Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Toucan

At the firm I used to work, my colleagues never really talked about what would be next in store for them after retirement. Maybe it was because they already had put their hearts and souls into their life-work so that it was hard for them to imagine what there could be, or maybe it was because some of them had become so rich. Whatever it was, the standard response was, “first I take six months off and then we’ll see.” One colleague was different, he only smiled knowingly when I asked him what would be next for him; apparently he was too embarrassed to tell me. Later  over dinner, however, he mustered his boldness and revealed that he would become a painter. Well, that was a new one!

The wife of a friend is an art curator. When she had a look at his first paining of a toucan, she later said in private, “this painting is so bad, it is almost good!” Well, the newly minted painter took classes, learned some new techniques, and experimented with them. He kept going no matter what the critics said. Years later I met someone who had seen his more recent paintings and remarked that they were quite good. The art curator also had a look at his paintings in later years. She mused that in fact there was something refreshing about his first painting that later got somewhat undermined by the studied techniques. Still, she also said that his paintings had gotten much better over the years.

Lesson learned, if you feel that you have something important to share, do it! The establishment will need some time accepting your amateurish initial attempts at expressing yourself. But then, you will naturally develop a technique that gets better over the years. As the saying goes, boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Seven years after writing my first book, ‘The Magnificent Experiment’, I am putting the finishing touches on my second one, ‘The Way of the Meister’. I can only echo what my painter friend also discovered, ten years into my spiritual writing journey, there is still so much left to discover and to share.

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