Chuck Close can be quite the oracle. I often stumble upon a lovely wisdom from this New York-based painter and photographer.
This one I agree with, with bells on:
“Get yourself in trouble. If you get yourself in trouble, you don’t have the answers. And if you don’t have the answers, your solution will more likely be personal because no one else’s solutions will seem appropriate. You’ll have to come up with your own.”
We humans are at our best when we have to fend.
From adversity the greatest things have come, and so on and so forth.
Problem is, so few of us confront adversity. And, so, so many of us have a little squirmy fear in the back of our consciousness that we never reach our best. We never dig in deep and fend. We don’t get to rise from ashes.
What if, though, we put ourselves in trouble? Or, at least, allowed the trouble. I don’t suggest walking in front of a bus. Or telling your inlaws to go jump mid-Christmas lunch. I’m suggesting embracing trouble when it comes along (as it does)… as a good thing. And sinking into the process Our Mate Chuck suggests: Not having answers, fending for yourself and coming up with a personal solution. Your own solution.
And it’s in this – developing something of your own – that the reward comes, that you get that little chuffed, intimate, connected feeling. It can feel sad and lonely and punch-the-air special all at once. It’s one of my favourite human sensations.
I’m aware I plunge myself into trouble sometimes, in accessible ways. I have urges to take off and do a mountain bike ride down a steep hill or to do a really tough hike requiring technical skill. I’ll often crave it when I’m in a mental or emotional rut. I fling myself down a hill, or leap over crevices, and I experience that feeling of fending, in the moment. And it’s in this, through this, that I feel most connected. I get close to myself.
I think, over time, I’ve also come to appreciate the times when I f*ck up or the shit hits the fan. I’m a calamitious person and so it happens a lot. I used to freak. And all I’d do is freak. And that’s as far as it would go. Now, I tend to actually enjoy the process (not always!). The more dire the situation, the more I rise to the occasion and fend. I rise up as a human. I become the most I can be. And I own things. And through it I own my life.