Welcoming the Unfamiliar & How to Become a Map Maker

“It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.” – Anais Nin

culture

Have you felt yourself seizing up when presented with something new? A reaction that pushes you to retreat within yourself rather than explore that novelty?

Anais Nin reminds us in her writing that it is very possible to silence such insecurities by opening oneself to unfamiliar terrain.

“When we totally accept a pattern not made by us, not truly our own, we wither and die. People’s conventional structure is often a façade. Under the most rigid conventionality there is often an individual, a human being with original thoughts or inventive fantasy, which he does not dare expose for fear of ridicule, and this is what the writer and artist are willing to do for us. They are guides and map makers to greater sincerity. They are useful, in fact indispensable, to the community. They keep before our eyes the variations which make human beings so interesting.”

Might just be your time to become a cartographer.

The cartographer’s song from the French musical Le Petit Prince. While this is one way to be a map maker, just remember that you have to let yourself out into the world to explore.

Especially it if you plan to map it out for others to navigate on their own one day.

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How to Be Happy – By Stephen Fry

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“Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins – is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self pity and not the other way around – ‘It destroys everything around it, except itself .’

Self pity will destroy relationships, it’ll destroy anything that’s good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it’s so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.

I think it’s one of things we find unattractive about the american culture, a culture which I find mostly, extremely attractive, and I like americans and I love being in america. But, just occasionally there will be some example of the absolutely ravening self pity that they are capable of, and you see it in their talk shows. It’s an appalling spectacle, and it’s so self destructive. I almost once wanted to publish a self help book saying ‘How To Be Happy by Stephen Fry : Guaranteed success’. And people buy this huge book and it’s all blank pages, and the first page would just say – ‘ Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – And you will be happy ‘. Use the rest of the book to write down your interesting thoughts and drawings, and that’s what the book would be, and it would be true. And it sounds like ‘Oh that’s so simple’, because it’s not simple to stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s bloody hard. Because we do feel sorry for ourselves, it’s what Genesis is all about.”

― Stephen Fry

Love this simple and effective take on the ease of happiness. We often get caught up in thinking that 10 to 2,000 other things, distant objects in the future, are the keys to our happiness, when in fact the simple key is “ease.” When presented with less than ideal circumstances, we can choose to resist or struggle, or opt to accept them without the need to wallow in self-pity. By releasing the need to control the outcome of every situation, we allow ourselves to respond to each moment as it comes. And that’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to master the art of feeling sorry for oneself.

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Harlequin Everywhere You Look

“But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present.”

–  Michel-Rolph Trouillot

The commedia character of Arlecchino is ever-present today. Also, known as “harlequin” style, this print can be found almost everywhere.

In art:

In decoration:

In fashion:

In nature?

I wish. These guys would be beautiful.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Old-timey Movie Projector

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”

– Jim Henson

A cinemagraph from Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (top) and a still from The Artist (below).

Image Sources: 1, 2