Living A Still Life

June 27, 2014


Today is about how we possibly live and what we may believe. It likely pertains little to your clients and mostly to your life.

I was born in the last year of the baby boom. My daughters are closing out their own college years. Cult icon Tom Robbins (in Still Life with Woodpecker) pontificated on how we are defined by the times in which we live. Importantly, he, at the same time, asked – “how do we make love stay?” Erica Jong wrote, “There is no such thing as a still life.” Vincent Van Gogh is one of our kings of the still life. Love cost him an ear.

We humans seek a connection.
To another human.
To our work.
To making meaning.
To our time on the planet.

There are those times in which we know that our lives have intersected with the right person – that we have created the optimal product and that maybe we have made a difference. But most days are much more mundane.

The times in which boomers came of age were those in which we believed that we would matter. It has been different for our children. Born into a 9/11 style world has resulted in mass bloodshed, acute terrorism, few jobs and little hope. They know that they will scratch out a living somehow – but are not as naïve as we may have been. Meaning making – in its self-actualization spot in the Maslow “hierarchy of needs,” elicits an eye roll.

Yes mom. I will listen to the Grateful Dead with you. But let’s be real. We don’t have time to slowly dance our way to the bathroom during that ten-hour outdoor concert. We need work. We need a paycheck.

There is space between being manic about your future and being perfectly still. You will connect with some folks who matter to you and you might find work that matters – at least to you. You may not realize your dreams through your connections to others or through your medium. But matter to yourself.

Sadly, once we hit a certain age we know for sure that no matter what it is that we do or whom we do it with – that it is temporary. The recognition of that beauty, peace and, clarity in the moment, is the part that propels each of us forward. It is, in fact, the still part that matters.

Tom Robbins further wrote – that – while we might not be able to star in the production about our lives – we do at least get to direct it.

Vincent Van Gogh might have severed his own ear – yet he also painted Starry Starry Night.

And then there is Charles. He was the man at the desk (in my husband’s building) who greeted each of the working stiffs daily. With a smile and optimism. And then, unannounced he checked out. Kids at home. Life should have been left for him. Today the people of his building displayed an outpouring of love and flowers.

He mattered.