I have encountered a lot of lifestyle ‘tips’ lately, reaching from one deep end to the enlightening other, peaking at – let’s say – which way to have your coffee (most popular: not to have it at all!). For some reason, I have not encountered much of admitting, it does not really matter what you add or what you remove from your life. Your life itself is a really subjective thing! It is not even a thing, it is just Life. Like all the life around!
So why do people care so much about habits? Behaviour should be working for the purpose. But there is no purpose, the talk is all about habits. If the purpose is strong enough, wouldn’t the habits find their correct way to exist or not to exist themselves – intuitively, that is practically ‘automatically’?
So, I found it necessary to add a little bit of different view on life, that seems to be much too forgotten. Just a few decades ago, when people were not messed up by too much information, it was easy to understand the first basic concept I am going to write about, this one and utmost important skill:
1. Managing the Passage of Time
Managing the passage of time means simply understanding, that when you are following your truest calling, your mission, the time is irrelevant. You do what you have to do: now. What is important for you, you will find time for it. When I am painting, the time is gone. I am inside the painting. When I need to write a poem that makes me wake up at 3 am, I leave the warm bed. At every moment of life, living from the heart is the only way not missing love. It is the way of the fearless.
2. Understanding the Flow of Seasons
Accept that there is a force working through you that you may not be able to direct. As the seasons change, the director of the play has to consider the bigger picture. If something is not working out fine, change the situation OR the way you think about it. Sometimes you have to wait, but you can appreciate both the blossoms and the fruit and specially when there is nothing yet to be seen: it is the highest manifestation of what can be, and you already know it.
3. Seeing the Thing behind the Name
Artists create artworks that have soul. We are travelling around that soul to be brought out like the Earth is travelling around the Sun. First is the immaterial thought, then the physicality. For the money-oriented people, all is different businesses for the same outcome of how much you can earn, so you can spend. You spend it on a Louis Vuitton, not understanding that what you are paying €€€€(€) for, is a pair of trousers. Then, you want another, better pair of trousers. Endless circle that is fed not by greed, but the growing hole in people’s soul of not knowing what to fill the hole with! Labels are well-marketed to start with.
Artworks are often numbered. Many don’t have titles. Some don’t even have names of the authors. That doesn’t change what they consist of. Often, it is not what is pictured on the painting, but the energy, memory or a dream that it is containing. This beauty of passion is contagious. Artists, true to their nature, are disappointed for their works to be taken as products. There are many reasons for that, but mostly, one must understand that a person can create something magnificent in a short period of time, but for the time to arrive, (s)he has to have affairs in order: the artist is ‘at work’ 24/7, all life, gathering inspiration, studying the techniques, communicating with muses & coaches, so life can be thoroughly an expansion of energy – all that which will be shown and shared. Shown and shared with everybody for free at exhibitions.
4. Earning to do the (Light)Work
Most of humans are working, so they can afford different things and services. We, artists, are working so we can create more beauty, maybe even beautiful pain, but we absolutely need to have it on the table. There are no Sundays. We breath to ‘work’, work is the first condition – it is what we pay with for being alive. The precious few who appreciate art and can afford to own it (if you have an iPhone, you can own it) are the ones who allow us to continue earning, so we can work.
5. Appreciating the Need for Connection
…with understanding that connection can be achieved in solitude. We need both others’ eyes and our own, but sometimes, we need to communicate in terms hard to understand for others as usual glitter might not satisfy us. To be back at point nr 1: rare opportunity travels must sometimes be said ‘no’ to, birthday parties left unattended, promises be broken. An Estonian author said ‘no’ to a trip to USA during the time of Soviet Union when nobody could travel anywhere because of the Iron Curtain. But his book was not finished. That is the cost of an artwork that comes out at a time only itself can choose. Giving birth is like that.
6. Accepting the Brightness and Darkness Within
We, artists are not better persons. As Sadhguru nicely put it, the first requirement to get to heaven, is to become dead. We just have a mission and our priorities are in service of purpose. In a spiritual world, or in poor conditions, it would be utmost ignorant to speak badly about a bread because of gluten or avoid yoghurt because of dairy. Become more than your perceiving of your physical body is. Be grateful. Appreciate. Do things for better tomorrow, do not think about yourself only. I don’t think it really makes you a better nor a happier person to focus your attention on your preferations. Shift your understanding of life to a greater scale to feel one with all there is. (A parallel to the previous foodie example would be about scenery. There is not only downtown in a city, there might be other parts, more rural or violent areas. Discover them. The knowledge of experience gives you freedom.)
7. Don’t take Gurus for Granted
It is not reasonable to follow the know-all people. Nobody knows everything. Nobody is in charge of you nor knows better than you do for yourself. Most of the people who say so are willing to get paid to help you become a better version of yourself The Way They See It. Why should you become that? If you can ask a question about something that is going on in your life, there is an answer right inside you. Let your gut not applaud to something your mind likes to read. If the yogi has a sad face, he is not someone to be copied! If a child of 2-years is happier, there is something to learn. All our existence should be in service of our happiness. Otherwise it is not worth it.
8. Inside is the First Emperor
The ‘doing’ here really is an ‘inside job’. Your surrounding has a great effect on you, that is true. But the best of us can write perfectly balanced poetry on NY streets. They have a focus of that kind. That is attainable. You just need practice. You will train your mind if you have the will in your soul. It is time to put out the light above mirrors and start shining the light from within. There is no other way to achieve the goal of life that is living the life to become one with, not focusing on yourself separately from it.
9. Finding Ways not Excuses
I have a 1,5yo son on my lap, I’ve been writing this article since very morning. After every 5 minutes, he does or wants something, and I am getting it for him. I stop, but I start again. I continue until I am finished. Finding ways not excuses is the reason many of things are the way they are. If an artist doesn’t have blue, he uses green. Picasso did it. If the expensive, perfect materials are not available, we use some crap. But we make something out of it. We don’t stay complaining about the missing pieces (also in ourselves, and that leads to the next paragraph).
10. Not taking Yourself too Seriously
Artists create, but we are not the rulers of the world. Nobody is. If and when you are gone, the world will go perfectly on with or without you and your (art)work. Accept it now to have the freedom you’ve always desired. Live with less, plant for more: you’ll have more life inside that blossoms right when the weather is ready. Staying funny, bringing joy like a balloon, using what we have, painting ourselves empty to make room for new – I think that’s what has kept us alive. Space. It is only acceptance of the lack of form symbolised boundaries that leads us to –
11. Thinking Outside of Survival Mode
At all circumstances, this does not make sense, because this is exactly the group of people (artists) who has less, but it is the fundamental principle of happiness. According to general thought, artists are the ones worrying how to pay the rent and buy food, and it is often true, but the thing is, we have more important things to keep in our minds! We are living on a high speed globe that humans are not developed to function at, mental clarity is questionable for many. Food and sex should not be problems, but this is what many are thinking and writing about.
It is time to get out of survival mode into a more imaginative being. How to do that? Welcome to the world of art. After you have stepped in, you would be sad like a child with pieces of a broken balloon if and when you should leave. Make yourself at home in a world without limits.
Liis Koger. Slow Fall From Secret Town. 2016, oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm