stewart

INTRODUCTION

I have always been inspired by the above lines from Al Stewart's song "Lord Grenville".

A Captain's Log is a book, a kind of diary in which, in the old days, captains of great ships with several masts and sails wrote down what happened on their boat. And similarly, here, in my Captain's Log, I can add ideas, sketches, techniques, ... whatever springs to mind and that has to do with my adventures on this personal trip into the unknown waters of the Cosmic Ocean.

So, without any further ado: let's go for it!

moon

2021, the fourteenth of June

"We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are." - Anais Nin

I will start this Captain's Log with some musings on stress and fear of failure. Why? Because this is a brand-new project, and I feel the tingling electrickity in my being, the shivers that I know so well... Compare it a bit with what children feel when they have to write something in a brand-new, beautiful book they received for their birthdays.
How often didn't the fear to write a mistake cause them to exactly do that, write a mistake?

Stress is a strange beast. Most people know it in some way or another, and most find it annoying and a hindrance, so they try to push it away. Thing is that this usually increases the stress rather than make it go away.. Time to have a better look at it, and the best way to do that, is to forget what is known and go for pure experience.

Stress feels like inner tension. And when we observe it, it seems to be caused by imagining that we are somehow inadequate, that we do not have the talents or the properties that are needed to bring the endeavour to a good end. But is this really so? Is this really imagination causing us to feel so tense?
In essence, it is not the imagination, nor the fear of failure that causes it, but the ambition to want to attain a predetermined result, to reach an fixed goal. Stress changes our interpretation of that goal, and we start to interpret it as a difficult problem instead of an interesting challenge. Instead of using our creativity and imagination on the journey and see where we are, and tackle the problem at hand, we watch ourselves from a distance and we verify if every detail, every single breath, every move we make, is in accordance with the reaching of the set goal. This way, we do not live our lifes, but we become obsessed by something hypothetic, and this, to quote Blake, 'single vision' makes us miss everything we meet on the road, even the beautiful things that we would love and would prefer to do if we didn't have that single-minded view, this goal set long ago that we consider it our life's goal, something we must reach or, if not, we are failures.

'Been there, done that' they say in the US of A, and me too, I have made that mistake several times. Luckily, I have learnt what it is all about, and how it, like an ivy plant, suffocates the life-tree it abuses and strangles it with its ambition. It feels so much better when we can set a goal, but enjoy every step towards it, and let life decide what we meet. But when I am in front of that empty sheet of paper, and want to begin a new drawing, I still tend to begin by putting my signature on it, so it becomes more mine, and loses its 'thou shalt not pass.'

moon

2021, the fifteenth of June

I don't know who came up with this, but I do like it a lot:

The only thing that is visible of the invisible is the word.

moon

2021, the sixteenth of June

T wo questions I got the last few days. Must say I feel like Oidipus:

1/ who gave God his name?
2/ How to release blockages and old patterns?

My answers:

1/ Humans. Language has been created by humans. And that is where the difficulty lies: words are never clear, that is: they can be interpreted. They are always being interpreted, and everyone has their personal interpretation. When at the beginning of a new war the president says "God bless the USA', he forces down a certain interpretation, and when someone says God is love, he forces another interpretation. All we know when we go inside is that we cannot grasp everything. We always simplify, we always reduce.
We can use the word 'God' to express that there is a lot that is beyond our grasp, but we should take care not to 'humanise' this mystery. It's got nothing to do with a he or a she. It's simply accepting and living the fact that there is a ... dimension that lies beyond our grasp, and that we just cannot reduce, and that lies beyond everything we can think or imagine or sense or whatever. It is neither malevolent or benevolent: it just is.

2/ Face them, with your deepest, fullest being. No-one is more courageous that the ones who dare to admit that they are afraid but still go for it. Most people stay in theories, and theories are mental. Thinking processes. To face habits and blockages and patterns, you have to first accept they are there and live through them, and also, and even foremostly on an emotional and instinctive level. Go through the hurt, the desire, the need, ... whatever. And whilst you do, try to figure out whether this is still linked to your actual life, or to memories. Memories are not facts: they are interpretations of what we experienced. Then, eventually, you can decide to let go, or not. That is a personal choice.
Many say you have to grasp what is wrong, and this is a mistake. Patterns, habits etc live on instinctive levels, and hurt lives in the emotional world. These cannot be reduced to what thinking can handle.

moon

a memory: a sixth of March, a few years ago...

It was a remarkable day indeed...

I was trying to concentrate on my drawing, when suddenly I heard the door bell ring. When I opened the door, I saw this patchouli-smelling, colourfully clothed, middle-aged lady standing there. She smiled and she radiated kindness, and she asked whether she might come in, adding she was a good faerie.
I didn't see why not so I smiled and said yes, come in.
I offered her a tea, and she accepted, asking for an Earl Grey. If possible with something ... a bit stronger? ... could it be that I some Lagavulin or so?
- Ahh ... you prefer Islay?
She just smiled. A naughty, girlish smile.
And whilst I was putting the water to the boil and went to the cupboard for some biscuits, she said she had come to me for my birthday. I replied that my birthday was tomorrow, but she said that, from an astronomical point of view, it was today. See: the Sun has to be in exactly the same place it was the moment you were born and this year, that happened on the sixth.
I personally don't care that much but still, if she said so, then why not?
So we sat down, and, whilst taking a biscuit, she repeated that she came for my birthday to grant me a wish.
- I have been keeping an eye on you, dear boy. You have become far too serious, too hesitant, too solitary. And that saddens me. So here I am. Ask me a wish... whatever!

She sipped from her Lagavulin and continued:
Perhaps you'd like to be a well-respected elderly gentleman? I could easily organise that for you. Peace of mind, lots of fond memories, ... you say it. Or perhaps you could become rich enough to not have to worry anymore? That you finally get the intercontinental recognition you merit and deep down yearn for... I could organise some retrospective shows, with beautiful catalogues, anything ...

I was about to reply when suddenly, out of nowhere, my Muse appeared, her eyes aflame. (she has a real Mediterranean temperament)
And she replied in my place:
- An elderly gentleman you say? An el-der-ly gen-tle-man? He? Nah! If he has become anything, it is a bit too comfortable... Then she looked at me and said she also wanted a Lagavulin. Or better: simply give us the bottle.
Which I gave her. I felt odd, and strangely silent...
And she continued:
I'll tell you what he really wants because, don't forget, I know him better that he knows himself! And, between you and me - she looked the fairie straight into the eye - he is far too shy to ask for it... What he really wants to be, or become, is a sorcerer. He may desire for peace of mind and a quiet life at the surface, but deep down, he prefers intensity. He wants to experiment with the borderlines of the phenomena, with the borders of so-called sanity and madness. He wants to improvise and live, not merely exist. He wants to question all official definitions and prefers wandering and getting lost to following whatever path. He prefers uncertainty to whatever interpretation. Give him peace of mind and after a short while he gets bored as hell.

The fairie listened attentively and took another biscuit. And asked for another Lagavulin. The two ladies started talking like two old friends, and me, I just sat there. I did not know what to do ... wasn't it after all my life, my fate they were talking about?

And when the bottle of Lagavulin had been emptied and the biscuits had disappeared from the tray, my Muse grinned at me, the fairie looked at me and took her magic wand ... and there went the respected elderly gentleman. And the peace of mind. And the catalogues...

So be it ...

moon