Put a Word On It

I heard a quote that I had to track down. It led me to American artist, painter and photographer, Chuck Close. Finding Chuck followed a very difficult conversation between my wife and I. When I say conversation, I might be referring to an argument, at least that is how it started.
One of our family values is resolving conflicts quickly. Our time spent in therapeutic camping has had major payoffs in this area. Those eight years reinforced many principles of life leadership that have served us well. Not the least of which is the practice of talking things out.
Our argument mostly came from a place of the insecurities which we each had allowed to boil up into stress. Once the tea kettle finally whistled, and the steam cleared away, we took a walk and talked about what was really going on. In therapeutic camping, we used to say,

“Put a word on it.”

It is a simple way to remember that our negative emotions have power in our subconscious until we call them up into our conscious awareness and take their power away.
As Carl Jung said,
“Until we make the subconscious, conscious, it will rule our lives and we will call it fate.”
I am willing to bet that the ”gremlin” rolling around in the subconscious of the great majority of the population is the fear of inadequacy. I suspect that a great many people fear inadequacy because they experience a dissonance between the bigger dream inside them and their current circumstances (be they real or imagined). Most have probably settled for a “dumbed-down” life of conformity.
Which brings me back to Chuck Close and his quote.
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. … “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

“I threw away my tools. I chose to do things I had no facility with. The choice not to do something is in a funny way more positive than the choice to do something. If you impose a limit to not do something you’ve done before, it will push you to where you’ve never gone before.”
You might need to re-read that quote. I did. By itself it is a great quote, no matter who said it; but when you know more about Chuck’s story, it is incredible.
Chuck lost his father at 11, missed most of the sixth grade due to a neuro-muscular condition and a kidney disorder. When he was in school, he had a rough time due to his undiagnosed dyslexia. His big dream struck him at the age of 14 while on a visit to the Seattle Art Museum. That dream has since become manifest into Chuck being one of the most renown artists of our time. He is best known for his very large portraits based on photographs (Photorealism or Hyperrealism technique) of family and friends, often other artists and famous people (like Brad Pitt and Kate Moss).
Between the inception of Chuck’s dream and his fame were many opportunities to give in to a fear of inadequacy. The opportunities to give in to fears didn’t come solely from a difficult start in life. You see Chuck is one of the most famous portrait artist even though he suffers from prosopagnosia (face blindness) and has been severely paralyzed since 1988.
Instead of living life at its lowest common denominator, Chuck has made a life by taking the power of his inadequacies away and constantly living his life outside his comfort zone.
We have dissonance because we can’t have both positive and negative thoughts at the same time. When we do not deal with the negative emotions, like the fear of inadequacy, we allow them to be like weeds in the garden that use up our valuable resources.
In As A Man Thinketh, James Allen says,
”A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
Anything you need to put a word on today, Friend?
Warmly,
Rick Burris

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