Your Art, Your Life:
A painter or gardener can often be heard to say, “I have to paint.” “I have to get my hands in the dirt.” There is something they “have to” express like a hiker needs a mountain, like an engineering mind needs a puzzle, like a lover need to love.
In so doing they create and their medium becomes a-something. A painting. A raspberry. A building. A relationship. A business. An engine. A better version of themselves.
Regardless of where you land on the spectrum of how you relate to it, something flows through us animating us. We are all mediums of translation for this life force.
“I think everything in life is art. What you do.
How you dress. The way you love someone,
and how you talk. Your smile and your
personality. What you believe in, and all your
dreams. The way you drink your tea. How
you decorate your home. Or party. Your
grocery list. The food you make. How your
writing looks. And the way you feel.
Life is art “
-Helena Bonham Carter, Actress
Individuality sometimes receives a bad rap, in consciousness circles just as much as where society seeks to standardize thinking. At times the recipient of tribal shame, isolation or rejection, individuality is often confused or muddled with selfishness, egotism, rudeness, having something to prove, exclusion, interfering with unity, or not supporting the needs of others.
Individuality is actually the opposite of that. It requires a healthy sense of self, a great love. And a healthy sense of self is the antithesis of the above characteristics. It is also one of the most challenging and valuable endeavors you will embark on.
Bullies and the like are not made of individuals. Oneness isn’t born out of uniformity. It’s born of the extraordinary, (what is unique about you), each one discovering their own gifts, knowing their own heart and mind, and living it. Loving it. As such, the body of humanity learns to function at its best.
I love systems. We each have systems for many things in life from the way we make the bed to the way we prune a tree. Even consistent randomness is its own sort of structure. Systems are not always kind to the individual, however, if they have no way to integrate varied ways of thinking and expressing.
Group systems can be based on uniform thinking, hierarchy, categorization, and following a protocol, all of which have their usefulness. But the greatest painting isn’t made with paint by numbers. It’s made organically by inspiration moving through a human being with a brush, a canvas, and paints; with an idea of where they’re headed and the courage to go there.
Our linear minds must often be reminded of Einstein’s adage, that imagination is greater than knowledge. That intuition is the gift and the rational mind the servant.
“Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you,
There is no “I” in team. What you should tell them is,
‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.
~ George Carlin, Comedian
Your individuality isn’t diminished the more conscious you become, it is enhanced, and you ought to be prepared for that. You may surprise yourself with what emerges as you, as the energetic baggage you’ve accumulated ceases to exist, as you open doors of potentiality, and who shows up as your tribe to join you in this incredible life.
This is much of “the work” of intentionally advancing your consciousness, of becoming one within. It’s learning to live from the light at your core as the shadows you lived before to cope or to succeed fall away like the petals of a rose. It is getting used to what it feels like, the choices you make, the way you love, the ideas you have. It is integrating and allowing your emerging latent abilities, once hidden in the shadows, your enthusiasm, peacefulness, and what actually matters to you. It is the discovery of how deeply you feel love, how creative you feel as the artist of your own life.
Likewise, the more of an individual you are, born out of this light, the healthier your ego becomes trusting you with expression. And the less you need to prove or push, because there isn’t a competition for being you. This becomes more a felt sense than a mental conclusion.
Individuality can certainly require the courage (heart) to stand alone. It may bring you to your darkest moments, but it will also bring you to your greatest light, where you have the opportunity to meet more souls like yourself. It is important to see your individuality for its true value, to make way for others who are invested to discover the best in themselves as well. Each of our lights are for ourselves and for each other.
Like Helena Bonham Carter’s quote eludes to above, the artist and their medium are one in the same. When you see all of life as art, you can fall in love with the nuances of the way a person moves as much as their intellect, values or kindness. The so-called little things touch you. I loved the rhythm and sound of the way my dad sharpened a knife or polished his shoes, the inflection in my friend’s voice as she humorously mimics her mother, the way a loved one greets me on the phone.
Individualism is rather like innocence:
there must be something unconscious about it.
~ Louis Kronenberger
And then there is the irony, that the more of your individuality emerges out of love for who you actually are, there is an innocence that goes with it, an unconscious way of being you. That innocence is art, mastery. Art that is a beacon for great hearts to join you along your extraordinary way.
Here’s to more of You in this world,