It is not a race to see who can have the most experiences before we die because everything we do can be a new experience if we are able to see it with fresh eyes. My friend Arnie Nybak taught me that. During the two years I was his house companion, almost every day except for illness and Sundays, we would walk to his art studio along the same path. He always saw it differently. It was never the same boring journey for him. He saw the flower that was only a bud yesterday blooming today, and dying a day later. He noticed the bird’s nest being built by the swallows. He saw the hill eroding, followed the direction of the wind, and the trail of ants. He taught me to see with what Eastern teachers refer to as the beginner’s mind.
Each moment of living is a new experience we have never had before. Those who consider themselves experts or know-it-alls see things as they were or based upon memory of past experiences. They fail to see their experiences as fresh or new. They have tasted life and from that taste an assumption is made that the taste will always be the same. They fail to see that everything is not necessarily as it once was.
Our experiences of life are not meant to close our minds but to open them. We learn from our experiences but they can also close our minds to experiencing and seeing thing differently. It like wearing blinders. We only see in one direction. We fail to broaden our vision, our resources. We look only at what has solved the riddle in the past. The journey to Arnie’s studio was never again the same old trip I once thought it was. Each day provided me with a fresh journey and a new experience. That is part of being an artist of life.