Noticing, The Meaning of Life
And the essence of being an artist
This piece original appeared as a Reflection on my personal blog here. (Feel free to subscribe to my personal writings, but be aware they are not always, or even mostly about art marketing but are far broader in scope.) Subscribe to Clint’s personal blog.
I stood in the shower, noticing and appreciating the steaming streams of hot water cascading over me, and watching them disappear, down the drain. The water was a metaphor for the events of the day, which also cascade over us in an unrelenting stream and, just as quickly, disappear, never again to be appreciated unless we do the one thing an artist must do: notice.
For the longer I live, and the more I attempt to create, I believe the following is the essence of art, of being an artist: simply to notice. Notice more. Notice beauty. And especially notice what is interesting in small moments that most people miss. What do you notice that most people don't? Every moment presents infinite beauty. Infinite interest. But most of the time, most people miss it all. So, to be an artist, do this: don't miss it all. Notice it. Cultivate awareness. This is what I am attempting to do in my life. Be aware of the beauty in all of the universe's small moments, so that I may somehow, via my writing, my work, my music or somehow, in my own life, reflect that beauty of creation back at the universe in a small way. And in that small way, be part of creation.
For if we don't notice these things, we are not truly experiencing life. And that would be a shame because I have deciphered the meaning of life. Yes, that big question that everyone wants to answer…I have finally realized what that answer is. And it's so simple that children know it, before we teach them to grow up. Do you want to know what it is? Here it is: the meaning of life has no meaning but one - to LIVE.
And if you don't notice, if you don’t truly experience all these small moments, are you LIVING? If you knew you would die tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, would your next lungful be sweeter than any breath you've ever taken before? Yes, you would LIVE. And you have that power right now, to simply fulfill the meaning of your life and LIVE. By noticing.
Even Jesus said as much: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The original Greek word “life” in that sentence is Zoe, which is Greek for a concept of “life” that is something akin to, “the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.” (Not to be confused with, what people picture when they read that sentence, the Greek word Bios, which is where we get the word biology as in biological life). The thief that steals, kills and destroys is this world, which forces you to attend to its demands and not notice. One can have Bios, and be among the walking dead. And indeed most of us exist in this state most of the time. But if you want Zoe, true LIFE, simply notice and LIVE.
So, wanting to LIVE, I stood in the shower, and I noticed the beauty of these streams of water and they were mesmerizing. And they inspired my small creation that stemmed from this one small act of noticing, which you have just read.