The Wisdom of a Starry Night

I had a totally different post planned for today. I knew what I wanted to say, and the pictures I wanted to use. I had it all ready to go in my head. Except that when I sat down to work on it, I got…sidetracked. Trying so hard to check more and more things off of my to-do lists, wanting to work harder and harder and do more and more has gotten my brain jumbled up and tired and left me sort of deflated. Sitting down to write, I just could not focus. And so as often happens to me when I get distracted, I ended up on Pinterest. Of course.

About 20 minutes of scrolling through images I stumbled across this quote:

“I put my heart and soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”

-Vincent Van Gogh

Hmmm. This felt relevant. This led me to more research about Vincent Van Gogh, which then led me to more of his quotes and insights on life and art. I’ve always appreciated Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork, but only recently have I started reading more about his personal history. Despite the beautiful masterpieces he left behind, the artist’s life was very tragic. Struggling with mental illness and poverty for most of his life, Van Gogh still managed to find the incredible beauty in the world around him, and brilliantly conveyed it to canvas in works that have inspired and uplifted millions worldwide. But Van Gogh was not only an incredible painter, he was also a deep-thinker with a real appreciation for nature, love and art. So here are five great quotes from Vincent Van Gogh that inspired me and made me think.

“I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream. ”

There is nothing like gazing into the night sky at the millions and millions of stars to spark your imagination. Van Gogh’s work often reflected this theme, especially notable in works like the aptly named “The Starry Night,” and “Starry Night Over the Rhône.”

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. ”

Practice your craft, the best way to silence your inner demons is just to do, and not overthink. This is something I struggle with a lot, especially with my writing. Vincent Van Gogh loved to paint, and he did what he loved and tried not to worry about the voices of the critics, especially the inner one. He never received the credit he deserved for his work during his lifetime, which is terribly sad. For him the desire to paint was stronger than his fear, and to me that is incredibly powerful.

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

How many times are we too afraid to try because it seems dangerous to put yourself out there? I know for me it’s all the time. Reading this reminds me to continue trying, continue growing, and to not let fear keep me from venturing outside of my comfort zone.

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done with love is well done.”

Love is the most powerful force in existence. I know that sounds like a cliche, but it’s one I strongly believe is rooted in fact. It overcomes everything, it heals everything, and at the end of the day it is all we have. In my life there are so many occasions where I get frustrated, where I doubt myself and what I’m doing. In those times, it helps me to remember why I do things, and remember that what I do needs to be done with love. Love for my art, for others, for the world, for humanity. When I center myself that way my work flows the way it feels its supposed to.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? ”

What would it be indeed? Existence itself is a challenge and a struggle, and to strive to better oneself and challenge ourselves to grow and conquer obstacles is hard. So hard sometimes we feel like quitting. There have been times when I literally sat in my desk chair, flattened by fear. And oftentimes, I have remained there, and have stayed for a very long time. But other times, I’ve managed to get up and try to work through the fear. Those times, that courage, is what I want to work towards and what I strive for.

I hope that these words from Vincent Van Gogh, the tortured, brilliant artist, give you insight and inspiration and help you on your way towards accomplishing your goals today and everyday 🙂 Happy creating!

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