Life On Earth 101

I was never much for school. In the beginning, I was either being outspoken, bullied or hiding away doodling in the back row. I was eventually smart enough to take a minimalist approach and squeak through. I suppose had I applied myself more I could have been the 1st oboist in the LA Philharmonic or the lawyer representing her, but it seemed in order to get there I had to embrace the rules and find some sort of passion in following them, and I could not. I am grateful to the doctors and musicians who do have the discipline to keep their learned and highly educated skills in service to us. Part of me laments my lack of focus, but I trust everyone has a creative path to follow and many of us have trouble colouring within the lines let alone doing it for years or a lifetime.

I have managed to find my own kind of discipline in life, one that is perhaps inherent in each of us. One mightn’t have thought I possessed it had they judged me on my rule following performance. It’s not a calculated discipline I’ve had to remind myself to practice. It’s a gift I gave to me. It’s how I remained afloat. It came through following what made me feel alive, through nature and through creativity. In art we remind ourselves of and interpret the magic we experience here. I have been disciplined in keeping that alive and it has served me well in life.

At first, creativity was a distraction, something that made me late for the party and away in thought. Then, as the world encompassed me more and drove the wonder from the corners of my mind, it was creativity that eventually invited it back. It was creativity that gave me strength and inspiration when nothing else could.

I walked along the stream one morning this week. An artist had stopped on the bridge, sketch pad in hand, capturing the winter scene. In a moment it became mystical and precious.

As much as we’re told to behave and to hold hands and stick together, there is part of each of us that just wants to be that artist standing on the bridge, alone, unaware of the day, capturing the depth of the scene only we can see, as if it were meant just for us.

Learn we must and learn we do. If given the chance we’d probably be ok without school, ok without rules, day-timers, reminders and dues. We’d probably trust each other more and feel less inclined to defend. We’d hold each other to our word. We’d probably share more and care more and in the end we’d even learn more.

Since the rules and the systems we’ve put into place are largely failing us today, perhaps we should wipe the chalk board clean, stand up, dust ourselves off and accept life on earth as the ultimate school. Let’s listen very closely, leave the rules to the universe.


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