PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION
Johannes Vermeer and one of his well-known paintings entitled "The lacemaker" has always been a subject of deeper analysis of XVII-century life in the Netherlands.
Did you know that he was actually one of the first painters to focus on painting ordinary genre scenes depicting women by their daily activities? Cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes and sewing were no mystery for Vermeer.
He used to capture these moments and elevate them to sacred, repetitive moments that we experience every day. Who of you does not cook or clean the dishes every day? Even if it's just washining your coffee cup :-)
We tend not to give too much of importance to these small daily activities that we do. Making coffee, washing the dishes, cleaning the table, sewing or taking a shower.
How many of these you do automatically?
"The lacemaker" opens our eyes to notice these small ordinary things which we do every day. We do not necessarily make account of that.
A refreshing lesson arising out of Vermeer's painting may be sumed up as follows:
1. There are some activities that we need to do every day repetitively.
2. Why don't we focus on them as much as we focus on our big projects and work? Why small actions should be less important than the big ones?
3. The clock measures the time regardless of what type of activity you do. Whether it's preparing a meal or being on the conference call at work.
4. Why don't we put focus and attention to those simple, and unimportant at a first glance, activities?
Focus and attention create energy. We need energy to prepare a wonderful meal, brew a good coffee or clean the bathroom.
I have noticed that as a typical 'multi-tasker' I was focusing on too many things at the same time. Then, I couldn't really focus and put my attention to one matter and my thoughts were simply drifiting away from one subject to another. As a result, I often cut myself in the finger while preparing the food, talking on the phone and listening to a podcast - all at the same time (!).
My last visit to the Louvre, where I have seen Vermeer's "Lacemaker" for the first time, made me wonder for a while.
All the things we do and which take time are equally important. The small things that we do - they are our daily rituals that make up a part of our existence.
Eckart Tolle in his book "The power of now" touches upon this subject. He said: "Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life".
From the moment I've seen "The lacemaker", I no longer want to make the cleaning and cooking 'done', but I fully engage in the process. When I cook, I think about the cooking and the wonderful dish that I am going to make. When I take a shower, I focus on how good it feels to have water cleansing my body.
When I was at the Louvre I was quite surprised to discover that this painting is pretty small. Just like the small things we do every day. But the meaning of it impacts your mind. It creates focus, attention, beauty of a simple moment of lace making, sewing. The miracle of life, hidden in your coffee cup or in the zucchini that you use for cooking.
I talk about Vermeer and his "Lacemaker" in detail in one of my videos on my YouTube channel. Please check it out here and let me know if you liked i!
Wishing you an inspiring Monday!