I’m extremely fond of Veronique Vienne, author of masterpieces like The Art of Doing Nothing and The Art of the Moment—small, square-shaped books that hold a lifetime of French wisdom. In the latter of the two aforementioned books, Vienne dedicates a chapter to “The Art of Wonder.”
Quote: “Your attention can allow you to see the beauty of a vacant lot, of an overpass, of a parking lot, even of a blank wall. … In contrast, when you are self-involved (when you are held hostage by your internal dialogue) everyday reality feels quite banal. If you are in a distracted mood, everything is a blur, a drone, a blah—a so-what. … Absorbed in your thoughts, you are not mindful of what’s going on around you. Why should you be? As far as you are concerned, nothing is happening. But wait a minute! Are you sure that nothing is happening? Or could it be that what you assume is ‘nothing’ is, in fact, the lull that precedes a really important event.”
Last week, I experienced events that pulled me out of my banal internal dialogue and threw me into the magical world of wonder. Let me share them with you.
First, I attended a beautiful luncheon at the Phoenix Art Museum. Following my lovely lunch, my companion and I walked around the museum. We almost missed the exhibit that would change my day—and possibly my entire mindset—until a museum guide said, “Did you see the fireflies? You have to see the fireflies.” The fireflies were hidden on the second floor. The only indication that they were actually present was a small white arrow painted on a big, black wall. That little arrow led me into a true out-of-body experience.
The installation is called “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies” by artist Yayoi Kusama. Walking in, you are consumed with blackness until your eyes begin to focus and then you see them: the fireflies. They’re really just a bunch of LED lights, hung at different levels, reflected in mirrors on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Sounds simple, and yet, inside the installation, I lost myself. I lost any sense of my body or mind. I lost the worries of today and the fears of tomorrow. I just stood there and allowed myself to be obliterated. Now, in moments of stress, I try to remember the fireflies, and I plan to go back as soon as possible.
On Thursday night, I attended a volunteer appreciation event at the Arizona Science Center. I was there for one reason and one reason alone: Van Gogh Alive. Combining the troubled artist’s work with light, music (the one they played with Starry Night HERE), and animation, this exhibit is a must see. There are strategically placed benches, and I could have sat there for hours. Not only was the art stunning (especially when projected on room-size canvases), but Van Gogh Alive felt a lot like the fireflies. I lost myself. I had no worries. I felt peaceful, relaxed, and very Zen. The exhibit will be open until June 17. Don’t miss it, and try to go very early in the morning or late in the day. It’s more fun when there are less people around.
Finally, Friday, Jake planned a super-secret date. He told me to wear a nice dress, and we headed to downtown Phoenix, where we enjoyed appetizers and happy hour drinks at District Kitchen. Then, the big surprise: we had tickets to see Florence + The Machine. Florence is wondrous when simply witnessed via audio, let alone on a huge stage, spinning in a wide cape and matching green dress. On a huge stage, she was a goddess of motion and song. When she played Cosmic Love, I almost melted with glee, and again, I didn’t worry about homework or deadlines or moving into a new house. I worried about nothing, because Florence made me feel free.
Perhaps the most wondrous thing about last week, though, was Jake, because what could be more wonderful than being married to Jake? Jake, who works so hard, while earning his Master’s degree. Jake, who takes me on super-secret dates. Jake, who is a true wonder. Have a wonder-ful week, my friends!