“Just work hard, and you will evolve into yourself naturally. Don’t choose who to be—grow into yourself through hard work. All will be revealed. I guarantee that if you paint a still life, it will have your personality in it. You have to trust that. The best things I saw by you today were your self-portrait drawings, because they had no artifice. . . . If I was you, I would strip away all your flashy gimmicks and dare to make “plain” paintings. You will be original, you have to take it on faith. You know what to do. You’ll get where you need to go with time and hard work.”David Hockney to artist Duncan Hannah (quoted in Mason Currey’s newsletter Subtle Manueuvers, issue ‘Seven Lessons in Being an Artist from Duncan Hannah’)
Growing into Yourself as an Artist
A Zen Master on Love
“Love hits people over the head when they are not looking for it, and the same can be said for epiphanies and enlightenments. We fall into them. An opening appears in regular life, and what follows doesn’t necessarily fit in regular life. That opening changes your frame of reference and then, well, anything might happen … You might assume that the implication is that you have to marry and have children and stay together for the rest of your life. That might be so, but it might not; love isn’t dependent on outcomes. You might notice that love is what really counts in life and that could mean you get a different job, spend more time with friends, forget about being famous, come out as gay, or shave your head and go into a long retreat. Both love and enlightenment are in favor of whatever welcomes more life.”John Tarrant Roshi, Let Me Count The Ways
The Paradox of Love
We all know it: dating is hard. On the one hand it clears any ambiguity: you both know why you’re there; but on the other hand it raises the stakes, because you both know why you’re there. But online dating is a different story. I can’t account for all the possible reasons why online dating is especially hard but I think one significant reason is that every dating app is in the business of dating, not love. They provide a platform for people to meet but how useful is that platform if every aspect of its design from its colours to the way people show interest (i.e. swiping) is only to keep me on the app and ultimately pay for upgrades? It’s all counterintuitive.
Sometime this past summer I remembered a quote I found on Wikipedia years ago by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor:
[…] happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself[.]– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
As with happiness, so with love, I think. It sneaks up on us. The wave of a hand. The way someone calls our name to say goodbye, and they really mean it. Who knows what summons love?
A swipe right?