Artist: James Golaszewski
Title: Wherever the Wind May Blow
Size: 30"h x 16"w
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Wherever the Wind May Blow
The self-help gurus tell us that the secret to happiness is that we should enjoy each moment as it comes, and be “fully present” in each moment. However, from a very young age, we are told that we need to plan our lives, to map out our future so we can lay the groundwork for future accomplishment and security. We are encouraged to make preparations, go to college, save money, eat healthy, anticipate problems and plan solutions – to be constantly thinking about how what I am doing today will affect tomorrow.
It would be irresponsible not to plan to some extent, but this way of thinking trains us to think of each moment as a stepping-stone to what comes next, rather than as something wonderful all by itself. We rush through time and space instead of existing within each moment.
I am not saying that life planning is bad, I am saying that we need to be aware that the planning mind-set does two things that make “living in the moment” difficult. First, it creates the illusion that we are in control of the future, thinking we can manipulate today to guarantee a better tomorrow. Secondly, it moves our focus from the here and now to a point in the future that moves as we move, so the “future” is always the “future” and never “today”.
What, you may ask does this have to do with a painting of a hot air balloon? I used a hot air balloon to express these thoughts because hot air balloons are more about the ride than they are about the destination. Balloon pilots navigate by changing altitude to access wind currents going different speeds and in different directions. The pilots have no illusions, however. They have to choose a destination that lies in the direction the wind is blowing, and they have to be content going the speed nature has set. Deep down inside, though, they have resigned themselves to the fact that they really have very little control over where their trip will end.
The message is not that we should drift aimlessly; rather it is that you should listen to your gut, go with the flow, and not struggle against nature. Like the balloon pilot, we have some limited control over the direction our lives will take, but we have to work within a larger framework over which we have no control. Coming to peace with that truth has made me much more content with the realization that Life will bring what Life will bring, and we need to relax and enjoy the ride, “Wherever the Wind May Blow”.
© 2013 James Golaszewski