I am not a big Salvador Dali fan, but he did have a quote that is one of my favorite quotes that goes something like, “stop trying to be perfect, you will never attain it.”
I type these quotes, as I am ready to get on a plane, go get my stuff out of storage and head off into the dessert to become a monk. Yes, it is rather funny, the idea of the prodigal son even contemplating trying to change and stop living the old way, to learn a new one.
What caused this? I guess the people closest to you, have a funny way of trying to present an image to the world, yet, to those closest to them, they really will rip them a new butthole that usually is a litany of what is wrong with them, never anything right.
I have come to a place where no matter what goes wrong in the family, the warped humor, of “I am sorry, I did it.” No matter what – is the running joke.
It is not a fun or a nice way to live. You don’t’ have conversations, you have litanies of someone trying to prove who is right.
The other humor is that I have done and tried so many different things in life, that when someone wants to say, “you don’t want to change.” I sit looking incredulously after what I actually have walked through in my life, now coming to a new country, without a clue on a language and actually trying.
Is it that I don’t want to change? Who does? Change usually involved pain and discomfort to do something else. I get up each morning excited about what one can work on and change in the world, yet, the local environment and space is about having a nice time, not really doing much to change.
The irony, this morning three more courses that really interest me came online, I am thinking, “can I take these? Learn German? And live whatever the model of how life exists here in Switzerland?”
Part of what you are hearing is simply the reality of what it is like to invent or create things. The world doesn’t want or believe one can do it, unless one is standing in front of a finished product, that one can touch, smell and usually people will immediately be critics and look for the flaws, and not the overall amazing beauty or function in the design. If there is one thing man excels at - it is his ability to be critical.
I wonder if people think perfection comes on the time, or people have become so jaded to think perfection is the act of spending 95% of your time to make things “look” or appear right – versus actually being comfortable enough inside ones own skin to go beyond, “looking right” for others – and be alright.
It is like experience, this morning, an argument about “if you ask someone to paint, you ask to see their work!”
I laughed, as I remembered when the show blew up in Nashville, I had a strange desire to learn about faux painting, and decorative techniques. Till this day, I really have no idea “why?” I wanted to learn to paint like that, but I read books, studied, practiced on a whole bunch of white paper and boards to work out techniques and looks.
Did anyone want me to paint anything, even for free?
Then one day, as I lamented the disaster my life had become, I walked into a store where I still remember this woman, in a big space, with a tiny little coffee type stand. I ordered a cup of coffee and just chatted with the woman. She was a bit distraught as she had just signed a lease for the space, as the previous tenant was kicked out and it was that moment of “oh my god, what have I done” when you take the step and actually do a new idea.
“What do you need?”
“I need a space built out.”
“Lets see, that is this much space x average cost to build out…. so about 80-90 k will get you a nice space
“I have 3,500”
“Is that for everything?”
As I sat down, I started to sketch ideas. I love coffee houses and then when I got done, I took the sketch to the woman and said, “I used to work in entertainment, where everything was sort of an illusion, but this is what you can get with 3500 in materials."
I remember going in when the shop closed, working through the night to transfer the space so that the owner could stay open and make some money. The space was also near an interesting church I started to go to, and for whatever reason, I knew the coffee shop would have a future, or be important to the community as a space people could come together.
I didn’t make squat for building the space, but it kept me sane and working with my hands and allowed me to actually create with no budget. Call it another labor of love that I had with the past 10-15 years of creating spaces for free. I am not sure if it is some self-imposed penance, or if I really have a mental illness in making peoples dreams come true who have little budgets. I still want to start a group that goes into elderly peoples homes who are on pensions or don’t have the money - we clean, paint, perhaps someone can decorate - gives them a new look of life?
I digress. When the woman I did the coffee shop for sold the shop, she actually wrote to me, as I joked when I built it, “we need all the money for materials…just make sure I get free coffee for the rest of my life.”
She wrote, “I am selling the shop, thank you for the help, I am putting in a clause that you get free coffee there for the rest of your life.”
I had to laugh, as I probably will never get back there, but it is nice to know if I ever need a cup of coffee, I can go somewhere in the world and get one.
In a sense, this is perfection in the world. It showed up 12 years later? Started at a little box in a big space and a few ideas.
The current owners wrote about the history of the space “the shop opened in 2003, it all started as a coffee stand in the corner of a candle shop…details like the shops current counter, its pattern pounded out by hand with quarters, attest to the fact that the shop has always been a homegrown effort…the shop into what it is now; a haven for all things coffee, community and creativity.”
Usually as the creative idea person, you never really see or enjoy after the work is done. That is when others can come in, sit, touch, taste, smell and perhaps have a perfect moment with others – a cup of coffee.
Not sure where my future will go. I used to plan everything and work the plan, yet, the more I really try to work on changing myself and learning to love the way god wants, it seems like I am perpetually in the wrong spot, or when it works best, you have the ability to be blown where you are needed, sort of like a leaf.
It is odd how the creator of the universe can use such imperfection like myself and allow good things to come out of it.
The actual journey itself? Really is more about the discipline to do certain things each day. It is the sculptors dilemma…is it the one hit of the hammer on the chisel that make the stone what it is? Or the previous 10,000 hits on the chisel it took to get to that last one?
I do understand Salvador Dali’s quote – yet – I also live in a world where we think we are perfect, or want to kid ourselves that we really all have our ducks in a row.
The one thing I have learned in life, is that it all can end in an instant.
Looking perfect really won’t help you much when you are dead.
If you don’t hear from me for a while…. it doesn’t mean I am dead. It means I have nothing left to try on this planet than to go to Mt. Athos, or the desert and simply learn to pray and take a really long inside to realize how imperfect i actually am. Maybe then one day, a perfect prayer might come out?