I am a South Australian artist and writer who likes to examine various aspects of our world and represent them in personal ways. I love to paint Australian flora and landscape and I love to capture in writing the thoughts and actions that make up day-to-day life and to draw out their riches.
View all posts by Kirsten Johnston
6 thoughts on “The workplace”
When open plan offices became de rigeur. Sadly they are still thought by CEOs to enhance collaboration, even though these days there is no evidence to support this – in fact all evidence points to the opposite being true. BUT walls are the most expensive part of an office fit-out, so they remain in fashion.
And ‘hot-desking’ the next step. Oh dear.
I think this question most profound, and I have a deep belief that this whole false sense of work and “work place” began way back when we all, culturally, society-norm-wise and religiously/spiritually, let go of the understanding that PARENTING, is the original form or human work, endeavor, art and striving. And that parenting is the mechanism for holding the fabric of society together, the mechanism for both filtering out and channeling in what’s needed for a healthy, well community, and that it acts as the conduit or incubator for the development of elders, who hold both the art and keys to wisdoms needed for our human sustenance, on a sustainable earth. Parent work happens always from the place called home.
I think that as we inadvertently “let go” of parenting understanding, working toward, holding sacred and nurturing the mechanism of parenting, we deluded ourselves that aspects of parenting, called “specialized work” could be not just out sourced but infinitely divided – and as we fragmented an essential mechanism, the mechanism of parenting, it has become so busted to minuscule bits that the bits don’t actually even function as small out sourced workable units. Simply put, there are limits, and we have pushed beyond them, to where these have become the work spaces from which respite and retreat has to be taken to “get anything done”: these places are actually potholes.
I believe that true art, with its beauty, wisdom, interpretation, emotive nuance, pain and paradoxes stems from the mechanism of creativity. Creativity requires a bringing forth from the workplace as a whole, which is actually from inside of the mechanism of parenting! Parenting is the work place, the work space, in its infinite facets: yes those facets are infinite, but no, they are not infinitely divisible: when divided too, too small, they become potholes.
This is perhaps why very young people, in their yet unfinished cocoons spun by parenting, can so easily access their creativity – they are living still inside the mechanism of wisdoms, inside the art of being human, inside the art of creativity and so they brush up easily with creativity and meld new things. They have yet to metamorphose and wriggle out to autonomy, cooperative independence and then interdependence to become evolving parents themselves.
I think that when we begin understanding that even some of our very young emergent citizens are using raw creativity to breach the voids and gaps in humanity, and bring voice, song, interpretation and a pull of togetherness and direction toward wholeness, we will truly begin to reassess this whole loss of understanding of the parenting thing. It is then that we will begin to know that art, the culmination of bits of work from this parent mechanism, is a form of parenting expression so profound that it cannot spring from the overly fragmented confines of spaces so specialized in theoretical nature, that they have lost connectivity, and become energy sinks. Energy sinks need infilled, like potholes, and yes, they need to be infilled by smart energetic types who bring gobs and excess creativity to their cubicles; but know that the pothole itself is the receptacle of that infill, not the place of the creation of that fill. It sort of like a dump truck bring fill to a big, big whole: it has to run back and forth to get the fill.
As Tania points out walls are expensive – I’ll expand the thought to include that this can be both literally and metaphorically: and while walls can connect and channel, they so often divide. Why else was the world so euphoric when the Berlin Wall, after so long, came down? And why is humanity so miserable and fraught as the USA debates a southern boarder wall, or Australia uses a “wall of water” to further strand asylum seekers on ocean islands, eroding sanity and humanity, as climate change rises the seas? And why are humans so intent on learning from the history of the Great Wall of China?
Therefore, to survive, as from time immemorial, we bring our energy from home, that place where the baby-to-be to infant to child to parent continuum exists, that place where the fueling, affirming aspects exist of parenting our selves, our children, loved ones, family and friends and community. This is how it has always been, since the beginning of time, this is the central point of many or most religions: the light/fuel/energy/meaning IS within, home & parenting IS within and so forth.
I add that the greater expense to humanity is to support, over and again, this avariced CEO type model and pothole false work place mess: better that we spend that energy we bring from home, whatever that is for each of us, on actual art. This art might on occasion include finding that parent related connection between the users of the pothole riddled work spaces – that we, as innately parent wise, may allow some riddled roads to decay, and be replaced by the path untrodden, as we both return and turn to less paved but more sustainable practices:
And therein lies the art of art, with our collective creativity contributing, each particle and energy field combining for the greater good, from where we both parent and are parented, from home.
Home is where the heart is!
And in the paraphrased words of the famed French pilot, St Exupery:
It is only with the heart that one can really see: what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Wow! So many thoughts in there. So much to digest. As someone who struggled with parenting in early years I find it challenging to read. But thank you. It will be interesting to see how I view things that crop up around both work and home in the next little while. I’ll let you know of any insights!
Dear Kirsten I think that we ALL find parenting unrelentingly challenging in the early years and those who don’t seem really deluded into a false sense of parenting success, and seem to sense more tugging struggles at various other junctions along the way, or simply miss completely the profundity of longer term connect: as I deeply contemplate this wholeness spring or well, the art, the mechanism, I begin to realize the unfathomable depth of implications: it is most likely only because of my own inadequacies, ridiculous drive of youthful endeavor and naivety that I sought to take on this art and aspire to improvement initially, joking with myself that I’d traded a conventional PhD opportunity, for one in parenting: little did I know that the joke was totally on me, and that no such thing on this planet exists… yet empirically it’s the PhD we all strive for, albeit it will never be conferred. Biological kids or philanthropical ones of our sphere are the buoys or islands of rest in the vast moving ocean of parent art swimming; they provide that stasis, complexity, pressure, uplift and pause, amid the exhaustion of treading water and floating, between bouts of swimming on, on, on. I’m left with our cultures paradigm from within which I exist: we all create, and are thus artists, we are also all known parents, the question becomes, irrespective of biological children, of what?
Hitler is the modern day father of hate, oppression, twisted torture and brutality, murderer of my ancestors, Mother Teresa the single mother of love, dying and compassion to the poor… Bill & Melinda Gates parents of techno-speed and wealth asset health philanthropy. Sometimes the scope of the what expands beyond the originator’s wildest intentions or imagination, because their home, thus their “work place”, their parenting or mechanism, is immeasurably authentic, unique and intricate and for reasons neither they nor others at the time new: perhaps this is because the originator, the artist was raw enough and brave enough to have NO walls.
Your watercolor eucalyptus are modern day Charles Gardiner, with a mother’s, a parent’s, a family’s touch: the balm of a medicine woman emanates from the paper and paint with an affirming lightness and penetrating softness that encompasses all. For and from this healing art I am humbled, grateful, in awe and inspired.
💙 Thank you