Pay attention. Go deep.
In a couple of posts now, I've talked about receiving the gifts - whether they're infinity droplets, taking a steep wave, otherworldly sunrises, new art friends, discovering the power of the blind contour, or getting hired for a commission.
Question: So, how does one be able to be in the right place (or mind space) to receive the gifts?
Answer: Pay attention.
If you're paying attention, then you notice things, and you have to notice them to appreciate them. What is the best time? The answer is NOW (says Robert Regis Dvorak). Be grounded in the present (says Chris Zorn).
When you're paying attention, and when you're appreciating - that is the best place to learn. I recently took Chris Zorn's Art of Watercolor class. In the first session, he tells the class - that he is not the teacher. The brush, paint, paper, X are the teacher. We can only learn from them when we are paying attention - How thick is the paint? How does the brush interact with the paint? How does it feel on the paper? How does the water flow? What lines do you actually see? Draw them, not the lines that you imagine in your head!
In class, we learned to paint one thing, with one brush, using one type of paper and one color (midway point of two colors combined). "Go deep." Wow.. art and surfing - so many parallels. I've recently been riding just my 5' 10" J. Kashiwai short board because my partner (aka surf coach) told me to "go deep" - stop fooling around with so many different surfboards. To get better, I need to get good at one. And then I can experiment. Chris says the same thing. I need to use just one brush and one type of paper. And then later I can experiment because when I know the one, I can better understand and appreciate the differences.
For me, both art and surfing are forms of moving meditation. So many lessons to learn from both. Most importantly, both help me to receive the gifts - I have to observe, I can't be distracted if I am going to surf or paint successfully (and by successfully, I mean having the most fun). When I really observe, and appreciate and feel the connection to a particular miracle of nature or to a person I care about.. I am in my flow, I feel joy, and I feel so thankful to be alive and experiencing this Universe. Now, the next step, is to be able to pay attention and receive the gifts all the time, especially when I'm doing something that is not as fun :)