Learn from Opposites

How can the pairing of opposites build our understandings of the world? Let’s explore and learn from opposites of beauty versus ugliness, hot opposite cold and joy against grief.

Beauty Opposite Ugliness

Sometimes while contemplating the concept of ugliness, beauty may be revealed. I was first introduced to this via an art professor. We were assigned the task of painting something in an ugly manner. At the time, I failed to understand how this could have a purpose. I honestly do not remember the critique discussion following the assignment. However, in looking back I know the exercise served to greatly loosen my style. I also found that even though I was striving for ugliness there was actually a sense of beauty in my color choices. It made me question – where does beauty end and ugliness begin?

If you are overwhelmed with some of the ugliness you may see in the world, take a contemplative look at it. Where do you observe a sense of beauty? What can you learn from these opposites?

Learn from Opposites of Hot and Cold

Perhaps thinking about the opposites of hot and cold could help. What temperature would you label as hot? What one is definitely cold? It may depend upon one’s climate or season. It also could be dependent upon whether one was trying to boil or freeze water. Sweat or shivers would also influence one’s answer.

It helps to think of opposites in regards to hot and cold. Remember that two hundred degrees Fahrenheit is cool compared to boiling water. Forty degrees is warm to an ice cube. It is all relative.

Joy Versus Grief

The British-American actor, Arthur Garfield, recently lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. He defines grief as unexpressed love. In dealing with his sorrow, he’s found art helps by “stitching up the wounds”. He exclaimed that he loved speaking about his mum, that it was okay if he cried as expressing this love for her is a beautiful thing.

Look at your grief, right in the eye. Imagine you are gazing into the beloved face of your departed loved one. Tell them now how much they mean to you. It is certainly natural to still love them and pine for them. Yes, there is grief and sorrow. Walk through it. Stroll with it. Where is the love in your situation? Are you grateful for the love you had? Tell them. Feel even just a tiny spark of joy in thinking of them and your times together. Entertain and feed that joy. For your sake, this floodgate of love must be opened.

When we encounter ugliness, cold or grief, we draw the energies of our body inward. Whereas experiencing beauty, hot or joy expands our energies outward.

Just as one person’s art is unique to oneself so is one’s grief. As an art teacher, I’d enjoy giving you license to create! Just as Arthur Garfield urges, art can help to ease our grief. If you are grieving, I invite you to write about it, sing about it, act it out or paint it. Look for the love in your grief, express it. You will find it. I imagine your loved one will know and you, my friend, will feel better.

For other posts on utilizing the arts to cope with grief, click on any of these: Art, Grief and Life, EMPOWERED LIVING, ERASE GRIEF, and BROKEN. If you enjoy my blog, please feel free to follow to receive a weekly post by email. Thanks for reading!

Published by Linda M. Wolfe

Midwestern mystic with varying amounts of mother, teacher, artist, seeker

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