The Hard Question
Horsesebarn HIll: UConn Campus, oil, 10 x 10 in.
As I was listening to a Plein Air Podcast yesterday, the host Eric Rhoads asked his guest what he called “the hard question”:
“Imagine that you are on your dead bed. Everything you have done all your life is gone. There are no paintings left. You are surrounded by your loved ones. What would be three life lessons you would like to share with them?”
An intriguing question. As I reflected on this, my thoughts decanted to some clear tenets.
First, find out who you are. Nothing is more important than this.
Second, do your best in everything you are doing, without focusing on the results. In this way, you step away from the elusive trap of expecting a certain result from your action. The process itself will be rewarding, and your work will get better and better.
Third, serve others. Leave behind the torturing “I”, “me,” “mine,” and focus instead on how you could benefit others. This simple change in perspective is the spring of happiness.
As the Upanishads say, “Only in love and creative work is worth living a hundred years.”
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A Year of Plein Air on Horsebarn Hill