The Art of Reconnection

Time and Tide: Cornwall

Time and Tide: Cornwall

"To be ill-adjusted to a deranged world is not breakdown." (Jeanette Winterson)


A few days ago, I found myself concluding an academic workshop on artfulness in organisational change with the words, "..and I really couldn't live without it.."

I will confess, it was surprise to hear myself say that.

Did I overstate the case for artfulness and creativity? The preceding weeks had been tough and the workshop was a blessed relief but, no, I don't think so...  

Ellen Dissanayake, a behavioural biologist, links art and aesthetics to sensuality and says we shouldn't be surprised if what feels good in most cases really is good for us. Like Richard Sennett, she says that our human brains and minds evolved alongside the skills of crafting and making which in turn enabled us to cope with our ancestral environments. Now, when we engage in getting 'hands on', simply doing what we were born to do, we can evoke a sense of  being at home in the world.

So this week, after days battling against the abstracted, anonymous systems of the everyday business world, unhelpful technology, pointless control mechanisms, boring bureaucracy... I could feel myself coming unglued. 

This time I made a deliberate, pre-emptive leap into a different space.

I know that my photographs and images reconnect me to myself.  They always have.  So I stepped out of organisational politics and power games to spend time back among my images... Playing, editing, reframing.  I found I was reconstituting my creative self with each photograph and each memory.  

The picture of rocks and surf from early one morning on the Cornish coast settled me. I'd felt restless, agitated and spent a few days there, sleeping in a tent by the beach, feeling my way through the rhythms of life, looking, observing and paying keen attention to how I experienced the world around me.  I was restored by the water and rocks, the movement and stillness, the depth and steady rhythm of the tide. 

It's easy to skate across the surface of organisational life;  slowly, collusively, diminishing ourselves as we become steadily ensnared in minor conflicts, frustrations and annoyances.

Stepping out of the game, finding evocations of a different quality of being, paying deep attention to the world. I think this kind of reconnection is at the heart of  creative change.

And more than that. I don't think it's optional. We really can't live without it.




A couple of fabulous books by Ellen Dissanayake: Art and Intimacy and Homo Aestheticus.

And check out Richard Sennett's, 'The Craftsman.'

You might enjoy Charles Bukowski's 'Air and light and time and space' (baby) on Brain Pickings.