Process, Uncategorized

Double Handle

IMG-0613Following along on the Dharma theme I’ve been doing my best to to stay focused and complete each task as it arises. This small errand can be far more complicated than it might seem. Especially when we know that emails make babies. So tackling the email list as your entry level task for the day can seem like sitting on a fast moving treadmill and getting hit in the face by the floor. Personal Development can be very far from graceful. The great news is that every time we fail, we learn something. So with each attempt we are creating small and substantial victories.

Double handle? What does it actually mean? Way back when in another time, another life and a totally different trajectory I used to be a Fine Art Handler among other things….true story. The process of Handling Art is an Art Form in and of itself. Imagine you had the responsibility of picking up priceless objects on an a daily basis and how that might inform the way you think about things literally. When something is sooooooo valuable? Holding, carrying, bearing become ways of being rather than merely chopping water and fetching wood. Forgotten, lost or even mishandled become mythical as the checklist pull you back constantly to this moment. The right now. There here.  It changes everything.

One false move and you can undo centuries of painstaking work. Lose something irreplaceable. If ever broken, you can’t go back and “fix” it and even if you could it has to accepted as forever changed. That’s the thing with art you you aren’t actually meant to seamlessly repair it. You have to leave the repair visible so that anyone handling it in the future can see the damage. It’s a strange idea right? That the damage no matter how severe has to be accepted and adds  value to the art work over all, and proves it’s originality. It’s really quite remarkable to be able to see an art work as an original thing, with a life of it’s own.  Then witness the number of restorers, dab hands, forgers and chancers, that have had a go at trying to preserve a treasure. The repairs tell all kinds of stories. You can microscopically examine paint and figure out exactly what it is made from. How it might have been constructed and even who or where it was made.  We get insights into whole worlds histories and even daily stories. Repairs gone wrong, disasterous work days, and work extraordinaire. As well as master craftsman’s signatures that far surpass the talents of the original artist. All this painted out for you as the story of an object.

As an Art Handler we need to learn these stories the way that a health professional might take a patients history, so that we are best able to evaluate treatment, movement and transportation. Right down to what we wrap it in, what love it might need, to survive a journey of only a few feet and well it’s individual needs. The real moral of the story is that we always do our best to only pick something up once to minimise impact. As a result incredible planning and care it taken to ensure that each piece is given the best possible care. We always have an extra pair of hands,  we always have an extra pair of eyes and we always have an expert there to guide us. We only get to pull this off once and once only. Everyday is a remarkable experience of presence, zen awareness and total focus. There can be no foreseeable mistakes. We talk about double handling as a last resort. Imagine that you only get to do everything once. It’s a lot like those exploding keys of last week.

Process, Uncategorized

As Inspiration Would Have It

IMG-8092Sometimes it can be a little bit challenging for me to know what to write? How to write it? or know who I am writing it for? The best thing that I know to do is to wait. That’s right. I literally find myself having to wait for inspiration. The good news is that on my quest to help heal humans and all the earthlings we impact on I’m finding more and more that where my joy lies is exactly where the trail is leading. Our modern guru masters are always telling me so and now I am beginning to get it.

This week has been remarkable for two reasons one I watched Evan Almighty – yes who would have thunk it and two it’s always better to work in community.  Three brains or maybe in this case, souls, are better than one. So Evan Almighty reminded me that the lessons, that we have to learn are not taught to us in the way that we expect. So over the last few weeks I have learned a valuable lesson in commitment. That even though things might not be going to plan, you can’t afford to play small. What I mean by that is that if you really are going to put all your energy into something, you really might as well put all your energy into it. Not only that, I have to get incredibly clear on what it is that I am trying to achieve and also gravitate towards serving in a way that shows who I am and yet also serves me. How do I do that? Oh wait a minute, by being who I am. How easy could it be!!! Yes that easy and yet so much more complicated. It’s such a massive journey of exploration.

So two, working in community. For a lot of years you could say that I have had a some what of a professional block about art. For the most part, I think art is wonderful. However as a trained Art Historian I’ve got a complicated relationship with pretty pictures. So much so that if I had to explain this extensively it may work it’s way down to being a Master’s degree thesis – Something to work for. Anyways. In my soul I’m an art lover, purveyor of beautiful objects, so much so that if I ever had a gallery it would be called Scopophilia (the love of looking). However as many of us have learned or intrinsically know the collection of beautiful objects or even experiences has a limited capacity to create an actionable impact on the landscape of the soul. So in recent decades in art and also within art theory there has been a growing attraction of the idea of anti-aesthetic. Think Banksy and you might get close to what I mean. His messages are powerful and clear however his art cannot necessarily be defined and either beautiful or uplifting. He is passing on a more sinister world view. Hence for me the deliberate absence of a pretty picture postcard life. My spiritual quest though anti-aestheticism, asks me to dig much deeper as to where I find meaning, connection or even hope. Think Rholihlahla Nelson Mandela and his bare cell. Coincidentally, if we join the dots, we might find the connection between the vow of poverty most nuns or monks take when joining a religious order and this man’s exceptional spiritual growth and teachings

There are secrets hidden everywhere.

What I now understand is that my gift for selecting the exquisite, should no longer be put out to wast and instead be utilised for alleviating the suffering of the soul and elevating the spirits just as many a public art gallery was designed to do. It was having a conversation with two people who were rather confused by my academic and somewhat redundant position that persuaded me to re-evaluate my stance, of which I am very pleased. I still retain the right to use my random weekly photographs to illustrate this blog …..