To practice is a very interesting English word in the subject of shifting from becoming to being. To my understanding, this verb combines the meaning of two Dutch words, oefenen en praktiseren. Oefenen means to exercise, but is also translated in to practice. Praktiseren is very rarely used in Dutch, but would come closest to to practice.
To me, the word means ‘to learn by doing’ or ‘to learn while doing’. And probably that contains some intrinsic answers to questions that I’m asking.
Some weeks ago I started drawing again. All the other options to drawing were less attractive, so I decided to draw. Only to find out that I’m not satisfied with the outcome. It’s not bad, and I do find pleasure in it, but I find it hard to show it to others, let alone exhibit it. Still, with the knowledge and affirmations of my last text, I did. It’s not amazing. But that is not where practicing is for. I want to get better. Showing it to others is not the goal, but part of the practice.
So I started practicing. Doing online lessons by drawabox.com. Very basic knowledge, and very good to recite, after years of hiding behind a keyboard, mouse and a screen. And surprisingly, a lot of fun to do. I was practicing, and I was enjoying it.
While thinking about this, the following list of thoughts sprung from my ever chattering brain:
- To practice I
needwant to create space. Physically and mentally. A place where I can practice uninterrupted what I want to do.
- The risk is only to write, only to think, only to imagine, and not letting it happen.
- I also
needwant to create a goal towards what I want to practice.
needwant to accept the fears that try to stop it.
needwant to sacrifice the things that keep me from doing it
needwant to involve the things that I want to keep.
- And then I
needwant to act, reflect, adjust and continue.
- And I
havewant to grow some self-confidence.
havewant to get my story straight, so I can follow a path.
- I feel vulnerable and judged while I’m spending hours on a single, personal project.
- Like I should do something more important. Making money, working on a career.
- I want to be a better designer, with my own style.
Reading them again, I consider them not even too harsh on myself. It requires honesty and guts from my side, and some accepting and neglecting advice from the outside world according to careers and security.
By now I can see that the old, strict rules I have set for myself, the rules of getting successful and rich quick so I could do what I want, didn’t work. Or all the things that I’m not alowed to, because the world is turning to shit. I should do what I want, and maybe, maybe I will become rich by it once.
What is the answer?
- Wonder and wander around the world (in a van)
mythoughts and perspective by representing them
- Create understanding
So, if I have to visualize my future I would be some traveling round storyteller/inventor/problem-solver/designer. A kind of old shaman, as free in thoughts as possible, helping in finding solutions for occurring problems. To empower this, I want to be a good visualizer and storyteller. And I
need want skills to do that and I need want trust in my skills to be free to use them. I’d like to think that I want to use my skills to accomplish something that goes beyond myself. That I’m looking for a different greatness. For simplicity, happiness, joy, beauty. And that these values are within reach wherever I am.
Subject to change
I realize that every time I do a similar exercise – what do you want – I get that uneasy feeling that I have to achieve or accomplish something, but I don’t know what. And maybe that is fine. That I don’t know yet is the answer. Because I don’t know yet what will be the outcome. I’m not the one to set rigid rules and goals, I understand all too well that these are always made up, and are just there to play with.
This takes me all the way back to the discussion with my teacher, well documented in my book De Kijkman (in Dutch), that asks me to set outlines and goals for a project, and I violently fight this because I believe it will limit my process. I like things to be limitless. I like the idea that everything is subject to change. I even like to change the subject. Only others around me don’t really like that. They like to know what to expect. To be certain. To count on something.
The second realization is that, for years now, I’m looking for a reference. Something to relate to, to rely on. To keep me on the subject. And that the only one to set or accept these references is me. Not my parents, friends, society, the government or John Cage.
So, what am I so violently fighting? The rules, that I set myself? My ego that tries to set the rules for me, to live up to? That the rules are always subject to change, as I change my goals? Or is it just accepting that there are no rules, only guidelines? I leave this text, you and myself for a while, with these questions, only to return with step 3. Probably invoking even more questions.