Many of you who read my full posts and/or captions know that when I was a kid, I wished I had the ability to fly. This, I’m sure, was something many little kids might have dreamt about at some point. As I grew older, however, in a fit of pure irony, I developed a fear of heights. Standing on the top of a tall building makes me go weak in the knees and I don’t like getting too close to the edge. Philippe knows this well, as on trips to the top of tall buildings in New York, I nearly clawed his arm off. I find it fascinating that this is a fear that only developed in adulthood. As a kid, I had no such worries and could climb the tallest of trees and once got in trouble for climbing onto the roof of our house. Back then, I wasn’t scared of consequences so much as being impossibly eager to experience a fresh perspective. Over time, I’ve built an encyclopedia of consequences in my life. Things I tried and failed at miserably and things that simply produced embarrassing results. While these things are a wonderful guide to avoid repeating really dumb mistakes, they’re also a hinderance. Were I a baby bird with that level of knowledge, I would have never left the tree.
While I do think having a rational mindset is helpful, I think that finding a balance is an even better plan. Sometimes my rational mind can grow so loud and tedious that I almost shout out loud in order to shut it off. For example, when my mind tells me that what I’m currently doing is basically stupid and should be avoided at all costs, I take a moment to pause. Before simply submitting to my militant mental companion, I ask myself a few questions first. The most important question is whether or not the thing I’m currently doing is exactly like the thing I did before. Even identical twins possess unique traits that can cause one to be more successful than the other. Before abandoning an idea based on similarity I force myself to consider it in full. After all, it’s entirely possible that the little distinction that makes this idea just slightly different, might be the very thing that will make it successful on this go around. And fortunately, the only way to know for sure is to go ahead and attempt it.
As much as I talk about the power of doing new things and practice doing them myself, I still have moments where I’m left confused. Times where the path seems quite exciting, but full of fog and not particularly clear. Choosing what path to take in life is no small undertaking. Heading down one path versus another will produce a story with an entirely different ending. What I’ve learned along the way, though, is that I have yet another ability that guides me. This one is simply called hope. It’s wildly imprecise and a bit fallible, but I often find it to be the best guide on any journey. If I believe that something will happen, there’s a far better chance that it actually might. That a dream might actually come true. Unlike my rational mind, the mind that hopes is capable of believing anything is possible. And that’s the mindset that makes incredible things happen. It feels revolutionary as an adult, but it’s simply the same mind we all had when we were young, clutching that branch of a tree, before learning to fly.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!