There is a saying in the metaphysical realm that we must be in the “moment.” Even divine intervention is about the “now” in reality, which leaves the past and the future, which are not “here” anymore. That is where choice comes in and can change everything “on a dime.”
Of course, there is a name for this “now” thing, so seemingly contemporary and cool, and it is the “Gestalt Therapy.” The GT encourages one to focus on current experiences and living in the present moment. This idea has around for some time, but do we really practice it?
It is perhaps not so easy to take a moment in the now hurried journey of life and “smell the roses,” though that is exactly what makes the journey more real and gives it special meaning.
How many times do we brush our teeth and yet are not aware of how we do it? How often do you arrive at work on your usual route and do not even remember travelling the distance? How much of your day is ensconced in such habit that you cannot recall even the smallest detail? And much of this absent minded traversing is done over and over, day after day…until what? We die?
Shame on us for missing out on even the smallest detail of life. The only things that really seem to wake us up are instances so magnanimous that we simply cannot follow normal procedure. If we get sick, our pattern changes. If we lose our job, daily tasks get rearranged. If we move, we feel lost and fearful of change. Even meeting new people creates anxiety of all sorts depending mostly on how comfortable we are in our own skin.
Artists are faced with “new moments” every day. Every brush stroke is in a sense, a new moment. How we look at a subject is either translated as more of what it already is, or as something new to be observed from a different angle. One of my favorite teaching tricks is to have my students paint their subjects upside down; the subject that is, not the student themselves, though that too would create a whole new perspective on life.
Looking at something anew brings zest to our thinking process, even when it is about the seemingly same old thing. To mindfully run your hand across a nubby knitted scarf can bring a sleepy sense alive to the different qualities within the wool itself. Looking deeply into the eyes of someone you love can reflect an entirely new vision of who they, and likely you, are.
And don’t forget to look up. How many times have I seen rainbows in the sky and looked around me to notice that no one else is even bothering to gaze any farther than their destination, unless of course they are aliens. Then there are the sunsets, which you have to find sometime, especially in the mountains. There is the frilly, soft feel of a Canadian Hemlock branch and the way the breeze feels brushing across your skin.
I could go on forever with all kinds of ways and things to do to be “in the present.” When an artist paints a rose, all of it is taken into consideration because ultimately, the task before an artist is to give the viewer as much of that experience as is possible.
Try, if you have not already, to go through your next moment truly observing what gifts it has for you and when you pass a rose, stop and give it a whiff.
Rogers is a local art gallery owner and hosts an instructional painting television show that is broadcast regionally. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/paintingwithraney.