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To the age it’s Art. To the art it’s Freedom.

31 Aug

I saw a wonderful quote on the wall of the National Gallery (for the Klimt exhibit) “To the Age its Art. To Art its Freedom”

What a perfect concept of the necessity and meaning of art in life.  Every age must have art, it is part of our identity and the growth of humanity.  We evolve and explore and express ourselves through our creativity.  Even if you do not create, the awareness of creation around you adds to the fullness of the world.  The capacity for and appreciation of creativity gives meaning and purpose to life.

‘To Art it is Freedom’ and we should always allow freedom in art.  Placing restrictions on art is like placing restrictions on science.  If we accepted this censure we would be without Picasso or the Impressionists (and definitely without the Secessionists who inspired this quote!) and we would also be without penicillin and x-rays!

Art (and science for curiosities sake) are an indication of our freedom, they show us that we have the capacity for thought and wonder.  Our freedom and our curiosity allow us to discover more than the universe by her nature would reveal.

So, take an extra few moments to appreciate the art around you every day.  The random sculpture in the park, the poetic phrase in an article, the lyrical chord in a song, the painting hanging on the wall of a waiting room – anything you can find and appreciate, anywhere you can get it.  Art is our expression of life, the proof of our culture and when you notice it in your every day you will feel yourself bigger and lighter and more alive.

Every age has its art. And art recognises in itself our freedom.

          

no regrets

15 Aug

No regrets.

Some days you remember that it is the little things in life that make a difference, be that good or bad is entirely up to you.  Life is just too short, and it always finds its way.  So you can choose how you live it.  You choose how you respond to all the little stories that sweep you up from time to time.  And you choose what life means to you.

So, many years ago, I decided that I had cracked the meaning of life, and that I could sum it up in two words: To Learn.

Sounds simple, right?  And, in fact, in every existential pub conversation I have had about the meaning of life, those two little words always seem to win.

Someone will say: “The meaning of life is to be happy”  to which I can say “You learn to be happy”.  Someone else will say: “The meaning of life is to love” to which I can say “You learn to love”.  Someone else might say: “The meaning of life is to contribute and make the world a better place” and, you guessed it, I can say “You learn how to contribute.”

Every day you learn and hopefully you grow.  You become wiser and fuller.  There are a handful of people who refuse to learn, and life just keeps them going around and around reliving the same lesson until (hopefully) one day it clicks.  So, unless you learn and move forward you stay on repeat.  To truly live you must learn and advance.

This works for me, but as nice as it is to sum up the meaning of life, it is not all there is.  What about when life is over?  Is learning in life really going to seem satisfying in the end..

Whenever it is over I want no regrets.  I don’t want a single undone moment to lament.  I hope to have said and done and tried everything I want to do.

These can be the little moments on any given day.  Saying goodbye when you leave for work, appreciating the flaming colours of the sunset, telling the people you love that you do love them.  It can also be big things.  Adventures and challenges, or trying something new you have never tried before.

So, this is a reminder.  Live life to its fullest every day that you have.  Learn in life wherever you can.  And live with integrity and passion so there will be no regrets, and only valued memories.

I will try to remember this every day, and try, try again.

shuffling the jar of life

25 Jul

Sometimes you realise that your life is full of pebbles.

So, take the opportunity to re-evaluate what is really important in your life.  What are your big rocks?  You control your life, you can choose the priorities it will follow.  Anytime you want to shuffle the jar, focus on your rocks first and the rest will fall into place around them.

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A professor stood before her philosophy class with some items on the desk in front of her.  When the class began, she wordlessly picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks as big as golf balls.  When she could not fit any more rocks in the jar, she asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  She shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks.  She then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  She asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the
sand.  The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The rocks are the important things in your life—your family, your health, your beliefs, your friends and your favourite passions— if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

“The sand is everything else—the small stuff.  If you put the sand into the jar first,” she continued, “then there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

“Play with your children.  Spend time with your parents.  Visit with grandparents.  Take time to get medical check-ups.  Take your partner out to dinner.  There will always be time to clean the house and fix the light.  Take care of the rocks first—the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised their hand and inquired what the beer represented.  The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of drinks with a friend.”