A 6 month old baby focuses on something interesting or colorful and reaches out to grab it, examine it, and taste it. In months and years to come he will enjoy the repetition of favorite bedtime stories until he can anticipate every word, the Fresh Beat Band on television where he can sing and dance along relentlessly and daily, fly 20 times down the same slide at the playground and be comforted by nightly bedtime rituals. Gleaning from a predictable stability plus the details of life he’s experienced so far, he will create imaginary adventures, imbue toys with personalities, invent games and costumes and create thousands of neural pathways. The more details in his life he encounters, the richer his creativity and a crystal ball could foretell that he is fortified to make a great contribution to mankind through the entertainment industry, technological discoveries, medical miracles, virtually anything. And all that would be traced back to his attention and exposure to delectable  details.

Ellie has sensitive skin!
Ellie has sensitive skin!

The blur of unconsciously racing through life to the onslaught of endless outcomes cheats one out of the little wows of discovery. We all agree that time is charging toward us like a bullet train in a tunnel. But we have the key to slow life down, even just a smidge, by noticing. By appreciating. Otherwise it’s Fast Arrow, Faster Arrow  = Done.  Turn in your keys and your I.D. and your life on Earth is completed. And your quality of life suffered significantly.

Or

Take a second + notice + discover + curiosity is ignited + increased involvement = Creativity = Satisfaction and eager for more = Real-ization of a longer (your perception) and fascinating life. You also, by the way, kept your brain lubricated with your inquisitive and pleasant neuronal synapses!  You just won the game. No ‘must be nice’ resentment coming from you because you squeezed all the juice out of your time here.

Camel Milk Ice Cream?
Camel Milk Ice Cream?

 

New Guinea Pidgin!
New Guinea Pidgin!

 
Before I started painting, I would look through artist’s books and instruction manuals and pore over their methods. It was puzzling but inspirational. When I picked up my first pencil in a drawing class and ‘negative space’ was described to me, I was mesmerized to begin to ‘see’ a tree take shape around those open spaces between the branches. The longer you look at art, your own or someone else’s, questions are sparked. What mediums were used, who the artist was and what their back story was. You are drilling into another world inhabited by the artist’s mind and emotions, and his world at the time. The story of Van Gogh, the tortured genius who cut off his own ear may indeed be different. It’s now claimed that his best friend, Paul Gauguin cut it off (accidentally) with his sword after the two had a spat! That self portrait is now valued at more than $70 million and no doubt is because of the strange details surrounding that crazy situation.

The Joy of Becoming
The Joy of Becoming

 

Delectable Detail
Delectable Detail

 
We open Spotify or Pandora and halfway listen to a playlist and rarely think of the backstory of the composer. When I am in Aspen, I love going to the rehearsals on Sunday morning even more than the evening’s concert.  A couple summers ago The Aspen Festival Orchestra was rehearsing Beethoven’s 9th.  The conductor would ask for a segment to be played and then would stop the orchestra giving them instructions to do the piece differently. I had an epiphany. The interpretation of the symbols on a piece of paper was a determining factor in what I was hearing and experiencing emotionally! But how did that conductor arrive at those decisions to play softer or louder or faster or slower, when to have the violin section be dominant or to punctuate with more percussion?  I asked this question of Gustav Romero who was playing a summer of Mozart at The Atheneaum in La Jolla. I should have expected his answer. He had studied Mozart and what was going on in his life at the time various pieces were composed. So the music was made richer by the conductor, the orchestra members and for me in the front row seat. Delectable details. Here’s what the venerable Robert Thurman said: ‘Real happiness is reliable. It doesn’t depend on circumstances but arises from a direct experiencing of reality–from awareness of what is happening here and now.’

Heres’ the thing to remember in all this: which stream of details do you want to paddle in? A provocative art exhibit? A stroll through a flower garden? A beautifully written novel? A concert that moves you emotionally? (Thanks Jason Mraz!)

Or

Current events, political debates, Entertainment Tonite, Judge Judy, neighborhood gossip.  There is a momentum to everything. Positive thoughts = upward spiral and good gets better. Here are my happy thoughts for now:

  • I have a fig tree loaded with white figs! What I don’t use to make into Fig Jam is food for hummingbirds! Thanks Gail Bryan for your recipe!
  • Jolie’s recent blogpost. Can you imagine how happy I am?
  • A new painting I started! Discovered the medium black oil! Thanks Shay.
  • A new book I’m writing including my art. Stay tuned!
  • The Bushman that I carried back from Botswana now is made into a lamp!
  • The Star Spangled Banner that drifts up the hill from North Island Naval Base every morning at 8 am.
  • Going to the gym and enjoying ‘intentional athleticism’ with Franz!

I just have to know, what amazing details send you over the moon? Please let me know in the comments below!! This would be fun for all of us to borrow from one another!

Sending you love in all the detail you can imagine!