Seeking Wisdoms

Painting by Artist Andrew Conti

A Beginner With 2 Arrows, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015, 36″ x 20″

“A certain man who was learning archery faced the target with two arrows in his hand. But his instructor said, ‘ A beginner ought never to have a second arrow; for as long as he relies upon the other, he will be careless with his first one. At each shot he ought to think that he is bound to settle it with this particular shaft at any cost.’ Doubtless he would not intentionally act foolishly before his instructor with one arrow, when he has but a couple. But, though he may not himself realize that he is being careless, his teacher knows it.
You should bear this advice in mind on every occasion. (In the same way) he who follows the path of learning thinks confidently in the evening that the morning is coming, and in the morning that the evening is coming, and that he will then have plenty of time to study more carefully ; less likely still is he to recognize the waste of a single moment. How hard indeed is it to do a thing at once-now, the instant that you think of it !”


I don’t particularly care to get involved in the deep wash of internet productivity sites, and easy access inspiration. That stuff is all well and good, I just see my experiences, ideas, and most importantly my work going in different directions.

That said, I rather like the thought in this quote from Yoshida Kenkou in ‘Essays in Idleness’ (徒然草). Of course, on the one hand this seems to simply be saying, live for the moment and stay focused on the now, but I like what it says in terms of work, especially for a creative’s work.

When you get so full of ideas that you could explode, you start to spread yourself thin. If you aren’t all in with one idea, one piece, one project, your mind can get sucked dry. Even when you don’t feel it happening. So, if each work is an arrow, you have to stay attuned to it and to it alone.

It strikes me as rather good advice for the day.