gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

how do you like me now?

a couple of weeks ago, i received an email roundly complaining about a blog posting and i felt terrible. i felt discouraged, deflated. it put me right off my morning coffee and toast. a day or two later, however, i got a lovely email highly praising that very same posting and i felt wonderful, even elated. a couple of days ago, i received an email complaining bitterly about my latest blog posting and i felt sorry. i had to add extra sugar to my coffee and slather extra butter on my toast. then, hardly a half-hour later, i received an email praising that posting and i felt marvellous, absolutely marvellous.

it all reminded me of a time in india when i gave a speech in front of about two-hundred-and-fifty people that blew everyone outta the proverbial water. i was especially incredible that day. i was on fire. everyone wanted to shake my hand afterward and i felt so so good. a couple of weeks later, however, i was asked to give another speech and i bombed. i put my foot so far into my mouth i began to choke. people would not look at me afterward. some of my best friends crossed the street to avoid me and i felt so so bad.

somewhere along the line one has to realize that's no way to live. you're not just as good as your last speech or your last blog posting, your last project or even your last interaction. at some point one really has to get off that wheel, but how? here's one simple, down-to-earth, powerful and fool-proof exit strategy:

when you sit down alone, you may not like what you're thinking, feeling, hearing etc, but you know it's gonna change. sometimes when you sit for a while, you'll like what you're thinking, feeling, hearing etc, but you know that's gonna change too. i suggest you simply watch it all. just be the uninvolved observer. don't try to get away from anything you don't like even, within reason, physical pain. don't try to hold on to anything you like. for five, ten or more minutes a day, just be the uninvolved watcher. over time, you will gain an ability to act creatively rather than react blindly to events in your life. there is a huge amount of personal power that comes with just a little freedom.

now you may be thinking: 'wait one cotton-pickin minute. the guy started by telling us how he's up and down like a friggin yoyo, according to whether he's being praised or pilloried. why should i accept this ridiculous, flaky new-age suggestion?' you may be thinking: 'this guy is basically suggesting i do absolutely nothing. he's telling me to just watch? what a total jerk.' if indeed that is your thinking, please keep it to yourself. i do not take criticism well.

1 comment :

  1. Good advice! Particularly for us volatile artists whose life may be predicated on if people like our stuff or don't. We must watch impassively the hugely divergent degrees of public opinion on a painting and paint what we paint because tomorrow we'll paint something different.And so it goes….