Finding Awareness in the Strangest Places

The title of this post is an odd one simply because the word “awareness” has so many different meanings in so many different cultures. I hesitate to frame the understanding of awareness here, and I need you to get my point.

Awareness, in this context, is the state of knowing the source of just about anything we are doing, and the motivations and intentions behind that thought, emotion, action. To recognize when something happens and it triggers a reaction, you are aware of the reasons or sources of your reaction…the emotion or thought or action that rises in response.

In a sense, awareness is a recognition of what you are doing, creating, thinking, and/or being in a moment. To make this idea more plain, if my partner says something that triggers a reaction in me, I understand, in a moment, where that reaction came from, what arose for me and then, hopefully, be able to not react negatively to that statement or thought or action by my partner. It’s really about knowing something about myself….(DON’T get caught up in the self-word I just used).

Of course I’m speaking in terms of ideals…like idyllic behaviors based in our best selves.

This version of awareness I’m talking about came to me in a few different ways this summer and during our long COVID confinement. I’ve been drawing (badly), but I’ve been drawing nonetheless. I wanted to express something I saw or felt. Toward that end, I chose a very challenging image, one I took on my solo trip a few weeks ago. The scene, for me, is remarkable…a place where organic and inorganic matter collides. Where plants are dancing with stone. That moment of conjunction. Here is the image…

The interplay of trees and stone, dirt and grass, earth and sky.
The flat surfaces that appear here just don’t do justice to the vibrancy of the photograph

In the drawn image, you can see the choices I made that do not correspond to the photograph. And. What I found is that it really doesn’t matter…as I created the piece I was in the moment of creation, aware of my choices without personal judgement. Then, after it was done, I can analyze where I need to go in my drawing; how I need to adjust and develop; again, no judgement, just recognizing that I need another skill to actually represent the scene as I see it in my mind.

That’s it, isn’t it? The moment we do not need to grasp on to the outcome of a particular situation. That we don’t need to grasp on to the negative emotions or thoughts…or really any thoughts…so, don’t grasp on the sense of accomplishment (I did it! woo hoo!). Yea, I did it and that’s enough. Improving the scene, then, is my next task; making subtle or profound changes that can move my drawing in a direction closer to what I want to see.

Here’s to hoping we can all find that place where we can accept what needs to be accepted and grow where we need to grow.