The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Dance of Life

As Memorial Day week continues, I am sharing stories of the artistic people who have influenced my life.  The life of my grandfather was one I learned more about as a became an adult and after his passing.  He was an architect, a successful one with several major hospitals built in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as a result of his craft.  One in which he ended up spending his last days. He was eclectic and collected everything, from small bottles to trains. One of the great many things I added to my repertoire of Found Things from his collections was a book in his library entitled "The Dance of Life" written by Havelock Ellis.  The book is nothing to look at: small in size with a faded blue cloth binding, stained by water, sun and time.  I like it because it looks old and we added it to our book collection without much thought about what might be on the pages and what glimmer of wisdom it might contain.  But here is what I found one day when I decided to delicately open its pages:

The author is describing the Chinese culture according to the records of early explorers, Confucius, and other writers of the time: 
"We may understand now how it is that in China, and in China alone among the great surviving civilisations, we find art animates the whole of life, even in its morality. This universal presence of art manifested in the smallest utensil, the humblest stalls, the notices on the shops, the handwriting, the rhythm of movement, always regular and measured, as though to the tune of unheard music, announces a civilisation which is complete in itself, elaborated in the smallest detail, penetrated by one spirit, which no interruption ever breaks, a harmony which becomes at length a hallucinatory and overwhelming obsession." The author quotes another on the attitude of the Chinese culture, "for them the art of life is one, as this world and the other are one. Their aim is to make the Kingdom of Heaven here and now."

What life could you live if you lived artistically?

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