Monday, June 1, 2020

Blue Viola for the Milwaukee Museum Art Shop by Mark Leary Designs

Mobile: Blue Viola, one of a series of mobiles commissioned by the Milwaukee Art Museum shop for their 2014 Kandinsky exhibition

On self-acceptance
“It doesn’t matter how hard you try,” said crow. “You can’t improve what you don’t first accept.”

Thoughts while making
When I was a kid, I had a yellow Schwinn bike. It had cereal box stickers stuck all over it, and heavy steel tires. Literally, they were just rubber wrapped around metal. No tubes. No air.

When you went off the sidewalk, you’d land with a jarring thump on the asphalt. But those tires were bombproof, and rolled true for years.

Every day when I rode it, I would attempt to pedal right along the edge of the sidewalk. And no matter how hard I tried, I would always fall off the curb and thump down onto the street. If I went slow, I’d thump. If I went fast, I’d thump.

I remember focusing so intently on that edge. “Don’t go over it,” I’d repeat to myself, my handlebars nervously twitching. Then, almost as if pulled by a magnet, I’d thump down. Defeated by those 6 inches of concrete. And I would feel like I failed. Again.

I was thinking about this yesterday as I was pedaling up Rocky Butte here in Portland. A white painted line winds its way up the hill. It’s a sorry excuse for a shoulder as there’s no space between it and the traffic.

I heard a car coming up fast behind me. So I focused on keeping my wheel on that line. “Don’t go over it,” I repeated to myself. But wouldn’t you know it: the closer the car came, the more difficult it was. Right as it passed, my handlebars twitched and I nearly ran myself into the car.

Interesting, isn’t it? how when we focus on what we don’t want to happen, it often does? Or when our field of vision is so narrowed – on the sidewalk in front of us, for example – how easy it is to run into things. Hard things. Tough things. Things that land with a jarring thump.

Can you imagine what might unfold if you looked up from that which you were trying to avoid and just rolled with it and appreciated what was?

You might still go off that curb. But how different would it feel?

What was your favorite way to get around as a kid (e.g., bike, skates, Big Wheel, pogo stick)?

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