The Beaty of Art part 11 - The answers

Did you know the answers to tbe Beauty of Art part 11?

The painting is one of many that illustrates the biblical story  "Song of songs". The painting is Song of Songs IV.

The artist is Marc Chagall, or as he was named when he was born in what was then Russia, today Belarus: Moishe Shagal.

The painting makes you think about: 

Ikaros, Russian icons, dreams, warmth and strength.

I also feel the warmth thanks to the beautiful, strong colours and when watching the painting I feel like I am in the middle of a storybook.

Like so many other painters of his time, Marc Chagall went to Paris to develop his art. He returned to Russia to marry Bella, the love of his life. He described their first meeting as follows:

"Her silence is mine, her eyes mine. It is as if she knows everything about my childhood, my present, my future, as if she can see right through me."

His plan was to return to France shortly after the wedding, but the first world war stopped them from leaving Russia.

A few years later they went to France again, where they lived happily while Marc continued with his art work. He was so involved in it that he did not realize the dangers that the second world war brought for jews like himself. In the nip of time he and his wife were able to flee to the US.

When Europe was free again, Marc returned to France.

Marc Chagall survived two world wars and lived to be 97 years old. During his long life he created art in many different ways and styles.  Picasso supposedly said:
"When Matisse dies Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is".
To learn more about Chagall and to see more of his beautiful paintings, take a look at this Artsy page.

Those of you who enjoyed the movie Notting Hill, may remember that this Chagall painting, La Mariée,plays a role in that movie, as you can see in this 2 min long youtube clip.

Thanks for participating!


The Beauty of Art: Part 11

Welcome back to another Beauty of Art! Please let me know what you know and think about the following painting:

What is the painting called?
Who is the artist?
How does the painting make you feel?

The answers, including yours, will come in the next blog post!


Do you make pear-turns in your life?

My oldest son will soon turn 16. In Sweden, that means he can start to drive. Or rather, it means he can start to learn to drive. With a tutor next to him. To become a tutor, you need to attend a course.

We were lucky, the course instructor we had was very easy to listen to. He had a lot of experience as a professional teacher for driving students and he conveyed his learnings in a funny way.

One of the many things he shared, was that drivers-to-be often make "päronsvängningar" or pear-turns. On the white board he drew a picture like this to explain that expression:

Instead of looking where they are heading, the students often look at what they are afraid to collide with - be it a parked car or a side walk - and they do not turn towards their actual goal until rather late, making the turn pear-shaped.
"Look where you're going"
is an obvious statement that comes to mind and that we as tutors will most likely tell our students over and over again.

When I listened to the story about the "päronsvängningar", it occurred to me that the same applies for life in general. We want to keep our eyes on the goal, but many focus on their fears, their possible failures and disappointments, and take pear-turns on their way to their goals.

If you go straight towards your goal and ignore your fears, you will simply pass them by. 

The more you focus on the fears, on what worries you or what makes you unhappy, the bigger pear- turns you will make and the longer it will take you to reach your goal.

I am sure the coming two years of driving with my son will be interesting. We will learn a lot about driving and most likely a lot about life as well. Especially during each pear-turn.


Beyond sorrow there is awareness

 “Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker." 
You have most likely heard this phrase, written by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In English the quote is often translated to:
"What does not kill me makes me stronger."
What does stronger mean to you?

It can mean something negative. Like getting hardened, possibly less empathetic, maybe even bitter after surviving an ordeal of some kind.

It can also mean that you become better prepared for coming difficulties. 

One way to become better prepared, to become stronger, is to learn more about yourself.

If we see hardships as opportunities to learn, what can we learn about ourselves in times of sorrow?

We can become aware of desctructive behaviours we may have. Behaviours that are always in our way, but we do not see them when we feel alright. It is only in times of stress and sorrow they grow so big we suddenly see what others have noticed all the time.

For many years during my career as a leader in product development, people have told me to speak up, share more of my ideas, take more space and be more visible. It was never really clear to me what to do with that feedback.

Then I noticed my reaction in times of sorrow. When I am in pain, I hide. Like an animal licking its wounds before returning to the pack.

This is a behaviour of mine. Dealing with pain by withdrawing. The less obvious version of this behaviour is that I keep myself safe by not fully opening up and engaging with others as much as I could. That was a useful learning for me.

Maybe you are the complete opposite. Maybe you look for comfort outside yourself rather than inside of you. Maybe you overeat, drink too much alcohol or use pain killers when you grieve. Chances are you do some of this also in your normal life. Eating a bit too much of unhealthy foods, drinking a bit more than is good for you.

If you observe yourself when you are in pain, you will be able to understand yourself better. That understanding can be a stepping stone to making a change.

There is more to learn from times of hardship, something a lot more positive: Your life's purpose. 

There are things you do, no matter how tough life is. Things that are such a big part of you, that you do them no matter what.

For me, stories come to me all the time, regardless of how I feel.  They just come. I read and write also in times of sorrow. And I listen, and dance to music, both when I am happy and when I am sad.

What do you do, also when times are rough?
Maybe you paint, no matter what. Maybe you run or do gardening. Maybe you make or listen to music. Maybe you call your best friend regularly. Maybe you crunch numbers.

Whatever you "always" do, almost without thinking about it, is most likely connected to your life's purpose. Keep that something in your life!

I am not going to wish you a life without sorrow. Hardships come with the package, just as shadows only appear in sunlight.

But I do wish that you learn something each time you are in pain.  That way, you can live the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche and ensure that whatever does not kill you, will make you live a better life.