Oct 25, 2012

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One’s “Ick” Is Another’s “Art”

One’s “Ick” Is Another’s “Art”

It is funny how ideas come to me. The car tends to be a good place (though not so good for writing them down), as well as the shower (again, recording the ideas can pose an issue).  So there I was, in the shower, and I happened to glance at all my hair on the wall…  See, I have a theory, that if I put my hair on the wall instead of just running it down the drain, that I am helping keeping my hair out of the drain (which might actually work if I ever got the damn hair off the wall and into the garbage!). I have done this for years.

About a decade ago, when my husband, Adam, and I were living together for the first time, we had this roommate. She was a very powerful-and-yet-hurricane-like woman, and her and I butted heads a few times during the eight months I lived there. Well, she hated the hair-on-the-wall thing. She was a hairdresser, which made it even funnier to me that she literally found it disgusting. Clean hair was super “ick” to her in the shower, on the wall. And, of course, you may be reading this and be having the same reaction!

Fast forward to half a decade ago to the last house we rented. One of our friend’s was living in Eugene going to school, and had been up in Portland hanging with friends for the weekend. He came over, and asked if he could take a shower. We said sure. He came out of the shower smiling, and said, “I love your hair art!” He was serious. I believe he even arranged some of the hair to make designs or pictures, and you could tell he had fun doing it. To him the hair wasn’t “ick,” it was a glorious opportunity to make and appreciate “art.”

We have all heard the saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” or something along those lines. The obvious idea being that something that I may not find worth in, you might. To me this seems to point to that which we can use or make use of in a practical manner; I may want to throw some old piece of furniture away that someone else could make into something useful and lovely, etc.

But what about things that have no practical use, per se, but that align with our own sense of beauty and/or creativity? What about “Art”? If something as simple as some hair on a shower wall can bring out such opposite reactions in people, what about everything else? What if One’s “Ick” Is Another’s “Art”?

As my favorite author, Daniel Quinn, writes, “There is No One Right Way.” So here is where I get to look inside of myself at where my one-right-way-ism comes into play – both in the doing, and in the seeing. Even if we completely agree with the “ick” perspective or the “art” perspective, can we release judgment of the “other side” long enough to see that we can both be right? In a world of fighting and arguments and rules, can we – in our own hearts – step back to see the validity in another’s point of view even if it differs from ours? Can we, even for a moment, fathom how someone else could see “art” where we see “ick”?

Until we can, we’re unfortunately stuck. It is like the difference between tolerance and acceptance, the latter of which we need a lot more of. To me, tolerance is like, “I completely disagree with what you are talking about, but if you keep it out of my face I guess I’ll let you believe it instead of forcing you to see it my way (the right way).” While acceptance is more, “While I completely disagree with you, I honor your right to believe whatever you believe, and respect that you hold your truth as much as I hold mine. I accept and respect you even though we are different, and am okay if we’re always different.” Can you internally feel the weight of each perspective? Our tolerance can eventually run out (war?), but acceptance is always there, as a form of unconditional love.

As our world faces some very real choices in moving forward as a species, I wonder if each of us are willing on an individual basis to look at where we have judged “ick.” Are we willing to shift to an “art” perspective? And, if not, are we at least willing to “accept” that our point of view isn’t the only valid one? I believe that as we do this, we are participating in healing the entire planet, starting with ourselves. To me, that is the ultimate “Art.”

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