“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” (Pablo Picasso)
Most of us are not monks, living in a cages in a zen-like state. We go through our daily life, accumulating a lot of dust. Stress from that bloody meeting with ego-driven people. Boredom from the same weekly grocery run in the same zombie supermarket. Restlessness from another session of mindless scrolling through social media. Being all Zoomed out after a day of staring at people on screen who probably wear nothing but underwear from the waist down. Anger from that stupid conflict with a family member (even though you had promised yourself to remain cool and detached). Or just numbness from living your life on autopilot, day in day out. Not really being here, not really feeling things, just going through the motions.
There are a few things that can help shake all that off and return to yourself.
A good walk in the woods. A deep conversation with a friend. Just stopping and sitting still for a moment, maybe in the car before entering the house after a long workday. If you’re working from home, I find the toilet can be a quiet refuge (but lock the door).
And then there’s Mister Picasso’s remedy… Art ! In whatever shape or form.
A movie that touches you. A book that is populated with people that make you feel like you’re not the only weirdo under the sun. A piece of music that lifts you up high in the sky. Or maybe a painting that reminds you of why you are really living.
For me, art can be a true soul bath. Consuming it, or even better, making it. And it doesn’t have to be officially recognized “Art”. It can be a very personal form of creation.
So sing your song. Grab your crayons. Write that story. Knit that sweater. Bake that cake (frosting optional).
And if you can, try to focus on the process of making, and forget about the results. That’s not as easy as it sounds, certainly for type A achievers, who are used to being constantly evaluated by others and themselves.
But if this turns into yet another kind of “must achieve, must impress”, then there’s no point to it really.
Then you’re just accumulating more dust on your soul.
I’m still struggling with letting go while painting. It takes courage, strangely enough. But I notice I slowly get better at it. And I’m having more and more “soul fun” as a result.
Having some form of art in your life can be a reminder of all the beauty that’s there, in life, in you, underneath the layers of dust. Gracias Pablo !
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