- My definition of art has evolved.
In the not-so-distant past, my limited definition would have included that art is another way to communicate, like a foreign language. It is a way of expressing thoughts and ideas, opinions and emotions, in the form of a painting, a song, a poem or a made object. Words and objects from past civilizations inform us about lifestyles and customs during specific times in history. Greek pottery is a perfect example. Although made for utilitarian purposes, picture-stories were painted across a vase much like picture-stories are splashed across the front of celebrity magazines. Many of the Greek stories were equally as scandalous, I might add!
But more recently I see the “whole of life” as art. Rather than solely producing an art object, I see the culmination of choices we make over the journey of a lifetime as art. It’s about the relationships we make and what we choose to give our life to. The medium for this kind of art is the passion itself. This is conceptual art in its truest sense. Because I have a passion for it, it is art. The world has become my studio for experimentation and my experiences with people are the product. Because my definition of art is expanding in this way, it is getting harder for me to continue to make “things”; harder still to continue to store things after they’re made. Currently I have a small studio in my home filled with a wide assortment of art materials and a garage full of objects and paintings I’ve created, that didn’t sell. The monthly mortgage I pay to store all these things has begun to seem ridiculous. With the money that I currently use to store my objects, I’d rather live with less and travel more.
I’ve learned by participating in yoga at Gaia Yoga, that aparigraha is the Sanksrit word for greedlessness. It means taking what is truly necessary and no more. The word parigraha, its opposite, means reaching out for something and claiming it for oneself. From within this concept of non-possessiveness I understand it to mean limiting my possessions to what is necessary or important. The consuming of materials and the continuing of making objects is becoming less and less important to me and I find that I’m becoming more willing to let things go. For those of you who know me, I’m hosting a HUGE Garage Sale on June 15 and 16. Mark your calendars!
There are some informative and inspirational blogs/people “out there” giving advice on how to minimize (most) Americans, seemingly inbred, trait to be consumers of all things. For example Dave Bruno’s book and blog The 100 Things Challenge will summons you to reconsider the American dream, and instead live a life of simplicity. He asks us to consider creating a more valuable life instead of wasting both time and money on the accumulation of more things.
In his book, Simplify, and on his blog Becoming Minimalist, Joshua Becker gives his readers a list of the benefits of minimalism. He also gives pointers on how to live with less. For starters, go to his links on how to live with less junk mail. Becker’s blog is full of invaluable information on breaking the habit of consumerism. His tagline reads, “ Becoming Minimalist: Cause the best things in life aren’t things.” Amen, Brother Joshua!
In closing, please get a laugh and watch George Carlin’s 1986 classic standup routine about the importance of “stuff”. Let me know about your collection of stuff and what you plan to do with it.