In the Pursuit of Peace and Harmony
In my teenage years I began to wonder why we live the way we do, especially in terms of what we devote our time to. I recall being horribly confused by the notion of choosing a profession that would be deemed “productive.” There was this inner voice that wanted to be heard but spoke too softly to rise above the din. Instead, I listened to seemingly sage advice and pursued a career in mechanical engineering and later as a management consultant, adding an MBA along the way. These were all practical decisions for sure but not ones for someone who silently yearned to express his creativity.
Then, one day in 1994 while working as a consultant in Paris, the malaise snuck up on me. While attending a concert of Mozart’s Requiem something snapped. I awoke the next morning, took my hobby easel, paints, and canvas to Montmartre—the high altar of artistic inspiration—and began painting. That day I made the decision to quit my job and become an artist. I have never stopped painting professionally.
Clearly this was my bliss, the bliss with that soft voice that I was unable to hear years ago. Yes, this was it! I hastily moved to California and jumped right into opening my own gallery and publishing my own books. Friends and family gasped with concern and consternation and not without reason. The lessons came fast and hard. It turns out my road to bliss was full of unexpected barriers and potholes like so many of our personal journeys, whether we follow passion or practicality.
The road is well traveled now, marked with a variety of successes and failures. These lessons have taught me that our bliss, which I call one’s heartthrob, is best fueled by its counterpart—one’s heartache. Indeed, I love to paint but for our passion to rise above something greater than personal pleasure it must be hitched to our soul’s purpose. Of course, these individual purposes of our’s vary dramatically but they are always related to leaving our world a better place. As such, the marriage of the heartthrob and the heartache gives rise to that which is uniquely and soulfully productive.
So, what’s my heartache? In broad terms my heartache is the war, suffering, and disharmony of a planet replete with people disconnected from their own personal passions. My purpose is the pursuit of peace and harmony for myself and for others. It’s an almost foolhardy, idealistic vision but it’s one that yearns for a compassionate and cooperative world in which each is encouraged to discover and follow their true soul’s path. This is, I believe, the path to inner peace and the gateway to propagating broader peace.
For me, this inner tranquility is discovered, for example, in expressing the beauty of landscape, which was my first creative muse. It is also found in family, pets, and friends, especially those from other cultures and beliefs who open my mind to new possibilities. It is found in books. It is also found in the exemplary lives of history’s great peacemakers. My current work-in-progress since December 2013 has been in studying, writing about, and painting these luminaries. They have so much to offer if we can only take the time.
So, each day in this artist’s journey is a new step down that path in the productive pursuit of peace and harmony. It is a deeply personal journey but one also meant to be openly shared. I hope to share it with you and I sincerely hope you might similarly share yours with me.
In gratitude and peace,