Last week, I received a photo from Amy – the first submission for my Hunert Faces Project. I love this picture and couldn’t wait to get started on it. I headed out to the studio, set up my things and got to work. And it occurred to me that it’d been two months since I’d spent any real amount of time in the studio. Almost two months? WTF?! (Why The Face, according to my friend Drew.) Wha’ happened? Well, let’s see, one month was spent traveling through southern Colombia and Ecuador. But what about the other? Oh right, I was sitting in front of a computer building a new website, a blog, and starting a new project. And I realized that I’ve been so focused on creating a way to share the work, that I’ve lost focus on creating the work itself.
While traveling, I carry my camera around, snapping pics of whatever’s interesting. Occasionally, it occurs to me that while viewing the world through the limits of a self-imposed frame I’ve forgotten to use the unlimited panorama of my own eyes. So, I put away the camera, hit-up the cart vendor selling 15-cent fresh coconut and mango snow cones and I sit and watch. I used to think, “I could see the whole country in a month!” and I’d focus on seeing as many places as I could. Then, I recognized that in always trying to get somewhere new I was missing the places I was in. Now, I think, “I could see the whole country in a month.” But do I really care to? Wouldn’t I rather focus on experiencing it instead of seeing it? Uh oh. I think I’m sounding old. Or like my yoga instructor.
Where was I? Right, focus. Sometimes while focusing on what’s directly in front of us, we miss the periphery. We’re all guilty of it. We take vacations to get away and relax, and get worked-up and stress about the planning and going, forgetting the whole point of vacay. We want our families to have everything we can give them, so we work more to make more to give more, forgetting to spend time with them – the reason we’re working more in the first place.
I ain’t pretending to have the answers; and, actually, I kinda forgot the question. Figuring it’s time to steal someone else’s words to articulate what I’m trying to say, I search for “quotes about focus” and Adele’s like: The focus on my appearance has really surprised me. I’ve always been a size 14 to 16, I don’t care about clothes, I’d rather spend my money on cigarettes and booze. And I’m like, hell yeah, I know what you mean, girl, people always worryin’ about my appearance, too, wanting to be Facebook Friends just to see if I got fat or not. And then I’m hit with this one: You have the right to kill me, but you don’t have the right to judge me. That’s life. There’s nobility in that. There’s focus. It’s genuine. It’s crystal and it’s pure and it’s available to everybody, so just shut your traps and put down your McDonalds, your vaccines, your Us Weekly, your TMZ and the rest of it.
Why The Face!?
But you can’t focus on things that matter if all you’ve been is asleep for forty years. Funny how sleep rhymes with sheep. And I’m like, damn straight, Charlie Sheen! Sleep does rhyme with sheep! And lazy in the bed rhymes with crazy in the head. Man, I love this game! And then I read Buddha, All that we are is the result of what we have thought, but I’m not sure what to think; and honestly, now, I’m not even sure why I started thinking in the first place. So, I look back at that two-year-old in the drawing above and I’m reminded of a bit of wisdom from a Zen proverb I saw in China – no, wait, if it were China it would have read something like Heroes travel souvenirs for the channel, so it must have been in Ecuador: When walking, walk. When eating, eat. And it dawns on me, that kid in the picture above, he may have it all figured out.
And you? What Zen bit of wisdom keeps you focused? Feel free to share.