There is a story I read once about Alex Katz who was asking himself if the world really needed another painting.
He said that when he pondered this thought he felt deflated and not like working much at all so eventually he decided it would be better to avoid this question all together. Katz, currently 93 years old and still going strong, has a tremendous body of work that testifies how prolific he has remained over the years. I like this story as an example someone becoming conscious of their inner dialogue and taking control of their thinking. This is about making intentional decisions about what kind of thoughts to allow to dwell in the mind.
I appreciate an artist like Katz for his example of stability and endurance. There has been much made of the suffering genius artist who lives fast and dyes young. I am thinking of artists like Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean-Michel Basquiat.
As much as I do love these artists I tend to look to artists who have found a way to live long and well. I just know they make better models of behavior in order to create a way of life that is sustainable. I think about what will make my life happier and full of the kinds of experiences I enjoy and find meaningful. I have found the way to cultivate this kind of a life is by paying close attention to what I’m thinking and what I’m feeling at any given moment because those are really the only two areas I have any real control over. I know now that how I think and how I feel is the ultimate source of my manifested reality.
So like Alex Katz I have come to realize there are some questions I will leave alone.