The Hidden Art of Bonsai

• 4 min read
The Hidden Art of Bonsai

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My grandmother (I call her Aaji) was on zoom call with the Grandmaster of Bonsai a few weeks back. On the call, the Grandmaster said something remarkable.

For those who don't know, Bonsai is the art of cultivating small trees that look like full scale trees. In the past, bonsai has followed traditional forms. If bonsai didn't follow certain forms or techniques, it wasn't considered correct (Aaji correct me if I'm wrong).

But, now that we are in a new age of creativity the Grandmaster re-evaluated what Bonsai is about. He said bonsai must be an expression of who we are on the inside. They must convey what we feel. Bonsai isn't carefully copying a traditional form. Bonsai is a pure form of expression.

Artists have always been fascinating to me. How can a musician string a couple of notes together in a way that makes my heart beat slower? How can a writer put words together that fills me with a wistful nostalgia? How can a comedian tell a story that makes me laugh for a minute straight?

Creating a miniature tree that captures a slice of emotion must be so hard. If I wasn't my Aaji's grandson, I would have thought it impossible. But really, how is it any different than any other art?

My Aaji is an acclaimed Bonsai artist and teacher of her own accord (as you can tell from the picture above).

When she is out and about with others, they notice the weather, noise, and the people. She notices the trees. She is obsessed with the natural world and how it makes her feel. This is the truest mark of an artist. What she sees is a direct result of what's she obsessed with.

Hearing about her call with the Grandmaster made me realize our definition of artist is too narrow.

You too may be an artist and not even realize it.

Hope my newsletter can play a part in widening the definition of an "artist." Here it is:

Embrace Your Lazy

Quote of the Week:

“Travel is very useful and it exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue. Our own journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength. It goes from life to death. People, animals, cities, things, all are imagined. It’s a novel, simply a fictitious narrative.” - Louis Ferdinand Celine

Tweet of the Week:

Question of the Week:

How can thinking of your life as a story change how you view your life? How can you begin to rewrite the un-useful stories you tell yourself? How can you create re-usable useful stories?

This Week's Petri Dish

Seed 1:

Tim Ferris did a great episode with Chuck Palahniuk. If you're a writer, you NEED to listen to this one.

Seed 2:

A great quick read of great Nietzschean aphorisms. Here's one of my favs:

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he also become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. (Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146)
Nietzsche’s Top 15 Aphorisms, for Your Next Existential Crisis
Nietzsche loved aphorisms, and here we have collected 15 of his greatest hits.

Seed 3:

I have eclectic music taste. I like bedroom/indie pop, rock, folk, hip hop, oldies, and a lot of other music (except EDM...Don't talk to me about EDM). So, I love when two of my tastes are mashed up in one amazing package.

This is an amazing mashup of Kanye West and Death Cab for Cutie. Two artists you wouldn't think would go together, but totally do.

If you truly enjoy getting my newsletter, I would love to feature a testimonial from you on my newsletter website.

Click reply to this email and tell me what you like about my newsletter... I would really appreciate it.

I have a couple other "boring" updates to do to my newsletter and my website. But get hyped, I am carving time so I can work on this newsletter more. The future is full of value for you, my dear reader.

Many of you have told me that you like what I write, so now I'm emboldened to improve.

Good is not good enough.

Longer essays and a podcast may or may not be on the way ;)

I'll keep you updated.

Till the next lazy Sunday,


← How to Grow Old
Learning How to See →

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