The door was just open, and people were walking in and out. It seemed a little odd because there was no sign, and it was across the street from the real draw…the Picasso Museum. But the door WAS open. That is like a welcome sign to me.
Five stories of art studios, no seeming structure or management. Just artists being artists in a place run by artists. Pay if you want, stay if you want, vacate if you want. There were some interesting studios, but I was most intrigued by the voyeuristic feeling of looking into someone’s life when they weren’t there (kind of like Facebook now). At the top of this post is the one studio that caught my eye. I have no idea who the artist was, or if he ever achieved much notice (it was 13 years ago). Maybe now he’ll finally get famous.
A note on wandering. A few people went in and out of the building while I stood there on this Paris street. Perhaps for some it was their workspace, probably most were just wandering in wondering what this place was. It took a second for me to be snap into an exploring mode, and walk on in. The uninitiated might think “There is no sign…I don’t know what’s in there…it could be dangerous…for God’s sake, there might be art in there!” and never take the risk to step inside. But the greatest surprises are enjoyed by the risk-takers.
Never taking risk is like cutting off the truly amazing part of the experience of life. Equate not taking risk with never stepping out of your own fears. You know the feeling of adrenaline you feel when you step out of the shadow of your fear and try something new, different, or hard. Then when you complete your step you are glad you ventured forth. We live under the weight of so many fears–what do people think of me, who will I disappoint, will this hurt, I don’t want to fail, I don’t want to confront that person… A long list. Please make your own list, it’s a good exercise.
Do you really want to be marked by never taking the step to challenge your fears? Challenge them. Tackle small fears at first like trying a new food, or a food you have hated. Then go for bigger ones. Wandering and exploring is an easy way to take steps forward. Take the right rather than the left. Give yourself some extra time on a drive to find someplace new. Walk into a building with no sign on it.
I lived my first 36 years in California. My job position was moving to Orlando. I didn’t want to live in Florida. So I dug in my feet, fully intent on staying right where I was comfortable. The thought of moving, leaving the people and community I love felt like death to me. The 9-month struggle to decide about moving was exhausting and anxiety producing. When I finally decided I’d go and try living somewhere other than my blessed homeland, there was a peace but I still had to take proactive steps forward. I found I actually liked Orlando, and that this was a good change for me. I realized change wasn’t so bad. But the truly amazing part was because I faced that change, I had strength to tackle even bigger challenges. I began to wonder what kind of person I would have become had I not faced my fear of moving. Would I continue to shrink back from other opportunities? Would I ever take steps forward? My life is totally different for the better because I took that risk. All sorts of awesome things are a part of my life because I challenged my fears. Truly, blessed are the risk takers. For the greatest surprises await those who risk.