I caught up with a friend of mine at the bar last night. It had been a while since we were really able to sit and talk. I mean, really converse…not just play in idle conversation. I love having conversations with people that don’t involve talking about other people’s lives, and this conversation was about the idea of genius.
It was a curly conversation that spiraled through the topics of yoga and drawing and creative arts and yet the bottom line, the underlying theme was all about process…and patience.
We all have to experience it and understand it to not make ourselves so crazy. Process and patience I mean. There is a process to everything and I think, sometimes that knowledge holds us back from living our dreams. Knowing that we will have to endure something unknown.
My friend H is funny. She is brilliantly creative and intelligent and poignant but underneath it all…really funny.
She was telling me about the process of drawing and how yogic like it is. I had no idea. She said “you first start drawing penises and vaginas and then every drawing is a self-portrait for a while and then after that, you start to see forms; shapes. You don’t look at a cup as just a cup – it has no name – it is now just a form”
It’s interesting to look at something without a name. When you take away a label, you lose the ego of something…the idea of what it is supposed to be and you just see it’s form, it’s essence. I wish we could all do that more with people, particularly those that frustrate us.
And I wish I could see more penises…….did I just say that out loud?….I digress.
But, you want get to the point in your drawing where you can just see a form without the pressure of what it is supposed to be named, where you can just see shapes. Getting to that moment is a process. And with that process, you had to have patience.
Yoga is like that – you do end up looking at a lot of penises and vagina’s in lycra and then, after a while you start to see tree pose and trikonasana…and then you don’t see anything logical at all. You just feel. You become formless, but you become more formed.
My favorite part of our conversation was when H talked about our mothers, or our parent or guardians. When we were teenagers and didn’t understand the process of time. When you’re smaller a minute doesn’t have meaning, time just happens. You don’t know how it happens and that’s frustrating, because you’re at the behest of grown ups and they’re ‘time’. When you’re older, you get to measure time and there is this need to give it so much meaning. Whether too short, or too long. When you’re waiting for something time takes too long – we don’t want the experience of the process, but when we get it – time goes by too quickly.
So, H bought up the topic of parents during our teenage years and when we just couldn’t quite comprehend when they would tell us that things would pass, that they wouldn’t last forever. They are telling us this because they have had to experience it. It’s what makes older people wise. Our parents may not always be the most eloquent, or the coolest, or even have the same life stories as us but they’ll always have the advantage of experiencing time and it’s process. They have experienced more time passing than we, they don’t just get injected with knowledge of this – they have had to live it.
And the idea of genius – back to my original point – we both agreed that it is something that happens from a source in the universe, not something inside of us. It happens ‘through’ us. The ‘inside of us’ part of the genius is our willingness to do the work, go through the process and be patient…then the genius shows up and does it’s work. There is a great TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (of ‘Eat, pray, love fame) that’ talks more about this.
So. I write this on the Eve of 2011. I don’t have resolutions, I try to create some intentions for my coming year but then, I try to do that daily. In the end, I’ll find myself at the end of this coming year thinking how quickly it went by and yet, if I look back I’ll realize that a lot happened.
However you measure time, it’s amazing how much you can really fit in to it. Nothing can happen in a minute, or everything can happen. Ultimately, you get to choose how you measure your life – is it by time, or by experience? Because, if it’s by experience then every moment you’re waiting for an outcome to happen gets to be part of the outcome, in a sense diluting it, so that life doesn’t need to happen in big, sweeping gestures….it just happens. Which is actually what happens anyway.
Tonight I don’t feel like bringing in the New Year like it is some grand, bold chess move of my life. I do measure my life in years, but only for my sanity – to organize my stories – and give some scale to the process.
Happy New Day to you. The process of getting horrendously drunk however, is extremely fun. The outcome of that is not.