“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
~ Henry David Thoreau~
I have loved this quote since I was in high school and while I find it relatively easy to let others keep step with their different drummer; I have found as an individual it is difficult to figure out what different drummer I hear. As I have grown older I have found that listening to that different drummer takes a great deal of introspection and effort. Truly following that different drummer without hesitation and with all my heart is the hardest part of all.
One small example comes from learning to do the Mandalas. In the directions it said to go with the flow don't think about it, just use the shape that comes to mind. What the video showed were small shapes and my Mandala ended up small and intricate. See my post 'Mandalas' from October. It was meditative but would have been more so if I wasn't fighting the urge to do larger more stylized shapes. I enjoyed what I was drawing but how much more I would enjoy it by following the different drummer that was trying to be heard. When I did listen this is what I got.
In looking at the picture I was able to figure out what it was about this picture that made me love this picture as opposed to just liking the first one. I love the contrast between then the small details and the swooping lines. I love the wide space of rich colors and texture. I love the deep rich colors and the bright, light highlights that add sparkle. I colored it on GIMP so I could get those colors and the textures which I also like. I find coloring in with colored pencils extremely relaxing but it takes a long time to get that kind of rich color and I wanted to see how this would turn out quicker than using the pencils. I am going to do one with pencils to complete my following of that different, distant drummer.
Even though this is just a small example; how often do we follow the crowd or the social instructions all the time with that different, distant drummer whispering to us that there are other ways that we could enjoy ourselves so much more. Following the crowd enters our lives so often and it is only through either introspection first and courage to follow through or trying something new and different and then considering what made the experience special that we can follow that different drummer. I'm in my 50's and I'm still figuring out what my different drummer is and how best to follow it. With my introspection and trying to find my path I always make sure that it fits with those behaviors that I know are moral and correct. Following the crowd when it is moral and correct brings about the greatest joy and happiness, especially when we use our own special style and talents.