Monday, March 27, 2017

Words of Wisdom from the Airline Stewardess

True wisdom doesn't have to come from the expected sources. Life lessons can be learned in the most ordinary situations. The trick is to just listen... then apply the knowledge.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten was from the airline stewardess. Not a particular one on a particular airline, but every one who's ever done the safety demonstration portion on the inflight passenger announcements (I think they were harder to ignore when a live person did this standing in the aisle instead of on a video screen in the back of the seat in front of you so I'm not sure if people these days really listen to what the stewardess is saying, but, if you do...) At some point, as they are talking about what to do if the oxygen masks drop down, they will say something to the effect: 
"If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person." 
"If you really want to help someone else, you need to help yourself first." OR "If you help yourself first, then you will be able to help others."
So, if you are an Artist in Denial, the first step is to "Admit it." I introduced that concept in the last post: "Admit it. Do it. Share it." After you've admitted you are an "Artist in Denial" and that making art (visually, writing, performing, etc.) is a source of happiness and purpose for you and that denying that truth is a source of unhappiness, the second step is to "Do it." It will make you happy. It will give you a higher sense of purpose. It's like finding oxygen in a vacuum. Which leads directly to the third step: "Share it." Now that you've found your oxygen, you can help others. That's what I think art is all about. The artist recognizes something beautiful or identifies a common situation or fundamental truth and shares it with others. People who identify with the artist, and the statement he/she is making, realize they are not alone in their joy, pain, or fears. Art brings us together. It builds community. It helps us navigate life. It's an intensely personal interaction of one person helping another. Maybe not as obvious as strapping on an oxygen mask; but, it's important just the same. But, it all starts with you. You have to "Do it."

Near the end of the inflight passenger announcements, the stewardess has another great bit of advice:
"If you are seated next to an emergency exit, please read the special instructions on the card located in the seat pocket in front of you. If you do not wish to perform the functions described in the event of an emergency, please ask a flight attendant to reseat you."
In other words..
"If you don't want to participate, go somewhere else." 


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