Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Notes on the Psychology of Possibility

Me and My Shadow, by Ellen Langer
"In my experience, each of us has the potential for a renaissance, an age defined by a creative, purposeful, and engaged life. It doesn't matter whether the creative work we choose is painting, dance, fiction, poetry, or music. What matters is pursuing it mindfully.

How do we get from beginning some new activity to a personal renaissance? Learning what things stand in the way of our comfortably engaging in some leisure activity, and how to break down these roadblocks as we experience them, provides the practice we need to deal with our more familiar stresses and fears. 

Once examined through this new lens, many of our "problems" fall by the roadside. We can, it turns out, pursue art for art's sake and art for life's sake, and it matters little what that art is. Any creative activity can have a powerful effect on our lives if we pursue it mindfully and recognize the ways in which old familiar fears and habits can be set aside to make room for the personal renaissance we seek."

 - Ellen J. Langer, On Becoming an Artist, p. 7

All paintings by Ellen Langer


  1. Yes! Although it's difficult to be entirely mindful all the time (probably not even desirable!) over the long haul it has worked for us to throw ourselves at the mercy of the Muse. Yes we do our shopping Salvation Army, and raise as much of our food as we can, but what an interesting trip it's been: "and my dear, we're still here…"

  2. Yes! That's it, Andrew, in a nutshell.