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Posts Tagged ‘Albert Einstein’

c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is acrobat.

I seem to have been born with a lot of checks in the Control column. More, really, than I like to admit. Surrender does not come easily. But sensing the importance, I have wrestled with ‘control tendencies’ for most of my adult life. If this actually were a wrestling match, most days I would be pinned in the first thirty seconds…

Letting go to the ebb and flow of Life, to some greater plan and power, to some far-wiser intelligence is indeed wonderful to contemplate… I imagine it to feel so, well, safe. But in reality, the experience (to this beginner, at least) feels so much more like the acrobat who must let go of one hold, one swing, even before she can grasp the next one. In a word: scary.

And yet, the whole question of Surrender comes down, once again, to that Big Question, that Albert Einstein quote that I’ve mentioned before… do I believe that the Universe is hostile… or friendly? (Will the next swing be there when I let go of this one?)

The challenge looks like this…

“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have, and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you: either you’ll find something solid to stand on… or you’ll be taught how to fly.”   Richard Bach

Where is that acrobat in me? It’s on the Parts List, so I know it must be here somewhere… ?

“The Acrobat” (pen and ink, watercolor, pencil)

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is atmosphere.

An unknown author once wrote, “To be creative, you need a sense of psychological safety. That means that no matter how ridiculous, bizarre or silly you may appear, to yourself or to others, you have accepted your own self-worth.” Most of us will need this same sense of safety to risk showing our real self.

Deciding that the Universe is either hostile or friendly (stated eloquently by Albert Einstein, and quoted in a previous post) is at the ‘root’ of psychological safety. Will we strain endlessly to make people and situations conform to a standard that makes us feel safe (the right atmosphere)… or, having decided that we are already safe, will we just get on with our creating… and our living? If you are like me, it will vary…

Try this simple experiment. Tomorrow morning, decide to believe that, just for this day, the Universe is friendly. Watch what happens. (Don’t be surprised if this approach is harder than you imagined… our hidden beliefs are subtle, but powerful.)

“Muse I” (caption: “I am safe, I am loved.” ) (pencil)

(A post featuring the oil paint version, Muse II, is here.

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c. Susan Sorrell Hill

The Illustration Friday word of the week is fearless.

Rare is the person who can live beyond the influence of Fear. Perhaps fear is the ‘fine print’ of the human condition? It seems that we are hard-wired to be fearful or anxious about so many things, both real and unreal. Fear is surely the most powerful and subtle impediment to living fully… a worthy adversary, indeed.

I will decline to list my own collection of fears here… that would be boring, not to mention self-indulgent. Suffice it to say, my fears are probably much the same as any other persons. Yet, as a contemplative person, I am forced to admit that Albert Einstein was correct in his statement, “The most important decision we ever make is whether we believe we live in a friendly Universe or a hostile Universe.” There really is no room for quibbling in this perspective is there?

Many of the quotes in my previously-mentioned notebooks address this emotion of fear, whether it be related to creativity, survival, other people, or to the challenging process of stretching one’s Spirit. The antidote to fear is always the same. It is implied in the words of Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Forest House), “The gods do not require that we all be conquerors or even that we all be wise, but only that we serve the truth that we are given until we pass it on.” And it is even more obvious in Helen Keller’s words, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” The simple antidote to fear is to move past it… but this is not always so easy to remember in the moment. Fearless is a state of mind that I aspire to… making incremental progress, backsliding a bit, then going forward again, slowly. Patience with myself and persistence are the keys. As an artist, I take much heart from Georgia O’keefe’s words, “I’m frightened all the time. Scared to death. But I’ve never let it stop me. Never!”

For that insistent part of my mind, and for those of you who would voice that thought that Life IS very scary in these modern times, I close with a quote from Wendell Berry“Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful, though you have considered the facts.”


“In-Danger Species Meets King Kong” (pen & ink)

For another image on the subject of fear, see:Demons to Tea

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