Peeks and Piques! LEARNING CURVE
By Raymond J. Steiner
ART TIMES May 2014
I HAVE BEEN extremely fortunate in my life. For the first 35 years or so I blindly blundered through life, seeing much of America and foreign shores along the way, seeing, meeting and promptly forgetting as I moved along, memory banks and inner self largely untouched by my varied experiences. I was a wanderer, a seeker, a rolling stone that collected no moss — other than a few bumps and scars along the way. In recent days, I once tried to list all the jobs/occupations I had tried my hand at during those years, but soon lost interest as memory failed — the "been there, done that" syndrome kicked in and none of it really mattered anymore. When I related some of my early experiences and said that I regretted wasting almost half of my life, several friends remarked, "But that was your foundation. Those early experiences have all gone into the way you are and think now!" One even said how 'lucky' I was in having my life divided into, first, a time of 'hands-on' practical experience and then, when I matured, devoting my life to intellectual pursuits. Well, maybe they're right — I at least was able to build all my own bookcases in my home. My first marriage (in my early 30s) rooted me, and I held a job for the first time for longer than a week or two after 5 years of active duty in the Army (a two, followed by a three-year stint with an additional 3-year ‘on the road’ hiatus in-between military stretches). Then, after earning my B.A and M.A, I taught English (Basic, Comp, and Lit) at the middle school, high school and college levels for about 15 years. Becoming a father during this time deepened the roots. It was a time when I first learned how to take my outer experiences inward — the real beginning of my inner-directed growth. My students, especially at the middle school level, brought me into resources and insights, firmly setting me on my inner path. In truth, they taught me far more than I ever taught them; I would have them for one year — they, en masse, had me for 15 — all the time deepening and widening my hitherto limited tunnel vision of life. My second marriage (in my late 40s) rooted me even more deeply into my inner self, my 'soul' — my new wife and partner re-enforcing, encouraging, aiding, supporting, nurturing, the tender budding that my students had seeded. I left teaching, and with my new partner, co-founded ART TIMES in 1984 — continuing on my path of discovery into ever wider and deeper places in both my life and inner being. Not students this time, but artists — the primary focus of my role as editor/artwriter of our Journal. Delving into the inner resources of genuine creativity as found in my subjects of critiques and profiles, has afforded me more wisdom and fulfillment than I ever felt possible — much, much more than my earlier groping through rituals, religions, “paths” and philosophies in my search for ‘truth’. Now, at the age of 81, I feel closer to my “meaning” than ever before. I am indeed a very fortunate man.
Read more from Steiner at: rjsteiner.wordpress.com