Everything we are is already in us, making up the map of us.
“I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven,
and I will look down on my beautiful life.” ~Yayoi Kusama
A major exhibition of Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is on view at the NY Botanical Gardens now through October 31st. A friend of mine and I strolled through the stunning exhibition last Wednesday.
Amongst the towering trees, along the lush gardens, and inside beautiful conservatories, we gaped at her gorgeous works and shivered with delight, even though the temperatures were well above 100 degrees.
Kusama’s courage is evident in everything she makes.
Yours is, too.
A Seed: The Map of Us
My favorite work from the exhibition was a piece called A Seed.
I stood in front of this studying every line, every blurred edge, every soft Rothko-like lacuna, wondering … How in the world did she make this?
A seed. The beginning. The container for new life. Holding the instructions for the entirety of what is to come next inside its walls.
A map. The true nature of us. Routinely overridden, but ultimately never to be denied. Who we are is already in us. Holding the instructions for what is to come next.
All those layers of pastels. Softly and deftly applied to paper so that the bottom strata of light peek through, giving our eyes a place to focus and dance and wonder.
The Layers of Us
The layers of our lives have accumulated over time, washed upon the shores of us by parents, peers, teachers, cultural influences, and our own painful accommodating to fit in or avoid ruffling feathers. If we were to take an eraser to those layers, sopping up darker hues here and there, what do you imagine would lie beneath?
What would we see as us and more perhaps more importantly, not us?
What is trying to break through the surface, like Kusama’s golden underpainting, that has not had (maybe for years) a chance to illuminate the art of us?
We can begin by reclaiming what brings us joy.
Let’s pull down the box of what we love to do from the closet shelf. The box we tucked away when life got too busy.
Remove the lid and remember.
Let’s do one thing from that box of secret joy this week. And then, let’s make it as much a practice as our daily workout, our morning coffee.
Reply and let me know what you are bringing back into your life that brings you alive. (If you want to see mine, take a look at my Facebook and Instagram as I surface what I’ve been hiding.)
Here is to the courage to live what brings us alive.