Today I met two men who have been painting on the side of a little mountain in a tumultuous city for 24 years. Every Sunday, without fail, they are perched on benches beneath trees, allowing colour and water to bring sky, leaf and flower to life on the page. For two hours on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, far from my comfortable second story bubble, I watched wisdom pour out of their paintbrushes and breathe love into every vein of my heart. And, for the incredible ‘academy tuition fee’ of 100 Guatemalan quetzales (approx. $14 USD) annually, they will teach you everything they know.
What do they know?
They know that finding a way to do what you love is more important than anything else.
They know that repetition brings calm, and doing the same thing over and over allows it to become part of the air that we breathe, and thus to nourish us in a way that newness doesn’t.
They know that friends you’ve known for half your life, especially ones that share your passion, are dear, dear, dear, and that when one of them bakes homemade carrot cake and brings tostadas to share, you stop what you are doing to eat with them in the shade.
They know that including others in their joy, and their passion, multiplies it, in fact grows it so big and so full that trying to contain it would be silly, and impossible, and not worth it at all.
They know that water, the blood of life, heals all, which means that mistakes can be included with one brush stroke, and a blank page is nothing to be afraid of.
When my new teacher finished his demonstration, I told him, “Es mas bonito que la realidad”. It’s more beautiful than the truth you modelled it after. Without a need for perfection, without criticism or self doubt, without fear of the people with less honourable intentions who are wont to occupy the very same space later on in the afternoon; without worrying where he’ll hang it, or wondering how he’ll sell it; without confining himself to the limit of a sky that must be blue; without allowing any thought to overpower the messages his soul sends through his fingertips directly to the page, he paints. For 24 years.
What do I know?
If I spend my whole life inside a safe bubble, I would have missed this.
Can you guess which painting is mine and which belongs to the teacher? Hehehe. There’s extra space for beginner’s mind and growth mindset on top of a beautiful mountain under the shining sun. Tonight I dream of the colors that are possible and how I will try blending them next time…
PS Where was little Q? At home, bonding with Dad… but I will definitely bring him up there next time!
3/4 – #SOL18