Comfort Zone

  Underwater pebble 
  Originally uploaded by tygress_janie

My Dad and I had the best conversation last week and I wanted to blog it. I was worried that I would not be able to convey the inspiration, wonder and truth that we felt.

When I read Inspire Me Thursday's topic was comfort zones though I had to share. Dad and I had started out in agreement that it is important to step out of your comfort zone. Then my Dad realised that in fact at this stage in his life he is more reclusive, mainly spending his days at the house on the hill with his wife and kids (the ones that still live at home). He is as open-minded and expansive thinking as ever, and more contented than ever too. We considered that it, like so much, it a thing of cycles. During part of our life we gather experiences and get to know ourselves by expanding ourselves, our minds, our comfort zones and then when we reach a certain point, we can withdraw from the search and still be expanding our souls.

Imagine that we are like a pebble dropped into a pond. Then imagine we can chose to remain the pebble all our lives, or we can chose to become the energy of the ripple, expanding our reach and horizons. If we stay safe and remain as the pebble, our world is eternally limited and tangible. But, if we become the ripple, we expand ever outwards (during the pursuing phase of life) expanding our comfort zone and knowledge. Then we become still, part of the pond, part of the forest, part of the world and the universe beyond. This is the contemplative part of our life, when withdrawing can be an expansive act.

Given all that, and given that I am still in the pursuing phase, I was interested in the link that Inspire Me Thursday provided to Real Simple's comfort zone worksheet.  It invites you to consider things that you might like to try and I thought I would share my 2008 take on this.

I want to try feltmaking.

I want to see more of London's fantastic selection of exhibitions.

I want to taste, I don't know, maybe tofu. I haven't had it for years and I am cooking more vegetarian recipes these days.

I want to listen to an opera - I really don't know anything about it.

I wanted to visit Beijing, and now I have booked it! So I will add Portland, Oregon.

I want to start walking and hiking again on the weekends.

I want to stop resisting the things that I want in my life.

I want to organise my chores/work/art time.

I want to read Siddartha by Herman Hesse.

I want to play in my art journal.

I wanted to learn Mandarin, and I am.

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Inspire Me Thursday: Blogging

So why do I blog? I had mixed feelings about it for a very long time. I have clear views on the sort of blog I don't want to have. It was a longer path toward knowing what sort of blog I did want. MY husband says he loves my blog because it sounds like me. That to me is success, made clear in this quote from Inspire Me Thursday.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self."
                                    Cyril Connolly

I started a blog primarily because I wanted gallery space that wasn't attached to any particular forum or audience. As I started making entries to fill the space, I enjoyed the feeling of speaking aloud in an empty room. As time wore on, I became more aware of the inner critic, and the potential outer critics. I lost focus and my writing became stilted. I echoed back to childhood diaries, when I had time to write I had nothing to write and when I had things to talk about, there was no time. It is relatively recently that I decided to focus in on my artistic journey, to share and (perhaps) inspire, to create mindfully and to live artfully.

As the writing became more satisfying, more authentically *me*, people were drawn to my little patch of the web and I began to form connections with people that I fully believe I would connect with in person. The blogs I read belong to such people, and to people that I have connected with in real life.

On reflection, yes, a blog is a new form of anonymous listener, the 'dear diary' of now; and yes, a blog is a visual journal, allowing us to blend word, photography, art and typography together in a way that defines and describes us. More than this though, to blog is to engage in a worldwide conversation, where everyone brings the best of their hearts and minds and receive in return an ear and a supporting arm.

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