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v. practice & pomegranates: beginning

Pomegranates really aren't an airplane-friendly food.

They’re probably right up there with canned tuna on the list of foods that will get you a hefty glare from your plane neighbor if you decide to dig in during a flight.

Not to mention, pulling out the sharp knife you’d need to cut into a pomegranate on a plane would probably get you into trouble with the law. 

You might be better off bringing an apple or banana.

I mean, apples and bananas are definitely lower maintenance than pomegranates. 

Pomegranates are messy and take a bit of work to enjoy. 

Anyone who eats and enjoys pomegranates, though, knows that they’re special.

The way their arils glitter like tiny little rubies, the way they pop between the teeth when bitten into…

Beginning to practice art of any kind is like deciding to eat a pomegranate. 

You are the pomegranate. 

This fruit, this body.

It looks pretty interesting on the outside but is even more complex and beautiful and multi-layered on the inside. 

If you begin to practice your instrument or your painting or your writing or whatever else it may be, you will have to open. 

If your outer shell is really hard or you feel especially closed,

which I have experienced plenty of times, 

it’ll probably be a challenging start.

You might experience resistance, discomfort, or frustration. 

Once you’ve opened, you’ll encounter what is called, when we are talking about pomegranates, the pith, that white part between the skin and the seeds, and will begin to peel it away. When we are talking about humans, we use a more elegant, professional term: bullshit.

The pith is life… it’s all the stuff layering on top of our glittery parts: the difficult things we have experienced, our self-doubt, all of the reasons we can think of not to start, all the things that want to keep us closed.

Anytime we start to practice, the pith will be there.

It’s okay that it’s there. 

It's just part of the fruit.

When we find ourselves covered with all of this bullshit, we can still make art. 

Our glittering parts are still there. 

Although there are hundreds of them, the glittering jewels of creativity, we might only, on our first tries, be able to peel away enough stuff to reach a few of them. 

We might spend a lot of time digging and ultimately reach what feels like a relatively small result.

We might leave a disaster in the kitchen, walls and floor and who-knows-where-else splattered with pomegranate juice, dishes in the sink. 

The beginning phases of practice are messy.

The mess is an inevitable part of discovering anything satisfying. 

Trying to avoid this mess in anticipation of a desired final product leaves us stuck, mess-less, maybe, but also fruit-less. 

Glimpses of what we hope to access when we into art begin to surface when we engage with all of the other stuff around it, when we allow ourselves to be honest and to sit with the awkward, not-beautiful, tough, pithy phases for as long as necessary.

You probably wouldn't bring a pomegranate onto an airplane.

You probably also wouldn't burst into song or dance or spontaneous canvas painting on an airplane (though I kind of wish you would because it would make for a more entertaining plane ride for all involved).

Even though it's a different one, a pomegranate is a cool, unique fruit.

It’s a fruit worth looking into, worth trying out. 

To dig in and explore around, should the urge come. 

Messes can be cleaned up and the fruit tastes good. 


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