Beauty, Nature And Art

Kees Van Dongen

“Once a person falls in the fields of love, all the rules are already broken; the lover becomes open and exalted in ways that transcend the local issues as well as the commonly held beliefs…. Where duty becomes replaced with love, a greater and deeper faith will blossom forth. For the deepest meaning of “belief” refers to being loyal to what the heart already loves… ‘What the heart loves is the cure.’ The cure for healing the wounds and conflicts between faiths and systems of belief involves awakening to the unique ways that each heart carries devotion and love.

When followed far enough, simple belief can transform into wisdom… Until the heart opens and the eyes begin to see there is always the danger of blindness and narrowness and the tendency to hold onto narrow ways of being.”

- Michael Meade


There is not just one style of masculinity

Hercules is the classic hero(because of his Herculean ego strength). But the hero has a thousand faces as Joseph Campbell said…

What about Mercurius who is more more like a mercurial messenger(and more of a mind person, perhaps)? What about Odysseus who probably enjoyed a feed more than a fight, and who had all of those longings and yearnings(and went to all of those different islands of experience and just wanted to make it back to Ithaca)? What about Dionysus, and his softer features, who was more connected to the earth, the body and nature?

If you go back into myth, there are thousands of models of masculinity that are all legitimate, in their own way and that all have their own particular style and taste. And even Hercules as James Hillman said ‘had to linger awhile with Circe’.

— Jon Wilson

The first rule of life is to follow what you love. Sounds simple doesn’t it? The difficulties start to show up when you love something you shouldn’t, like a person of the wrong class, color or sex, or a disapproved work or belief system.

We are not usually encouraged to base our decisions on love and enchantment. We are instructed to ignore messages from the heart and focus on practical matters. One must eat, after all, or so they say. But to choose that path deprives you of inspiration, which is where the energy is.

Duty can’t really replace love. What comes naturally has genius. It has the wings of inspiration. Children know this. In order for them to forget it, they have to grow up in a cultural prison. It has to be trained out of them.

Being a well behaved citizen means conforming to an uncreative culture, at least in our modern societies. The last thing these societies want is original humans. They upset the apple cart.

As a young person, I felt my way along this path as if I were blind which, metaphorically, I was. I had an inkling I was meant for the arts somehow but I didn’t know how or even which art it should be. I had to learn to listen to what I naturally loved, what I was naturally attracted to. That’s an important skill to have, listening.

My father worried about my masculinity as I gravitated to the arts. I obviously wasn’t a Herculean type. I wanted to be, just to fit into my Texas surroundings, but I eventually learned to accept and approve of myself as I was. As I am, I should say.

Following passion, love and inspiration has given my life a lot of beauty. I have tried to be practical. It’s not that I just threw caution to the winds. It’s just that my instincts don’t often go down the practical path.

The beauties of an earthy life can open the heart if you follow it far enough. What has to be dropped is all the reasons not to be so eccentric and impractical. Of course, you have to manage your own fears and youthful impulses. Those things can trap you in the wrong life before you know what has happened.

I don’t know how I survived my foolish years. In my case, learning to follow love rather than fear or practicality came in fits and starts. Before the shackles were finally locked, I managed to wake up and leap away. I’m sorry that I left some wreckage behind, but at least I kept beauty and love in my life.

I don’t think I would still be alive if I hadn’t been able to do that. Following beauty, nature and art has made all the difference.

Frank Johnston

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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