the hermit • heart islands • the fool

buddha statue amongst green trees

☙ the hermit

We need to find forums in which we can delve deeper than the often facile exchanges over Twitter, or the sprawling comment threads on a blog , which rarely reach the levels of criticality one can easily achieve in something as simple as an everyday conversation.
– from Designing the Mind by The Standardistas. The Manual – Issue #1

I have been quietly retreating from various parts of the online world. Since January 1st I have deleted over 20 social media and online accounts and I’m still going.

I thought I would miss them a lot more than I do. Instead, I find the spaces I freed up being filled with heart conversations, real life interactions and deepening friendships outside of social media channels. I’m doing more of less things.

☙ heart islands

I was watching a video of Martha Beck speaking at O You 2012 recently. At about the 14 minute mark she starts talking about taking her armour off. Right after that, she shares a story of being at The Tower of London with her son Adam and of him remembering being there in 1658.

Further conversation leads her to ask him the following question: “Did you wear armour?

His answer: “Armour limits my consciousness.

Every single cell in me responded to this. Because all of me knows this to be true.

And I realised that I hadn’t just been in a hermitage phase since the beginning of the year, I’d also been putting my armour back on.

I had felt it a while back when we were having lunch with friends; like I was holding something back… I couldn’t trust them with anything more than light conversation about holidays and dog names – I had been feeling like, if I just turn up as myself, that it wouldn’t be enough. Because I felt like a failure and some part of their story was triggering my failure story to play in my head on repeat.

I woke up after a dream with the words “Heart Islands” reverberating through me, and with this the realisation that I have been keeping things separate: Some of you with others of you; you separate from me; parts of me separate from other parts of myself.

Something shifted once I knew this and it feels like a space has opened up around me that is clearer than ever before.

No story is written alone, not even mine.

☙ the fool

A friend of mine is pouring his visual voice in to a heart project and I know it will be beautiful in a way that is his and only his. He says, in a short note to people who pre-order his book, that “it’s not easy being an artist, but it’s not always any easier being the audience of the artist.” This got me thinking this morning about how being the audience of other artists can be difficult for me – leading me into deep questioning of my own abilities as an artist…

“Who am I doing this for?”

“Will I ever be any good?”

“Is this my vision, or am I trying to mimic someone else?”

“Am I ever going to get to the point where I am willing to take a really big chance on myself and just go for it?”

At a recent creativity workshop I received a very clear message: Back to the beginning

For me, this means back to when being an artist was joyful, playful, without expectations. I took this phrase with me to Japan – taking everything I knew about the world & photography with me, whilst also a feeling of starting again… learning as much as I could… about what it is to be in this world… what it is like to be able to see and converse with people and landscapes.

For me, this also means supporting you in your artistic endeavours without ever feeling like they are threat to my own. Because they really aren’t.

My internal landscapes have altered in nameless ways and my external horizons have shifted. It feels like a beginning.

I have, in some ways, become The Fool: back at the beginning of something and nearing the end of something else, I am of neither and otherwise, betwixt and between.


5 thoughts on “the hermit • heart islands • the fool

  • So much of this I can relate too, although I could never express it this well.
    I love “back to the beginning”… that’s worth holding on too xxx

  • Loved what you said about armour.
    What would it feel like to move about in the world without it?
    Vulnerable… but so freeing.

  • Hey I was wondering if those thoughts belonged to all artists or just me. .. Seems we all think them. That’s a relief. But no easier to handle. I have so many visions of things I’d like to do that all tumble into the room and collide. It becomes difficult to control them. The urge to continue collecting and learning rather than what I used to do – just paint, create, stitch, crotchet, macramé, make wallpaper create music etc. I am thinking I must do something that will incorporate them all in one… Ahh pushing through is hard but the end will be worth it

  • The master knows s/he is never at the end because s/he is always learning and practising mastery more.

    Our world has become shallow and come to think things should be easy and instantaneous (of course sometimes they can be) but thinking they always should be is a mistake.

    Can’t wait till you’re home, hugs!

  • So good to read this and hear you. I’ve slipped backwards a little with the [insert word less-laiden than progress] I’d been making this year but now I’m back and able again to access that stripped down, peaceful place where I really am and am not.
    ‘Holidays and dog names’. Oh sister, that’s me all over. The irony is, that most people who know us can see from a mile away that there is something WAY other going on! It’s only us we’re fooling. It’s only us who isn’t seeing who we really are.
    Love you.

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