I used to paint. I loved it. I would sit at my easel and paint whatever came to me. It was messy and fun and it taught me how to focus deeply. One of the things I learned was the importance of stepping back from the painting to see the whole picture. I would get hyper focused on an area, hyper critical. I would perseverate over the lines, the shape, the color and before I knew it, this one tiny part of the canvas was overworked and incongruent.
A teacher of mine showed me how to step back, to zoom out and to look at the entire picture and how all the pieces were relating to one another.
I often think about this lesson. I think about it when I am picking too hard at one piece of my life, work, relationships. It is a practice to step back—to see all of the various elements and how they are in or out of harmony.
In the store, we promote wholeness. The outfit isn’t good if the person inside it doesn’t feel good in it. What makes us feel good can or cannot have anything to do with the outfit. The clothes, the goods, the stuff can magically make us awaken to something or a part of ourselves that is perhaps lost, forgotten or missing. In the same way, the things only tell one part of the story—it is a piece of the painting, not the painting in its entirety.
The other wise pearl this teacher taught me was that the painting is alive and changing, and to not hold on too tightly to what is in front of me, but that the relationships of color, texture, subject are always moving. Even when the artwork is done, the piece framed and hung on the wall—we the observer move and change. Our perspective and relationship to the painting changes. What we experience in life changes how we see the work—even our own work.
So step back, see the shapes, colors and objects of your own canvas—how are they relating? Where are you being too picky about and what in the picture could use some attention?
To balance all of the pieces and to the whole is a practice.
Zoom in, zoom out. Repeat.