One of the most important things I have learned from Laura Simms, my storytelling mentor, is to see storytelling as a living reciprocal event. The storyteller is telling the story to the audience while the audience is simultaneously informing the storyteller; they are bringing forth the story together.
I woke up this morning realizing that this is what happens with the drawing process, with conscious art, as well. While I am perceiving/drawing something, that something is also perceiving me.
I am deeply listening to the bird sing. When I am listening in this way, the bird is also aware of me. This is what it means to live in the world with an enlivened soul. An enlivened soul is a participant in a living reciprocal event. Drawing is not necessary for this to happen, but it can become a means to bring this about. One’s entire body and being are used to cultivate ensoulment.* I can see by the red line that ensoulment is apparently not a word. I would like to keep it anyway.
G. I. Gurdjieff was known to say, “Let the observer become the observed.” I used to think that meant that instead of observing others I should observe myself. I didn’t think of it in this way. Consciousness must have this quality of living reciprocal relationship. If we are to “wake up,” as admonished by Gurdjieff, Christ, and others, we become part of a “new world” of reciprocal acknowledgement and perceiving. Maybe the trees and birds have been waiting ever so patiently for eons for us humans to “get it.”
Looking up the word eon for spelling, I came upon this definition:
Eon:1:(Gnosticism) a divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe; 2:the longest division of geological time; 3:an immeasurably long period of time.
“Calling forth the world” is a phrase that came to me as well. By being deeply attentive to myself and to another being or element at the same time, I am “calling forth the world.”
* There is a difference between sketching and drawing. I have felt that this is so and that what I am doing is drawing, not sketching. Maybe because I don’t have the skill level to sketch, I must draw. When I try to sketch, I feel uncomfortable, as if I am not paying due respect to what is in front of me.
As a teacher, there’s a huge difference, for example, between a sketch and a study. They can be called the same thing. A sketch is something that’s sketchy. Looking is sketchy. A study is where you’re studying with your body… (Jane Rosen, Parabola Magazine Interview, Spring 2012–http://www.parabola.org/looking-with-your-whole-body.html)