RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Tag: Control

Letting Go

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 Yesterday, I  set out to paint a small abstract as a loosening up exercise.  The aim was to let go of  anything representational but within minutes of starting I began to see a landscape emerge – trees, a shoreline, however vague and probably not what someone else would have seen at all.  At this point I started to follow the direction I thought the painting was leading me, believing it was supposed to be this way.  As a result, I forced the image to materialise into something vaguely resembling an alpine lake landscape and in so doing, deprived it of it’s true potential as an abstract painting.

We are surrounded by a world full of names, categories, labels, titles and tags.  We love to name – it helps us to locate, formulate and store information.  It helps us to feel in control of an increasingly complex environment.  We have become so adept at this method of ordering, that we do it unconsciously, habitually and whilst it is of great assistance in a technical world it can have the opposite effect when used in situations which need to evolve naturally.

Naming of a person or situation leads to unrealistic expectations – whole scenarios can be played out in our minds which bear little resemblance to reality.  We become disillusioned, angry and blame others for not fulfilling our dreams.  We can never know early on in our work, friendship or relationship what kind of experience we will have together.  If we name a romance too early we demand reciprocation, we force a reward – like fruit grown out of season it lacks longevity  – we deny the relationship the chance to flourish and bear fruit as a natural progression.

By naming too soon we close off possibilities of something finding it’s own level, we reject it’s true potential, it’s own representation and deny ourselves of the gift it may have to offer.  If we can be brave enough to let go of the confining boundaries of naming, then by so doing just maybe we will experiencing something beautiful.

Stove Top Coffee Pot – routinely served and savoured

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  Each morning I now delight in making coffee in my stove top coffee pot, an unexpected gift which has delivered into my life not just fresh coffee but a fresh routine.  In an age where immediate gratification is demanded and not only the coffee is instant, routine has become an unwelcome word, something to be endured which consumes our precious time and keeps us from more engaging activity.

We associate routine with the ordinary, the familiar and commonplace.  We often perceive and experience it as boring and tedious and try to complete such tasks as quickly as possible.  And in busy lives there is a necessity to undertake them speedily, routine is essential for simple survival.  But through the mundane nature of our toils we may discover something of ourselves.  Routine is the practice of a skill which had to be courted and apprenticed, the harvest of which is the application of confident ability that enables our lives to operate like a well oiled machine.  We undertake our task in the hope that it will take us to a place, some anticipated horizon, where our endeavours may be witnessed, acknowledged and the fruit of our labours enjoyed.

But there is another more intrinsic value to routine.  It supports our emotional well being, our need for a reliable framework on which to hang our daily life.  In times of stress we turn to an activity like ‘putting the kettle on’, the familiar routine distracts, comforts and soothes.  When all around is chaos, routine provides us with a sense of control.  Even those lucky enough to be released from the quotidian of formal work will establish new routines, the joy of freedom soon gives way to the need for an habitual guide to stabilize our life.  The polarities of the routine and the extraordinary support each other and both are necessary to balance the scales of well-being.

The next time routine fatigue sets in, remember that it serves us well – it certainly serves exceedingly good coffee!

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