Start with the toes…

I recently had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Ron Mueck exhibition with my daughter. The pieces are breath taking, confronting, grotesque, beautiful and perfectly formed.

After I had experienced the exhibition through my eyes I went back and looked at how others were reacting to the pieces and with these two perspectives in mind, I discovered something remarkable.

The larger pieces were viewed from a distance, probably because of their size and their confronting nature. It was easier for the brain to manage the enormity and scope of the pieces from a distance. If you can imagine being a very small mouse looking up at an elephant you can get a sense of what it felt like to be viewing these larger exhibits.

People moved in very close to the smaller pieces as the need to see every small detail and feature became important. These pieces were scrutinised as they were safer and easier for the brain to contend with.

I was struck by how this could be applied to life. When we are confronted by a huge experience, much bigger than ourselves (moving house, new baby, marriage, divorce, travel etc) we tend to become overwhelmed and unable to focus completely on the experience. We feel the need to step back and enjoy the experience from afar without fully immersing ourselves. It all just feels too big to manage.

Now compare this with our reaction to a smaller experience, where we step into the experience and take control. It’s manageable, it’s small and we can cope. We feel comfortable and we allow ourselves the time and space to really explore the experience and enjoy it.

With this thought in mind, I decided to revisit one of the larger pieces (the new born baby) and view it with a similar mindset as above. To do this successfully, I needed to identify a starting point and block out all the other parts of the exhibit. When I had scrutinised that part I could move onto the next part. So, I started with the toes. I really experienced the wonder of the toes, I noticed the tiny wrinkles, the tiny nails and the way the toes squashed together. Only when I felt that I had truly understood those toes did I move on.

It worked!

The next time you have a huge experience that feels too big for you, why not break it down into smaller manageable chunks so that you can enjoy every bit of it.

Start with the toes…


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jakeanthony
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 07:02:46

    I really like your ideas here Judy. It is so true!


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