14/05/2017 by Carl Reynolds
Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside. Life is sweet, even if I’ve been away working or visiting my fading father for half of the last few months. My immersion in the briny has just about maintained some regularity, but I have lost the novice’s thrill.
A while ago I read a book, as part of my professional practice, called ‘The Mediator as Artist’. The author made the fairly self evident observation that when you begin something you have ‘Beginner’ mind and things are exciting, exhilarating; if a bit gauche. As a ‘Novice’ you settle down to learning what you’re doing, but retain the delight, that upon crossing a bridge, thinks, “I wonder if I can swim here?”. Then the ‘Practitioner’ arrives and you know your competences, the range of your ability and capacity, you have the gear and some idea; but you have become complacent about the improbable, the unexpected, the serendipitous, the joy of the search. In short, you have forgotten the mental state of the ‘Beginner’ and ‘Novice’.
And so at this point you need to become the ‘Artist’. And like a fine artist, noodle around, look at things from a multiplicity of perspectives, think about how your craft can be used differently, what new skills you need, and rediscover the joy of the novel…because you are still surrounded by it. It is just that your practice has framed and limited your perception. You are competent, but you run the risk of being dogmatic.
Having swum this past month in places various around Torbay, I thank my co-swimmers – the Torbay Shoal – for their exuberance, guileless joy and sense of continual exploration. And the tonic for this artist re-emerging from a being temporarily placid practitioner. This summer, Start to Hope!