I love what she is doing, and the fact that she is writing about it, because here is a woman serious about crafting and creating her own life! The challenge is simple enough, I suppose, and at times rather silly, maybe…never the less, to look at what we do every day, and what we take for granted, and to work that up into a new way of seeing one’s own life – well, that is serious, and seriously inspiring stuff. Love you, SuperArtGirl, and keep doing what you’re doing 🙂
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
My friend SuperArtGirl wants more excitement in her life, and this makes me wonder, do most of us think this way? We love our comfort and our routines, and then we complain that life lacks a little spice. How about you, my imaginary friend? As for me, I have a folder in my laptop called Zesty And Interesting Things – I look at it often, and troll around the internet occasionally just to look for these things. Truth be told, I am an incurable Pollyanna and I firmly believe that the most exciting things aren’t really things or events, but the wonder and curiousity of looking at the world and ourselves in different ways. The question is, maybe, how do we switch our perspectives, our familiar lenses and ways in which we view the world? Here I offer up an extremely silly challenge. Your mission, should you accept it, is to explore these ideas and experiences…now, we shall not quibble about how you experience them. Read on.
Day one: Eat something you’ve never eaten before.
Day two: Play like a child all day. Oh, you have to work? Make your work play…
Day three: Pick an experience you’ve never had, and would like to have, and spend a day planning how you could get to do it. What does it feel like?
Day four: Be a cowboy for a day.
Day five: Make your morning routine totally different. I am not suggesting you skip brushing your teeth, just mix it up.
Day 6: Play some music you’ve never heard before for at least one hour.
Day seven: Talk to a stranger.
Day eight: Go to a place you’ve never been before, where you live.
Day nine: Make your favourite food, and immerse yourself in the experience of eating it with no distractions – TV, phone, book. Wine and conversation allowed.
Day ten: Find a piece of art you’ve never seen before, and like. Why do you like it?
Day eleven: Wear only warm, soft, comfortable clothes and be conscious of how they feel.
Day twelve: Read something, anything, you’d not normally be interested in.
Day thirteen: Find out something about someone you know that you didn’t know before.
Day fourteen: Write a poem.
Day fifteen: Sing a song. What is the song?
Day sixteen: Tell someone you love them, and why.
Day seventeen: Play with an animal. Cute cat videos are okay, too.
Day eighteen: Wear a pair of wings today. Use your imagination!
Day nineteen: Today, you can be whatever you want and do whatever you like. Yes, you can.
Day twenty: Do some finger painting. Colouring also acceptable.
Day twenty-one: Wear unmatched socks. Does anybody care?
Day twenty-two: After unmatched sock day, we do hats. Wear a hat, any hat. Do you feel different?
Day twenty-three: What is the secret thing you’ve always wanted? Tell someone about this.
Day twenty-four: Get up really early, just because. How is it?
Day twenty-five: Be a cowboy for a day. Yes, you must do this again. It’s important!
Day twenty-six: Today, you shall be a hero. Just do it.
Day twenty seven: Stay up late. Naps allowed to prepare…look at the stars.
Day twenty-eight: What is the silliest thing you can think of doing? Do it. Yes.
Day twenty-nine: Today is a day off. Enjoy. Are you excited?
Day thirty: Today, you can be whatever you want and do whatever you like…and every day. And everyday can be different!
Well, is this really an excitement challenge? asks my imaginary friend. I think it is, in ways that are hard to get one’s head around, maybe. If you were to ask me what the most exciting things are in the world, I would say this: the cry of a newborn baby. The silvery moon shining a path over a calm sea. The endless stars that dance overhead, and suggest limitless possibilities for life and realms beyond…the look of a lover. The joy of dance, and the poetry of snowy mornings, and the cosiness of a fire. Friends whose faces light up when they see you, and animals that teach us how to be more fully alive, and warm, sandy beaches to curl your toes in. Mountain mornings, and meadows to run through, and food shared in loving company…oh, I’ve only just begun, but know this: the most exciting things in the world require eyes to be open to see them, and minds that are alive to possibilities, and hearts that are open.
Much love and gratitude to SuperArtGirl, whose whimsy inspires my life in ways beyond words. Always, she helps me see with new eyes, opens my heart, shows me that the detours on the path are the most interesting places…and she draws awesome cowboys. (That is another story.) I do know that the most exciting people have hearts three sizes too big. You’ve helped mine grow a size …Thank you.
Update: SuperArtGirl is blogging about the challenge here, and it is a fun read!
She gazes out the window at the long stretch of sandy beach – luscious even in the rain – and wonders where he is. She wonders, too, at how he has won her heart, for she knows she gives herself to him…Oh, not in the archaic notion of woman gives herself to man, rather, in the most beautiful sense of all: to be open to another human being in every way possible.
She knows, in some unfathomable way, that these are merely the opening chords of the cosmic symphony of love. The quick and bright notes that form the first movement: shared laughter. Lying in soft, musty hay in an old barn. Watching how he sits his horse, and moves with the animal. How he looks at her, and how he speaks to her. Late nights and early dawns and rainy days of adventures. Want and desire…
The second movement is slower, more at ease – dinners at home. Movies and popcorn, and storm-watching from the warmth of inside and the warmth of together. Long, lazy breakfasts. Work that takes them apart, and the fierce joy of coming home to him. Coming home – oh, such joy!
Always, there is play, and humour and warmth are the theme of the third movement. He can move her to tears, but more often she is laughing out loud. His presence never fails to fill her with the wonder and grace of it all…And he plays like a boy, and she, like a girl.
The fourth movement is vivacious: full of the love of life and each other. It is not an ending, for the echoes of this symphony will reverberate in quiet meadows, and in lush canyons of the tallest mountains. Some faint sound shall emanate from the stars to bear witness to this earthly love: in all the quiet, beautiful places they have shared some fragment of the music shall soar briefly aloft in memory.
This is for you, cowboy. I send you kisses, and this, my prose version of the symphony of love we shall play together.
I dream. I pause, suspended, almost. Winter settles in, and the chill days evoke a need to snuggle deeper into that duvet…to think, to nurture myself, to find that centre of calm that the season evokes.
The calmness is all on the surface, in nature, for the work of winter is busy laying the seeds of spring…trees and shrubs and plants assimilate minerals and carry on all manner of preparation for the time of lush growth. I do believe, my imaginary friend, that we humans ought do something of the same. To incubate the hopes and ideas for the coming year, to swirl and sift the possibilities and imaginings, to let the dreams sharpen their focus and become the shape of the life we wish.
Perhaps the “New Year’s Resolution” is the metaphor our culture offers up, though it seems to fall short of the true thing: to change (to grow) is not the action that follows a decision but the thoughts and mindful musings and serious questioning that lead to the decision…The beautiful month of January – which name derives from the two-faced god, Janus, who is both looking forward and looking back – is a threshold month, indeed.
Yes, I shall snuggle deeper into that warm nest of bed. I have big, bold dreams and I shall take the time to limn the outlines a little more cleanly and clearly, I think. Out of the vast trackless sea of shimmering possibilities rises a star…A guiding star. A centering star. A star to light my wandering path. Oh, and I begin to see the possibilities of where it leads…
May you light up your possibilities in the coming year, my friends.