The Story of the Chinese Farmer
The painting process can be your most valuable teacher. It can encourage you to be kind to yourself, manage your expectations, let go of perfectionism, enjoy the process, and rethink preconceived ideas of right VS wrong, good VS bad, and beautiful VS ugly. When we paint and something unpleasant happens, we claim that it is terrible, clinging to the idea of terribleness. When something good happens, we claim it as good and cling to the idea of good but suffer when it changes or goes away.
What inspires my painting process?
One of my favorite parables as told by the illustrious Allan Watts:
"Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune."
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This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.