My favorite definition of art has long been from Robert Filliou ”art is what makes life more interesting than art” and it feels even wiser and more apt as I've gotten older. Art is about inspiring thought, connections and ideas in real life. It is about noticing and allowing for resonance. Taking time and savouring what you find.
Having previously been an underemployed illustrator, many of my days allowed space for this. Now that my time is filled with work and a small child, I am all the more precious about maintaining an artistic openness and curiosity. Now that I am without hours of studio time, I let myself notice that pausing, looking, and appreciating can be enough. It sounds a bit like mindfulness, perhaps. But either way, when you have elements of your life that open up for beauty and surprise, it feels important to push yourself to delve into them.
Most evenings my husband and I take a walk with our toddler in a sling. We live around a lot of amazing trees and the light in Stockholm can be really dramatic. We go out at different times as the seasons pass to catch the most beautiful evening light and we steer our walk by the sunset and falling light. Now that it gets dark early we walk where the street lamps and lit windows are the most appealing. We talk about all sorts of things but I admittedly talk about the light and trees a fair bit. It feels so vital to me, that we all stop together and just explore our environment. We are really aware that this is the first autumn that our son can pay attention and we gather all sorts of things; leaves, sticks and rocks as we go. Mostly he barely touches them before he drops them on the ground but the ritual feels worthwhile. He keeps eagerly pointing out all kinds of things that he sees and wants. It feels like a perfect circumstance of savoring the moment.
I've always had a fear of being one of those people you hear in films saying ”What happened to the last 10 years of my life?” It seemed to me singularly terrifying to be so checked out of your life that you let great swathes of it pass seemingly without pleasure, emotion, or agency. In my defense against this mindlessness and stress, I want to know that every day, at least for a few minutes, I was paying attention to where I was and what I was doing. I want to know that (almost) every day, I paused.
Do you have a version of savoring? Do you have small rituals to mark the passage of time or remind you to pay attention? Please share!
Photos by Sophia.