78 and counting…timing is everything

“Lovers don’t finally meet someone; they are in each other all along. Rumi (1207-1273), 13th century Persian poet, mystic and spiritual teacher.

If you are not yet acquainted with the poetry and wisdom of Rumi, the 12th century poet and mystic, I highly recommend that you read some of his writing because it is still, after all these centuries, relevant to our modern lives. You will be surprised at how lovely and graphic his words can be in a world far different than his own. He will teach you what you thought you already knew.

My two previous blog posts have discussed the fun, the adventure and the pitfalls of online matchmaking websites. For those of you who have dived right into that cold water pool, I imagine by now that you are thoroughly soaked and having some crazy fun or you are shivering and can’t wait to jump out and catch your breath. There is no shame in going dormant for awhile as you regroup and sort things out in your mind. It might not be the right time for you.

In life, and in love, timing is everything. In your soul you are aware of exactly what you are searching for. You were born knowing. That knowing percolates to the surface of your consciousness and unfolds as you travel life’s journeys and become more worldly and wise. You begin to know what you are searching for in a life partner…a lover…a friend… a companion…a confidant.

Do not ever close your mind to the possibility of finding that special person. There is always the dream of finding a soul mate, and you might cross paths with several who seem to fit that criteria in your lifetime. People will appear, all shiny and attractive, seeming to understand you and appreciate you and fulfill your wildest dreams as you make your way around this world. But sometimes those people will disappoint you, having merely disguised themselves as the one. It is your mission to uncover the layers of faux perfection and find the reality of the person. Sometimes you can cut to the core truth of that person in a relatively brief amount of time, sometimes finding the core takes a very long time, especially when it is being purposely hidden. Then, if a person is revealed to you as being the wrong person, you learn to more clearly define your search, you appreciate the lessons you learned and you evolve. Your intuition matures.

In life, you might find the right person at the wrong time, or the wrong person at the right time. Either way, it usually does not work out in the long run. Timing is everything. Finding the right person at the right time is rare and oh so wonderful. I only know a handful, a small handful, of people who have had the good fortune of that golden, incandescent experience. Sometimes if the person is right but the timing is wrong, you can make it work by waiting a bit of time to fall completely into love and begin making long-term plans…delaying gratification…altering your plans to make some time adjustments, and then it works.

But persuading yourself into believing you have found the right one, at just the right time, as you trick your intuition and forge ahead anyway, while gradually discovering that it is a doomed relationship, is a whole other thing. Some people can actually maintain the illusion of near perfection for a very long time, when an event or an argument or a career change will uncover a side of that other person you had never seen before. The wrong person reveals the exact profound extent of the wrongness, leaving nothing to the imagination and no room for excuses. Having learned, you must move on. Faking it into a future with the wrong person will not work.

This is precisely why you must give relationships an extended period of time to unfold and reveal what they are really based upon. An excellent matchmaking site is just the beginning of your research. Hopefully after narrowing down the field of possibilities the two of you will begin to meet in person. Face Time calls and emails and hours spent on the phone will not take you to a place of truly knowing a person. The conversational expressions and humor and long eye-to-eye glances are lost in all of those written and vocal types of communication. You must arrive at a place of comfort by meeting each other in person. See that person in 3D. The length of time it takes for that to be arranged differs greatly, especially now in the time of a pandemic. But it can be arranged in a matter of a couple weeks – just suggest it. Sit outside somewhere, distanced from one another, wear a mask but reveal yourself to each other for a few minutes, then cover back up, order a pizza and settle in for the afternoon. Smile at each other with your eyes. Laugh out loud. Drop all pretense and reveal yourself as the person you authentically are. Ask a lot of questions of each other, and answer them because the reason you are there is to begin…the process…the discovery…of what makes the magic happen. Invite the possibility of romance. Be open to knowing. To adventure. See what happens.

Above photos are from an epic trip to Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand

Jo Ann Brown-Scott

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The Second Knowing of Art

photo 3 (3)

Mosaic from the Grand Palace in Bangkok copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott 2014

Rumi, the 12th century scholar and poet, is my favorite source of wisdom – as you know I often include Rumi quotes because his words are ageless; he is relevant even now in the chaotic 21st century. Every single time I browse through my Rumi books I am stunned to find quotes that jump off the pages to me exactly when I need them.

Today as I read his words, in speaking of knowledge and practical education, he says:

There is another kind of tablet, one

already completed and preserved inside of you.

A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness

in the center of the chest. This other intelligence

does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,

and it doesn’t move from outside to inside

through the conduits of learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead

from within you, moving out.

And so it goes with painting. Although the artist might be a realistic plein air artist, a painter of photographic realism, portraits, or even a photographic artist, he or she must always call upon something from inside in order to decide upon and create an image. In abstracted art you must pull from an even deeper place, and you must define your own personal language of art.

Some people do that quite well; others struggle with finding the particular art language that is true to their soul. If you, as an artist, try to speak artistically from a place that is not genuine, I believe your art will be soul-less and uninspired. You can spot art that has no soul – there is a lot of it out there. It is gutless, bland and forgettable.

Rumi also said to me today:

Do you know why your soul-mirror

does not reflect as clearly as it might?

Because rust has begun to cover it.

It needs to be cleaned.

Whatever makes your soul sing, seek that. If you know  the secret of where to go, either deep inside yourself or outside in the real world, and what to look for in gathering mental material for your own artistic soul to become inspired and thrive, you are fortunate indeed. We must all find the source of the food that feeds our creativity.

“This Being Human is a Guest House” – Rumi

 

RedSeaMoon

Mixed media titled RedSeaMoon by Jo Ann Brown-Scott copyright 2014

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some monetary awareness comes, as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

RUMI, 13th Century Poet and Scholar

Sometimes I wonder how I would have managed to paint if the context of my life had been different…if things had been less to my liking in my life, would I somehow have struggled to rise above it and paint anyway? Would I still have been a painter, or maybe even been a better painter, if I had been forced to deal with more obstacles, dysfunction and disorder? Do I have the determination and drive to be a painter no matter what, or must I have all  conditions favorable in order to be my most creative self?

I have painted, actually, through many misfortunes, if I stop to think about it, but I saw them as temporary and surmountable. I consider myself fortunate indeed in that regard. Some would go so far as to say that my life has been hard, and have told me so, but I think it has merely been a life. Everyone has a story – I know of no one who gets off without being beaten down, scarred or broken.

I follow a blog on WordPress written by a lost and lonely fellow who cannot seem to work his way to the safety of dry land but continues to nearly drown in his pool of self pity. I feel very badly for him. I wonder when he will discover that he is the single one person on earth who can pull himself out of that situation and open up his future to a new path? We are all responsible for our own survival. No warriors of happiness are ever going to ride in on horseback and storm the walls to your city, to save the day and bestow happiness upon you. Don’t wait for that to happen. For god’s sake do something now for yourself. Rolling around in the muck, wallowing in it for an eternity is not working for you.

I do not happen to believe, either, that artists must be depressed and lonely, unfulfilled and angry to do profound work and be taken seriously. But I do think that, like actors, adversity can be used as a tool while acting or painting, adding depth to the performance or the composition. Consciously or not, it seems that certainly your particular adversity will work its way into whatever you are creating, whether that be art or music, poetry, pottery, novels, design – because it requires that you dig deeper. So do dig deeper if you are going to milk it for whatever it is worth. And in the digging experience you will find your way through the mess and come out on the other side. The larger problems in life must be dug through – you have to “go in” rather than around. Skirting around only makes the healing a longer and more difficult journey and often leaves you just lost with no destination at all. Learn about yourself in the process and OWN your part – your responsibility – in the adversity. The you will be a better person for it and on your way to a better place.

I believe the life context that has always surrounded me, while fluctuating wildly at times, was always still viewed by me as workable, and that is a big factor in my artistic progress through the decades of my life. My decades have ebbed and flowed with the good, the bad and the ugly – I have not always been gifted with smooth sailing. Some people ask, when shit happens, why me? I always wonder why they thought they were so special. Bad stuff does happen to good people, as the book of a similar title explained. Why would I or anyone else be exempt? But for me, at the base of it all is a bedrock of faith in a world that I have consistently found to be both astounding and bursting with positive potential. I see the glass as more than half full.

Why am I on this subject tonight? I have no idea – well yes I do – I see a lot of friends struggling and I wish I could help. But I will just say that when life brings you those “character building” experiences, then accept the challenge and prove that your character is in fact going to be made stronger from it all…..easier said than done, but workable.