Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lessons From Barcelona


Funny how some things continue to reverberate through one's mind for some time. A particularly thought provoking book or film for example, sometimes rattles around in my head for weeks, months, years. My recent trip to Barcelona is still rattling in there too, and I think I have gained some interesting perspectives from the time we spent there.
The first thought I keep returning to was sparked by a quotation from Gaudi I came across on our first day in the city. It struck me so much at the time that I wrote it down. On the subject of his passion and masterwork, La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi wrote:

"I will not finish or develop further the fragments of model of the bell towers on the main facade. I have decided to leave it only scheduled so that another generation will collaborate on the Temple, as is repeatedly seen in the history of cathedrals.

The work of the Sagrada Familia progresses slowly because the master of this work is in no great hurry."


I find this an amazing and inspiring attitude. Gaudi was completely obsessed with his creation, even living at the construction site so that he could devote all his time to the work in hand. And yet he was able to stand back enough, trust enough, to leave some of the vision to unknown, perhaps as yet unborn others to complete. I know that I would find that really hard. I may not be building a cathedral - only painting a wooden box, fringing a shawl or moulding a mask, but I have in my head a clear idea of what I want it to be. I would find it incredibly hard to hand over to someone else, and even if I did, the temptation to stand over the project supervising would be overwhelming. And this was Gaudi's master work, almost his raison d'etre. How incredible to have that trust in the unknown future... I find that very humbling and very inspiring.
In the second part of the quote I initially thought Gaudi was referring to himself as 'the master of this work', but on reflection I think he meant God. I think he meant that as the work he was doing was for God, only God need worry about how long it took to complete. And as God is immortal, then he is not at all worried.
I may not worship the same God as Gaudi, but I like the idea of dedicating our creative endeavours to whatever we hold sacred, be it spirit, God, Goddess, the ocean or our beloved ones. It gives the creative process a whole extra dimension, and, I suspect, gives added integrity to the process. For in creating as an act of devotion to that we hold sacred, how could we possibly turn out shoddy, sub standard or rushed results?

5 comments:

Tempewytch said...

A poignant post there, both from the point of view of trust (in Gaudi's case future generations) and in your Deity of choice.

Nothing else for it though - you will have to keep going back there for regular infusions of sun and serenity!

Griffin said...

Well, like you, Gaudi was a Cancerian too, so yes it does show a remarkable ability to let go.

He didn't entirely leave it to future generations to do what they liked tho', the cathedral was designed by him. The building work could go on after him, but it would be still to his design.

And when you're as good as he was, who's going to have the unbridled nerve to tamper with your design?

There may also be a hint of knowledge of Moorish design in that comment too. I am sure I read that the Muslims always leave a flaw in the pattern/design out of respect because only God is perfect and can create perfection.

That said, I'm more like you, I want to finish what I started. But then Scorpios are just as bad at letting go!

dragonfly said...

How beautiful and profound. I love this post so moving. Truly expansive and yet also touching what you describe. I often wonder how people who have dared to remember and re-connect with Divinity experience. Like AMMA who gives she I can think and see how much she gets back. She has such a huge vision and can be so intimate.Touching. To be touched.

:o)) Elizabeth

Reya Mellicker said...

do you think it's a different god, or a different way of worshipping the same god?

Whatever. Gaudi was amazing. Beautiful picture; I would love to see that in "real life" sometime.

The Awakened Heart said...

I agree. It does show a remarkable trust in the Universal way of things. I would find it SO hard to do that. But then I find it SO hard to let go of anything. No matter how small. A lesson for us all I think.