I went to visit the Wonder art exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. The exhibit sparked a conversation with my friend, Jeff, about the definition and importance of wonder. As I cultivate new personal and professional opportunities in 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of wonder. For me, it’s about being open and allowing myself to be amazed. It’s the ability to be delighted and filled with joy. This world is wild. Sometimes it’s downright cruel. Wonder is what keeps us going, in times of light and darkness. And I’ve found that the more I look for wonder, the more I seek out opportunities to be happy and free, the more of them I find. As we turn the page today, letting go of 2015 and welcoming 2016, I hope we can all find moments of wonder every single day.
I’ve been talking to a lot of friends this week. It seems that 2015 was a tough one for many people. Disappointment is a painful feeling because it leaves us both hollow and confused. I’d take just about any emotion over disappointment. It’s a tough one to get through and get over, though it’s also a gift in the truest sense of the word because it means a truth, however painful, has been revealed to us. And with truth we can create something new, forge a different path, and become a better version of who we are.
So if 2015 was a tough year for you, if you had your fair share of disappointment, think of it as fuel that can help you build a brighter 2016. Someday, we’ll look back and say this is the year that had to happen.
I’m not great at vacation; I never feel rejuvenated by it. I wish I did. I envy people who do. I just can’t. If anything, I feel overly anxious about the very idea of vacation. About 12 hours into it, I start to get antsy. I need a project and I’ve stopped trying to fight that need. I am who I am, and my idea of fun is creating things. It’s what I do and who I am.
In 2016, I’m not going to fight that anymore. I’m an intense, passionate, and some might say (slightly) manic, person. Moments of calm and peace are necessary (I sit in meditation for 18 minutes a day no matter what my schedule is), though the natural hum of my life exists at a higher frequency and that’s just fine by me. I’m most comfortable when I’m using my mind, body, and heart to build something.
In the new year, I hope we all find that—the way and speed of life that feels most authentic for us. It’s different for everyone, and there isn’t a way that’s better. Just a way that’s better for each of us as individuals. Let’s honor that.
“Art saves lives. I used to think that was corny, but it’s true. It saved mine.” ~Gil Batle, former prisoner and artist
If you ever wanted to see an elegant story, beautifully told and deeply felt, about how art saves people then this post is for you. Jane Pauley interviewed Gil Batle on CBS Sunday Morning and it’s one of the most incredible interviews I’ve ever seen. Gil Batle has struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life, and he committed a series of crimes to support that habit. At age 53, he’s clean, free, and creating art that channels his painful past. He carves intricate scenes into ostrich eggs using a high speed dental drill that etches the scenes no deeper than 1/16 of an inch into the shell. If you’re in New York, his work is on display at the Ricco Maresca Gallery. If you’re not in New York, take a look at his work through the video below. You can also see his art at http://www.gilbatle.com/ and on Instagram at @gilbatle.
“May all that has been reduced to noise in you, become music again.” ~David Teems
I’m off from work through January 3rd and decided to stay in D.C. to use the time to focus on defining my creative projects for the new year. I get tremendously excited about turning the page in the calendar, and I am absolutely ready to say hasta la vista to 2015. This was a rough one, maybe the roughest on record, in nearly every aspect of my life. It was a character building year to say the least. It was also a time of high creativity because I was forced into situations that required me to solve huge problems and conflicts.
2015 held a lot of noise for me, complex emotions swirling around in my head and heart. Rather than fighting them, I decided to use them. After all, the worst of circumstances serve as the seeds for the best art. The loudest noise can be transformed into the sweetest music. And that’s what 2016 is all about for me.
What do you get for the dog who has everything he needs? The same thing you get for people who have everything—art. I made this paper collage for Phineas to capture his philosophy on life. Merry Christmas, Phin!
Here’s the Phineas Way:
- Join a parade whenever possible
- Don’t be afraid to lead the way
- A first snow is a very happy thing
- Sometimes the best thing to do is sit and be quiet like a yogi
- “How good can you feel?” is a question you should ask every day, and answer
- Share something wonderful with everyone, always
- Fall in love with as many things, and people, and animals, as possible
- There’s cool stuff out on the edge
- Be excited
- Embrace the wild
- You’re perfect just the way you are
- Stay unique
- Learn how to be a good copilot
- You can never have too much joy
- New York is my soul city, and always will be
- Embrace tomorrow, no matter what happened today
- Live color fully, in many different directions
- Sing loud and proud like a bird
- Be unstoppable
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the greatest places in the world to hang around
- I love snuggling; snuggling’s my favorite
- I have one goal: to be the best dog ever. (And, for me, he absolutely is!)
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the nation’s capital! Everything is calm and bright (and warm!) here, and I couldn’t be happier about this relaxed holiday season. I hope yours is equally wonderful!
I’m very excited to share the magazine articles I wrote for Royal Media Partners earlier this year. The magazine went live this month and includes my pieces on the Serial podcast, Youtube’s 10th anniversary, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s ecotourism venture in Belize. I’m hoping to do more of this type of writing in 2016, and am very grateful to the editors at Royal Media Partners for offering me this opportunity.
Serial Addiction: Creators of This American Life Bring New Life to Radio Drama
Serial – 12-26-15
Belize Gets the Hollywood Treatment: Leonardo DiCaprio Wants More Than an Oscar. He Wants to Save the World.
Leo Belize – 12-26-15
Ten Years In, YouTube is Still Going Strong
YouTube – 12-26-15
The Washington Post recently moved to a new office building and I got to take a tour of it yesterday. Its sparkle is fitting for such a storied media organization. Standing in the middle of the newsroom, I felt the very real sense that important work that shapes the world is happening there. It’s invigorating and inspiring. The Post put together a wonderful behind-the-scenes tour of the space that’s hosted by Martin Baron and Frederick Ryan. Have a look at the video below:
My friend, Pam, posted this photo yesterday and it really resonated with me. Our experience as children is somewhere being replicated in another child’s life. Maybe somewhere along the way we didn’t get everything we needed, and things were more difficult than we would have liked them to be. The great gift of being an adult is that we can make our history, good and bad, meaningful by showing up in the world and providing what we didn’t get to someone else.