This weekend I attended a performance art workshop hosted by Visual Arts KZN South Africa and run by Mlu Zondi. Mlu is a world-renown performance artist and it was an amazing opportunity for me to be able to receive instruction from him, fortuitous as well, considering that my exam piece at the year end will be. in fact, a performance piece. I am here to tell you, nothing will take you out of your comfort zone like having to get up in front of a room full of strangers and performing impromptu, performing the emotion an image, just recently presented to you, evokes for a full five minutes! Five minutes can be an eternity.
Last night in melancholy Sunday night mode, I reflected upon the workshop and my experiences there, and that thought that five minutes can be, and is, an eternity. Our lives consist of these blocks of five minute moments and that is how we remember experiences, in these five minute blocks. Time rounds off the edges of memories, fades the vividness of experiences, waters down the emotions felt. You cannot and will not retain any event in its entirety…BUT…you will remember certain moments for an eternity. Its like, for example, having an image of a forest in your mind: you will carry a general picture of it but you will never be able to picture every single tree. However, if you are fortunate, there will be one or two that you remember with great clarity.
Try and recall the first time you made love, remember that very first time, or even the first time you made love to a new love. You don’t remember the awkwardness or the clumsiness, or the passion even. You remember a gesture or a word, a caress, perhaps a sigh. This is how you remember your life: in little moments. All that has happened to me with regards my recent love, though extremely emotionally and psychologically painful now, will slowly begin to fade, and all that will remain are a few vivid moments. In this case, because of circumstances, these will be mostly be unpleasant memories but I will most certainly not remember every moment in its entirety (thank goodness). It is as if we have been engineered to move forward and create new moments. It does not do to dwell on the past. Take those moments you have retained and, should you choose to, unpack them on special occasions, but importantly go out and make new memories. Live your life by creating those moments, have the courage to put yourself out there, take yourself out of your comfort zone. You will not create anything worthwhile sitting in pubs drinking yourself stupid nor in front of a tv dumbing yourself down, not that doing either does not have its place in your life. But go to a concert instead of listening to a cd, or go for a run in the rain instead of on a treadmill, or read a book that makes you contemplate our place in this world or go to a gallery and stand in front of a work of art and allow it to overwhelm, swim in the ocean, kiss softly and deeply and with lingering sensuality. Those are moments.
There is a big picture but it is made up of thousands and thousands of brushstrokes of paint. Each brushstroke is a moment you create and together they combine to make the picture of your life. The colours used are by and large selected by you: what colours will your life consist of? Will it be dull colours or will you choose vivid and vital colours. Your choices will make all the difference in the painting that is your life: the big picture.