Begin Anywhere

The beginning is the most important part of the work.  - Plato

Plato speaks to me.  I understand what he means.  If you don't begin, then there is no work.  Beginning is key.  Go into the studio and do something; do anything.  

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  -Lao-Tsu

When I've been procrastinating and paying attention to the ridiculous things, like reorganizing my bedroom closet, the linen closet, and the pantry - Really? YES! - then beginning is, indeed, the most important part of the work. 

But once I've begun?  Once I've begun, there are all those other most important parts of the work!  I know, I know - a superlative applies to just one thing.  There can be only one most beautiful girl in the world.  So, allow me to rephrase it: There are many aspects which are of the utmost importance. How's that?

What are those aspects? There are the obvious elements - choosing the right pieces of cloth, or thread, or buttons, and so forth.  That almost goes without saying.  A crucial aspect of the work involves being mindful, being with the piece, caring about the piece.  I have to feel the soul of the piece in order for it to work.  If it has no soul, then it is not complete.  And that's the other element that is as important as beginning:  ending.  And by this, I mean properly ending.  There is no such thing as "good enough."  It has to be right.   When it is right, it is perfect.  

Dre & Adeline with Charlie - A Particular Kind of Perfection

My new mantra, replacing Waste Not * Want Not, is Begin Anywhere.  Adeline introduced me to the phrase (it's attributed to John Cage) and I love it! Waste Not * Want Not  is an old lady scolding.  Begin Anywhere  is freedom and encouragement and no judgment.  And that's exactly what I need.  Maybe you do too.

Lately, when someone asks me for my card, and even sometimes when they don't, I hand them one of these.