Our Faiblesse

Photo of 3 bronze sculptures of one-quarter life-size partial female figures with interior structures by Blake Ward Blake Sculpture

Happiness has little to do with external factors.

The Buddhists follow mindfulness, cultivating “the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.” [1]

Lost in the confusion of our present or the fears regarding the future….Hmmm, this is sounding somewhat familiar!

Artists, have a tendency of being extra sensitive, often self-centered and slightly insecure.

We might wake up one day thinking we are the last coca cola in the desert, while on other days our existential anxiety is at the helm of this potentially sinking ship!

We compare our work and even ourselves with others, and in doing so, obliterate the moment and throw away precious moments of our lives. [2]

Couldn’t we just get over it?

Accept and embrace our strengths and our beautiful weaknesses?

Blake calls them our ‘faiblesses’ and if you look carefully at the sculptures of the Spirit collection, you will most certainly find a faiblesse or two.

We find them as we create the work; we highlight them and in an effort to heal, we treasure them.

While there is no such thing as perfection and no fool-proof recipe for happiness (and believe me, fool-proof it would have to be!) I wonder what would happen if we made a list of words that might trigger something deep within.

Like Richard Serra and his list of verbs that ultimately led him to find his voice.

Here’s a list: Love, Happiness, Inclusiveness, Compassion, Kindness, Empathy, Gratitude, Sincerity, Optimism, Intelligence, Understanding, Sharing, Ethics, Learning, Thinking, Protection, Safety, Integrity, Transformation, Generosity, Commitment, Listening, Awareness, Confidence, Joy, Hope, Reconciliation, Peace, Cooperation.

As Maria Popova said in her commencement speech:

“Whatever your specific vocation, your role as a creator of culture will be to help people discern what matters in the world and why by steering them away from the meaningless and toward the meaningful. E.B. White said that the role of the writer is to lift people up, not to lower them down, and I believe that’s the role of every journalist and artist and creator of culture.” [3]

She also warns against caring about pagelikes and retweets. “They can’t tell you how much your work counts for and to whom. They can’t tell you who you are and what you’re worth. They are that demoralizing electric bike that makes you feel if only you could pedal faster — if only you could get more pageviews and likes and retweets — you’d be worthier of your own life.” [4]

Pedal along with us, at your own pace.

You might even decide to chant the word list to yourself as you go.

Honest, we won’t tell anyone!

Written by Boky Hackel