Resisting the numbness

Good art looks natural, flowing and effortless.

A good performer looks authentic on stage – just themselves with the volume turned up, nothing added or taken away.  

A brilliant painter uses brush and paint as if they were extensions of her body.

A truly great poem sounds exactly like the thoughts in your own head and the feelings in your own heart.

Figure skating and ballet look weightless and easy.  That’s why they are heart achingly beautiful, because they make us forget gravity for a while.

We artists need to know that this effortlessness is both lie and truth.

If we expect our art to be easy, to come to us without any struggle, we will give up at the first voice on an inner critic.

A lot of people fail because they think it’s effortless, and when they feel resistance they think they must be doing it wrong.

Resistance is the key, it is the sign you are doing it right.

The signal that you are close to the edge.

That’s where you will find your great art.

Here it is.

Nobody is born with the ability to realise a great work of art.  The potential, yes (we all have that) but the skills and the ability takes work.

Getting things to be effortless takes effort.

I’m not just talking about the practice, although it is that, too.

I’m not just thinking of the training, advice and learning.  That comes into it.

Keeping the channel open is the real work.

Staying alert, aware and awake most of the time.

That’s how the inspiration will find you – when you are awake.

That’s how the motivation for all that practice, learning and dealing with rejection will find you.

Staying awake.  Resisting the numbness that is a side effect of living.

Picasso said it took him his whole life to learn to paint like a child again.

To paint like a child you must learn to see and feel the world with pure innocence when you can also see all it’s wickedness, pettiness and pain.

Art is about truly seeing.

By turning up the resolution on the whole world around you.

Art is about truly expressing.

By turning up the volume of what you put out.

It’s terrifying.

There will be screeching feedback, pops and failed connections.

With your heart wide open you will get hurt.

With your mask off you will experience ridicule and shame.

Resisting the numbness will make you glow with ecstasy and it will take you into the darkest places inside you and the world around you.

Deep down.

High up.

It will never be effortless.

But effort alone will not get you there.

You have to wake up.  Over and over.


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    Resisting the numbness — 2 Comments

    1. This is one of the things I really like about you Jani; you don’t hold back from saying scary stuff. This post is scary stuff. But, scary in the best way. Encouraging, challenging and also in a strange and truthful way very comforting. Thanks 🙂