“For it is up to you and me
to take solace
in nostalgia’s arms
and our ability
from fleeting moments.” ~ Sanober Khan, A touch, a tear, a tempest
Reissue Cafe in Tokyo specializes in the “art of the cup.” For 1,100 yen (approximately $10), you can order and enjoy a coffee made with intricate 3D latte art. The foam atop your coffee could be shaped into a bear, cat, giraffe, or even a likeness of you.
Don’t delay in admiring or capturing photographs of your artful cup, though, as the moment the coffee is made, the foam begins to slowly dissolve.
Our experience of life is filled with moments like these—what the Japanese call mono no aware—the bittersweet transience of things. Mono no aware is the awareness that everything in existence is temporary: the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms of spring, the fading of orange and pink clouds at sunrise, the handful of nights in summer to witness the pulsing bioluminescence of a firefly, and the changing of our own image reflected back to us in the mirror.
This impermanence (referred to by the Japanese as the “ahhh-ness” of life) is not to be mourned, however, but rather deeply appreciated. It is in these moments of being truly present that we can embrace (and let ourselves be inspired by) the awareness that everything is ephemeral and of its own time and place.
Presence as the Precursor to Creativity
Delighting in mono no aware requires us to place our foot off the edge of the wheel-go-round of everyday life and slow the rotations so that we may focus in stillness. It asks us to let our wishes and expectations ease over to stage left so that nothing remains within us but an appreciative and grateful heart.
As we craft and fashion the art of noticing, the film that gathers daily over our line of sight begins to lift and clear. We can feel our own lungs rise and fall inside our chests, watch our eyelashes close and open, and hear the slowing of our inner chatter transmute into the voice representing our unique point of view (the source waters of our gifts to the world).
Presence is the beginning, middle, and end of Creativity.
We can create the everlasting from our experience of a moment in time as we cherish and release its beauty.