with time and energy returned at the end of football life
came time to relentlessly burn, a roman candle in the night
it was part in celebration of the journey i had made
and part pent-up frustration just waiting to escape
as i found myself veering towards a vicious downward spiral
i chose to turn my gaze inwards in a wish to be more mindful

hoping to relax myself while also staying active
i started doing yoga and fell in love with the practice
early on in this new phase, i started to slow down
and as i went about my days, i began to look around
i was noticing details that i had never seen
and everything shone with a mesmerizing sheen

nothing much had changed except the pace at which i moved
yet suddenly the world at large appeared to me brand new
i was finding textures and colors in familiar faces
and becoming inspired by all sorts of places
i was noticing patterns and amazing symmetries
and the things i thought I knew now revealed intricacies

 

i rediscovered the sense of wonder that comes with childhood
like i remembered all the sudden what it meant to smile good

 

i wanted to explain the things that i was seeing
and share the transformation i was feeling in my being
but words never seemed to do these new thoughts justice
my explanations falling short under communicative structures

while searching for assurance that things would be OK
came a fortunate occurence which set me on my way
i saw a post that changed my life and altered my world view
on a most amazing night i was moved to start anew

Justyn shared a link for a talk that spoke to me
about needing to rethink our thoughts on creativity
it described schools as only teaching certain things
and disregarding those who draw or dance or sing

the quote that stuck with me is

every child is an artist, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up
– Pablo Picasso –

i think somewhere we lose this as we try to be the smartest
the arts get disregarded in favor of knowing stuff

 

 

how to relay these vivid thoughts that i began to have
without coming across as having gone completely mad?
i chose to harness the effectiveness of showing over telling
in an effort to make what i was going through compelling
i thus felt it was my duty to learn the skills to draw
so i could capture the beauty that i suddenly saw

but how to start? where to go from here?
as if the world was listening, the answer appeared…
i found a blog post about how to learn design
and soon realized the only obstacle for me was time

 

we live in an age where you can learn any craft
by doing research and then choosing to act

 

i hadn’t taken art classes since i was a kid
save maybe two in high school to fulfill requirements
but now i was acting on my own terms
which is without a doubt the best way to learn
i was always interested in creating and design
but until this point, i could never find much time

as i started picking up some elementary skills
i found that in these moments my mind went very still
minutes and hours and nights would pass by
i was learning to crawl with hopes i would fly

it was a feeling i knew from my football years
of getting into a zone where you can transcend your fears
when i took the field, it was just me, the ball, and my routine
everything disappeared, with a wave of calm i felt serene
how to describe this phenomenon, i did not yet know
but what i had stumbled on was the property of flow
the ability to lose yourself in the performing of an action
making you immune to any incoming distraction

i recall a saturday in my apartment when i sat and sketched
the memory of that afternoon is permanently etched
i’d only had this hobby for a short handful of months
but through some daily lessons i had already learned much
as i began to draw the room before me
i could feel the world i knew transforming
with the right focus i could freeze a moment
i could place it on paper to see it and hold it

 

every child is an artist

 

i had spent my whole life running out of time
but finally felt a new power was mine
life didn’t have to fly by so fast
if i wanted it to, any moment could last

the image atop this post i drew back in seventh grade
i’m glad i came to see its truth before it was too late
its a miracle i discovered that creating is my calling
its something all others deserve before they get stuck stalling
we all should find our flow that delivers timelessness
enough of this decline into lives of mindlessness
not only are we missing out on our fullest potential
we’re causing problems down the road that are most consequential

our schools were designed with the factory in mind
but we need to realign if we care about mankind
each one of our minds is truly one of a kind
we’re living so behind if our brains are still confined
to a world of conforming to standardized tests
when the jobs of the future don’t exist yet

 

we need to encourage diversity of thought
and maybe reconsider this absurdity we’ve wrought

 

i’m not implying that we’re all meant to be painters
but those who are shouldn’t feel so endangered
we need doctors and dancers and divers and cooks
and teachers and farmers and writers of books
we need to foster every bit of human creativity
and enable our youth to find their ingenuity

the decades ahead are full of many unknowns
our best chance to survive is not cookie-cutter clones
in whichever way your gifts happen to manifest
i want them to matter as much as all the rest

by encouraging our children to express their inner selves
our society might save itself and and begin to excel