"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

23 June 2023


The poet Guante says, “Don’t write a poem about war. Write a poem about what it’s like to stand in your brother’s empty bedroom.” When I’m engaging with the world as an artist, it reminds me to look more closely, notice more, hear more, and in a regenerative way, do better. It pushes me to see not just at the plate of food being served to the guest but to focus equally on the energy of the person who’s putting it down in front of them. 

What we know now about neuroplasticity makes clear that this artful approach, practiced regularly over a period of years, will literally change our minds. Not only will that change help us, and those around us, it also serves to help inoculate us against the fear, negativity, and unnecessary drama that dominates so much of the world’s daily conversation. As scientist Norman Doidge describes, “Once a particular plastic change occurs in the brain and becomes well-established, it can prevent other changes from occurring. It is by understanding both the positive and the negative effects of plasticity that we can truly understand the extent of human possibilities.”

In the urgency of the world’s current crises, it would be easy to ignore this call for thinking and acting more artfully. I could have walked right past Patrick-Earl selling his paintings in Soho all those years ago. But look at the impact of that seemingly small decision to honor my instinct, to engage artfully with his art, and to build a friendship and find ways to connect creatively and caringly. Every person we see, every interaction we have, has the potential to also make this kind of difference.

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