“You make observations every day, and without much thought you use what you have learned to define who you are. What are you looking at? What are you drawn to? What do these things say about who you are? ….Find your journal heroes…. Incorporate your heroes into your journey.”
That’s a quote from an art journaling book I have called Journal Fodder 365: Daily Doses of Inspiration for the Art Addict by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler. I’m not sure which one said it, but he’s absolutely right on. And it’s not exclusive to art journaling, it is true for every area of life.
Yesterday as I worked on a creative project, I considered my word for the day (adapt), and last night I wrote a short post about how it’s defined by Webster. I also began to explore it a little, about how it means change, how it’s an action. This quote from Journal Fodder continues along the same path; one of the ways we adapt (change our behavior to make life easier in any given moment) is thru observation. Which leads to the question “What are you looking at?”
Now, this could go in any one of several directions – are you watching movies you shouldn’t be? Do you secretly visit websites that have images you shouldn’t be committing to memory? I could go on and on about these things, but that’s not the path I want to take today. Instead, I’m more interested in the every day. Who are the people and where are the places you find yourself coming back to over and over? What images, shapes, symbols, words – what movies, colors, books, clothes – in what things do you find comfort? What are you looking at? That’s the first step. Make a list – mentally, or written down somewhere.
The next step is to consider what these things say about who you are. How do you use them? In what ways have you incorporated them into your daily routines? Why are they significant? How have you used them, continue to use them, to adapt? Be specific. Think about how what you see influences who you are in both positive and negative ways.
On a side note, I would challenge you to especially consider some of the negatives and ask yourself if you really need to change those things, or if that negative aspect somehow makes you a better person. Is that even possible? Might be an interesting discussion to have with yourself.
Something else I mentioned yesterday that relates to this idea of observations is that you adapt by changing your behavior when you enter an unfamiliar situation. This is true; however, it’s not the only truth. If you want to be precise, we adapt every waking minute of every day (and possibly while we’re asleep, but I won’t go there, it will just confuse the issue), because we move from one place to another, other people come and go, the weather changes….time passes and we aren’t idle.
So take this idea of constant, continuous adaptation and overlay it with our observations defining who we are. If you let yourself think about this for more than a few seconds you’ll begin to realize the absolutely infinite depth and scope of what I’m talking about. Go ahead. Right now, take a few minutes, consider….
Ok, now come back. Awesome, yes? Truly awe-inspiring how incredible our lives are, how interwoven each moment and experience and our senses were created to be; it’s breath-taking and beautiful. It’s humbling and heart-wrenching, and near impossible to completely comprehend.
And it can suck you in and take over your life, so don’t allow yourself too much time to ponder these things. Just a bit. And then – here’s the key, my friends – do something about it! Use what you learned, discovered, realized, to adapt. Take action, change your behavior, redefine yourself. Grow.