"Low Tide" - Mauritius
(The photo I'm using for my current painting)
During my Facebook stalks this week, I read a quote that caught my eye and spoke to my heart. A quote about Peace. Who doesnt love and CRAVE peace? I'm not necessarily talking about World Peace, though this of course is something that each and every person on this amazing planet of ours must truly want...but the peace of the internal kind...peace of mind, peace and quiet, inner peace...a peaceful life. Freedom from anxiety and stress.
I was going to post the quote as the opening photo to this blog, but I can now go one better!
I found the story from which the quote was taken and its a beauty! About peace...and art....and artists!!
The Meaning of Peace
There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ........... perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second picture. Do you know why?
"Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."
- courtesy of Katherine Rowland
Oh, the power in that response. Read it again....S. L. O. W. L. Y.
"Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."
WOW! I'm living this quote right now...as many, many of you will be, no doubt. I've found myself flicking through my diary recently and having to deep breath to calm the feeling of panic that my diary brings me each day. School stuff, art stuff, a birthday,a birthday party, a wedding, a primary school graduation, dance concerts and school concerts, orthodontist and ophthalmologist appointments, dentist and hairdresser, exams for the big girl...a holiday to plan and organise. You name it...my diary has it. Including taking individual photos of 61 twelve-year-old girls for their graduation gift that somehow ended up in my hands! YIKES...ALL of this.... in the next 5 weeks. Then its Christmas. I wont even go there, Christmas deserves a blog post all of its own.
AND... a huge commission due in the midst of this. 1.8m long, Panoramic. My biggest painting to date. (Have a peek at Facebook for this painting's updates!)
Strangely enough this painting is what is giving me peace in the midst of all this busyness. The simple act of loading up a paintbrush with paint and blending it onto the canvas is therapeutic to me. The gentle noise of brush upon canvas is peace. Calming strokes, the mixing of colour, the routine steps of laying out paint, squeezing tubes and even the mind numbing cleaning of brushes allows me a certain calmness and serenity. Especially at 6am, which I have managed twice this week (!!) just to keep on top of things. Oh boy, there is so much serenity in birdsong at 6am. Bliss.
I'm trying so hard to just focus on each day; to just go through the motions of each moment. Mindfulness. Sounding a bit New Age for a Christian? Well, whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist (where this practise stems from) or somewhere in between....being mindfull in the day to day processes, mindful of feelings and sensations, aware of the things around you, finding beauty in your surrounds. It all helps.
To me, my daily walks are a powerful time of focus...step by step, enjoying the sensation of the sun on my face, a gentle breeze, the click of furchilds nails on the pavement, the laugh of the kookaburra, the scent of flowers. Taking notice of all our senses can help to refocus a distracted, busy mind.
So, in the midst of all the 'noise, trouble, hard work'... and busy diary, I'm trying to remain calm...'trying' being the operative word!!