I was leaving for New York City in a few weeks from South Florida — on a motorcycle.
The woman I was casually dating at the time coaxed me into visiting a museum, the first time I’d ever gone to one not part of a tour arranged by school or parents.
A couple of contemporary artists were featured. Max Ernst was one of the artists, I believe.
I was gobsmacked by the imagery. I was tumbled and tilted by the work, sent in unaccustomed directions.
How did they think this way? I wondered.
It was as if these artists thought from within that space between reality and dream, that place before you fall into deep sleep.
How do they see the world this way?
How do they manage to express it?!
How do you free your mind to imagine what is not seen just beyond what is seen?
What I saw on those walls expanded me. Once in New York City I started visiting museums. Whole worlds existed within a canvas.
Experience itself felt laid bare, in painting after painting. Moments rich with nuance presented themselves to me, almost all within variations of a rectangle.
It was impossible to know that in twelve years time I’d co-found an art gallery with my future wife. Me, who was fresh from working in my Dad’s tire store when I stepped into the Norton Museum of Art.
My puny thinking apparatus couldn’t begin to muster a vision for what tingled in my body viewing these creations.
It was impossible to know I’d befriend artists and creators and thinkers and writers, that they’d become the portal through which I’d experience my life.
It’s been more than 35 years since a date beckoned me to meet her at a museum.
I may have thought it was but a prelude to something flirty and physical later on. Instead it was an invitation to live la vida creativa.
Walking out of the museum that day I couldn’t have told you the trajectory of my life had been changed. That took years more — it was more an accrual of charged moments rather than one pivotal instance.
Yet . . . thank fucking God I followed the pull!
It’s made all the difference. The gulf between keen and dull.
The difference between a butter knife and a samurai sword.
I can’t even bear dwelling upon how life might have turned out had I not followed the pull. If I’d stayed on the conventional trajectory.
Yes, I’d be richer. Monetarily. But the true riches of uncovering a deeper self would almost certainly have eluded me.
That sounds esoteric — vague — uncovering your deeper self. Yet from that pull toward something enigmatic, something enticing, came a thing of paramount value to me:
Meaningful relationships with seekers and creators.
Some people live for fun. Others live for financial success. I seem to live for dialogue: With myself, with others.
I delight in conversation with others as much as I relish self inquiry.
Follow the pull of sharpened experience, I would tell my young self now. Follow it unabashedly. You may never quite figure out why certain situations and certain people tingle you.
It doesn’t matter. I don’t know why I like mango so much, but my life is enriched by uncovering more mangoes, wherever I can find them, in whatever form they’ve been processed.
Follow the pull of charged experience, that’s where adventure lies.
By adventure, I mean a life quest exploring the outermost reaches of your soul.
An eternal adventure of the spirit.
And the coolest discovery strikes you at some distantly later stage — You have no outermost reaches of your soul.
There’s more! There’s always more!
. . . . .
Let your intrigue guide you
For insights and stories on the connected creative life, check out these bookitos:
The Creative Morning Challenge
Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within