ALCHEMY OF WORDS
ALCHEMY OF WORDS
Focus on What You Love.
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Your job is to find beauty.
Yes, your life is messy. Yes, your job is stressful. Yes, your romantic partnership is hanging by a thread. Yes, traffic sucks. Yes, your children won’t listen. Or stop talking back. Or stop crying. Or stop leaving Legos and bouncy balls in the middle of the kitchen floor where you’ll step on them in the dark and damn near kill yourself. Or them.
Yes, the laundry is overflowing. Yes, you forgot to water your plants. Again. Yes, you blew the deadline. Yes, it will be another year before you can apply again. Yes, the thing you wanted more than anything in the whole universe didn’t happen. Or at least it didn’t happen to you.
Yes, on top of your personal crazy world of red lights, tax forms, relationship disasters, and impossible financial obligations, all over the world people are doing terrible things to other people. And to animals. And to the planet. Which, as it turns out, is the same thing as doing those things to people and animals. But believe it or not, there is something you can do about it: Buy art.
If you don’t believe me, just listen to Picasso, he knows:
Art washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
Sure, you say. I’ll just forget about all the world’s troubles, and my own, stick my head in the sand mandala, and hide. Well, okay. That’s better than a hundred other things you could do. But I don’t see it as just hiding. I see it as one of the more powerful things you can do to change the world.
What the hell am I talking about? I’ll tell you what. Actually, I’ll let Anaïs Nin tell you, because she said it quite nicely: We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
What I mean, in case you’re still scratching your head, is that your life is the sum total of all the things you focus on in a day. Which is why I keep saying your job is to find beauty. Which means your job is also to buy that piece of art that embodies the beauty you seek.
Unless, of course, you want the terrorists to win. Then just sit at home and look at your blank walls, worrying about that missed deadline and your lover who won’t call. Still not convinced? Here’s a few more reasons:
You see something you like. Something that makes you smile. Something that lights up something somewhere near your chest area, your brain area, or maybe even your loins. You have either some money in the bank, your pockets, or on a credit card. You make an executive decision to use that money to buy that thing that makes you smile. And BAM, you own it. Just like that. You get to take it home and put it up any damn place you like.
Artists could use the cash.
Seriously. Artists live by the mantra of not just finding beauty but creating it. And they generally make less money than school teachers. Sometimes a lot less. If you want the world to be better, it starts with finding beauty, and it flows from there to helping its creator pay the rent.
Support what you love.
There are many things to be upset about, many things to rail against, to protest, and to fight. And many of those fights are noble. And it is a far more powerful act to find out what you love and support it. That is the best way I know to make the world a better place.
It’s an affirmation of abundance.
When you buy art, you’re telling the universe a thing or two. Including that you are confident of your place in it, and that you are worthy of its beauty. You are casting a vote for what’s important. And you are doing something to counter the message of the mass-produced goods culture that surrounds you.
It has a story.
I don’t know about you, but I want the things I have to have a story. Not to be cold, machine-produced duplicates. To have a life of their own. We all have stories to tell. Countless stories, in truth. And that’s exactly what art does. No matter what kind of art it is. It tells stories.
What comes around goes around.
When you start focusing on beauty. When you invest in it, feed it, and nurture it. Then something magical starts to happen. It brings its friends. And more and more beauty just starts showing up at your door, in your car, on a walk, or at work. Maybe even in bed.
So go ahead. Buy some art. You’ll be happy. And the world will be happier, too.
This is one of 66 essays in the Gold Nautilus Award winning collection, Happiness Is an Imaginary Line in the Sand.
The book is available here: https://bit.ly/40s3Gh0