Monday, August 10, 2009

Life As An Observer

Stephen Hickman's Dragon's Hoard

I have found through experience that whatever my weakness is, it's almost always also my strength. As just one example, because my mind is constantly working and whirring, I often spout ideas/thoughts that people either don't understand or find offensive. Fortunately, because my mind is constantly thinking, thinking, thinking, I often discern patterns and solve problems that others haven't. See what I mean? My weakness and my strength. The yin and the yang of me.
And so it is with my propensity for observation. I'm an observer, an Enneagram Type Five (with a very healthy Four wing and a somewhat less healthy Six wing), and a Myers-Briggs INTP/INFP (I wobble). All that classification jargon simply means I like to watch (why, yes I DO love Jerzy Kosinski's Being There). Makes me an uncomfortable mingler at parties, but if I'm allowed to sit on the sidelines and just watch, I'm happy to attend. The up side of being an observer is that it makes me a far, far better artist. I don't just see, I observe and examine, forming a relationship in the process with the subject of my focus.

By forming that relationship, feelings grow within me, and those feelings get applied to my artistic expression of the observed object or person. To put it another way, when I paint a tree, I don't just paint a brown trunk and branches and some green leaves. Rather, I paint a living entity that moves with the air around it, changes with the seasons, sees things in ways I will never be able to. And with my heart so full of what I've "seen," I create a tree from the inside, out.

That's cool, right? Well here's the downside: having formed a relationship with an item, I am now attached to it. Thus, I have a ton of stuff in my life to which I am attached due to a perceived relationship. I can pick up almost any item in my home and weave an entire tale of its existence in my life. Not so much memories as a recounting of our time together. Makes it REALLY hard to let go of things.

So it's brilliant being an observer because it increases my soul's breath in the process, and it rots because I'm like some great dark dragon, always watching from atop her hoard of "treasure."

Just burn the house down around me, will ya?

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