FAILURE SUCKS

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I stand tall today and underneath my feet, a tower of failures.
Every misstep, every amplified blunder, every fruitless attempt, every rejection.

The most successful people aren’t necessarily those who have failed the least, but rather those who have turned their failures into a paradigm shift.

Those failures pile up underneath your feet the moment you turn them into fuel to change what you’re doing.

This is not meant to be an inspirational post- a lighthearted piece of reassurance that failure is an amazing experience, because it’s not.

FAILURE SUCKS

It is debilitating and frustrating and terrifying.

But time doesn’t stop for anybody, and time keeps driving you forward.
Before you realise it you find yourself in a blossoming future where your failure became fertiliser for your happiness.

All the things that make you joyous today rest heavily upon your past failures and mistakes, for the present you live in this minute is not possible without the rotten things you have left behind.

Take that dreadful feeling within you and use it to propel you forward, to carry on.

Build a tower underneath your feet using your failures and you might reach higher than if you only build yourself up on successes.

Curiosity

 

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Yesterday, I met a man with no curiosity. He said he dreaded globalisation and could not understand what was so great about cultural exchange. Traveling was of no interest to him: he went to Italy once, but he did not care for it. He described his happiness as having a simple life, cultivating vegetables and living from the land, curling up safely in the routine. My astonishment was beyond words, as I knew him to be smart and well- read, a very nice and sociable individual. In my head, I had trouble pairing up these traits with someone with no desire for novelty whatsoever.

For me, curiosity is an intense craving for knowledge. It is a thirst of understanding reality better by seeking to unveil the unknown. It is about moving around with an urge to learn and experience, finding out that life is much more complex and rich that one once imagined. It is an adventure. And in this path of discovery is where I find happiness.

My sister and I enjoy discussing our discoveries with each other. So much so that we started this blog a year ago in order to share these fruits of our curiosity with others.

Curiosity is a gift. One that not everyone possesses and for that I am extremely grateful. Perhaps I had been taking it for granted. Thank you, man with no curiosity, for reminding me of this.

-ana-

Let’s go collect beautiful things

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“Let’s go collect beautiful things”

 I found myself running behind a 6 year old as she sprinted into the field and gathered numerous objects she came across.

“What kinds of beautiful things?” I asked.

A sparkly and jagged rock, one tall snowdrop, two daisies that were missing a couple of petals, a stick decorated by curved lines some mites had left behind.

So I set out to find and collect beautiful things too, but my search didn’t stop once break time was over.

Two gradient sunsets, one perfect daffodil, a moment of unexpected peace, hair blowing in the wind.

I became an avid collector of beauty. A disciple of what this small child professed and has likely forgotten. Unaware of it, this girl inspired in me a new practice.

Countless flowers pressed on pages (but their names I do not know), a steaming cup of tea that burnt my tongue a little, one night of restful sleep, the smile of a friend when I needed it most.

I have become a hoarder- myriad mental cupboards stuffed with casual beauty, motivated by the unsuspecting wisdom of a 6 year old.

A sprint through a flower field, a stolen kiss on a train platform, a bowl of strawberries in the sun, conversations shared in a tent.

All this time I had been trying to find a sudden revelation in books and in meditation, but all it took to cause this paradigm shift within me was one lunch time in the playground. Such a little event has caused me to think about my everyday life in a new way. I no longer consider beauty to be extraordinary, but something I can find if I just stop for a second to notice the things around me.

Wisdom isn’t reserved to those who are old and experienced.

Sometimes the purest and most impactful pieces of insight come from those who are looking at the world with fresh eyes.

So listen in to what they say, and let yourself be taught by them, or better yet, teach them to collect beauty too.

-teresa-

The purpose of art

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The Fountain by Marcel Duchamp (1917)

The question of the meaning of art, and whether it has a purpose or not, is nowadays as current as ever. Throughout time, it has been a matter discussed not merely by academics and scholars, but also by simple people: if you have ever seen a modern piece of art with family or friends, it is likely you questioned what was the meaning of it. As art became more accessible to everyone, the views on the matter diversified: more people could see art and discuss about it. With the arrival of contemporary art, understanding art became ever more challenging as all the typical standards that were once acceptable in order to judge it seemed out-dated: the technique and style no longer mattered as much, there had to be an interesting idea behind it and a charismatic artist. Questions about what art exactly means and what is the purpose of all of it became even more frequent. As art became more intellectual, the objective of achieving Beauty was lost- at least Beauty understood as that which pleases the eye (Thomas Aquinas).

During the XIX century, the theory of “art for art’s sake” thrived and became extremely popular. It meant to divorce artistic creation from any use other than art itself, focusing on aesthetic value and forgetting about educational, political or moral purposes. Art was to be judged separated from its themes and purposes. Oscar Wilde, the famous British writer who was linked to the movement, in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, famously said that all art is quite useless, later explaining it in a letter:

“Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.”

This tempestuous century was also the time of the great realistic historical paintings used as a means of propaganda for kings and government that wanted to show their success and status; as well as the explosion of new artistic techniques such as Impressionism. It was a period of intense debate around the concept of art, and it would be the seed of the significant art revolution that took place in the early 1900’s. From that time onwards, art became a means of expression: social, political and philosophical ideas could be manifested through it.

It became evident that there was a clash between the artist and what was being painted: who was the real protagonist?

If you’re interested, don’t miss this great video that reflects upon this topic further in an easy accesible way: HISTORY OF IDEAS: ART

-ana-