacrifice to their surviving family and loved ones.
Good Painting... and Much Peace... to ALL!