The Passing of Things - Mono No Aware
Mono no aware is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence or transience of things. This is a state of wistful knowing and gentle sadness about the fleeting nature of life.
This knowing is a call to the present moment, aware that soon this time will indeed pass. The chevron flight of migrating geese overhead and the splendor of autumn leaves now brittle on the ground are reminders that yes, winter is coming. The natural cycle of life is evident everywhere whether we see it or not.
This sadness, though, isn't depression or despair - no, it is about being in love with beauty. It's bittersweet, moving, and poignant because beauty is never static, and we know deeply it must change. This knowing inspires in me a feeling of connectivity to life and yes, death. It feeds me, and brings my undefined longing to the forefront.
It is my preferred state of being. It is why I'm committed to being an artist.
Ultimately this impermanence asks for us to LET GO. We grip and clutch and hang on to the way things are, sometimes choking off the very life-force sustaining us! There’s irony in our grasping, yet we still cling to what we think are life rafts of constancy - people, places and things.
This is so true in the creative process. Often it is when we are pleased with our paintings, but not quite done, that we are the most paralyzed. We skirt around the edges, afraid to lose what is (now the past), for what it could become. The fear keeps us safe but confined, anchored to a place of stasis.
The only authentic antidote to any creative block is to jump in, get dirty, and let go of what is - practice the transient process of intuitive creating, knowing that each stage of the painting is perfect just as it is. Stay curious about the materials, make a mark and let it be. And then repeat. Simple. One foot, one step after another.
Letting go is freedom, in life and art. Allowing things to come and to go, because, well, they will anyway.