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The Process of Discovery - To Engage or Not

Experimenting with a new painting technique taught me a lot about the process of discovery. When you discover, you must be open to both success and failure. Allowing your emotions to interfere will hamper your unearthing. When you stay in an open state of mind you remove all judgements.

You may have a deep seated urge to constantly decide what is or isn’t happening. Instead, you could just watch what is going on, and detach from any feelings caused by your reaction. This is especially useful when you might face your discovery through failure. Just experiencing the actions that didn’t work well, is different from feeling bad about the experience.

The painting method I’ve played with involves a process of pouring lots of layered colored paint into puddles and letting the patterns and swirls take their own journey without much of my direction. That’s a challenge!

I want to play with the paint and make it do something. Discovering my patience is a quality I don’t want to employ often, in this instantaneous world, watching paint pool, and dry is truly painful. I designed a more comfortable work scheme. I mixed and poured my paint at the end of my studio time; then left it to do its thing anticipating what I might see the next day. With the thrill of discovery at the beginning of my work day, I had plenty of time to observe and learn without negative feelings coming from impatiently waiting, and fighting the urge to manipulate the paint probably wrecking the painting.

Breaking my work tasks into a different timing arrangement, I recreated my learning fun and usually got a healthy dose of enjoyment first in my work day. If that particular painting was a flop, I didn’t make it part of my studio day experience. So, I didn’t engage feeling the pain of failure. I could just note that painted canvas didn’t work out that well and move on. By discovering without engaging unnecessary feelings you can lean deeply into new things and learn more.

How can you discover new things through choosing the level of your engagement? How could you change things up to give your work a burst of positive energy at the beginning of your day?

Photo by Isaac Davis on Unsplash

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