I suspect I have an inflexible mindset. It troubles me, especially since I have learnt, via TED, that flexible and adaptive mindsets are the key to success for our youth and for people in general. How worrisome that my brain interprets things the same way and really doesn’t like to budge when it thinks it knows best. A growth mindset, is what it is called when your brain allows possibilities to happen. Why is it that my growth mindset is fair-weather, and only chooses to appear in certain situations? Why does it not grab hold of me, each and every day, when I am groggy in the morning or unable to muster the energy for simple tasks, and shout at me ‘see this differently’, ‘leave the house’ and ‘do something you don’t much fancy, trust me on this, you’ll feel so much better’. I sometimes wonder if leaving the governance of me up to me is the best plan…
And so it was that I found myself bargaining with myself to go to the Tate when I really didn’t feel like it. I had the perfect excuse (forgotten membership card) so I couldn’t do my intended activity, and such small impediments have, in the past, been the foundation of many a giving-up. But not this time! Into the gallery I went, and round the permanent collections. I saw new things, and familiar sights too. What became immediately apparent (and I am so horrified that these things come at me like revelations when they are known fact) was how quickly the change of location puts me in a different state of mind. How the opening up of space, and the art contained within, allows my brain to become free of daily concerns and able to just enjoy the spectacle. Not only this, which is so obvious and pedestrian, but how the gallery becomes a source of inspiration that is directly relevant to whatever I am worried about, wondering about, working on at the time.
A quick journey into the Tanks and I come across an installation of concrete buoys, connected by rope, with audio tracks layered and surrounding. The immediate thoughts of connection, allows me to reflect on the links within the Makers & Tools project, and those ties that are not easy to see but which if you follow the thread you will find the end points. I enjoy the three dimensionality of the work, how I am able to walk all the way round and see these masses and the tangles surrounding them, how they interact with each other visually as you move. And then, reading the panel only after I have circled the field, discovering that the work is entitled ‘What are you going to do?’ and feeling like that is all I was thinking while I walked around.
I made a quick tour of some of the other rooms, my preferred permanent collection highlights. And even then, some new acquisitions stood out – textile pieces and works beyond painting, rolls of canvas hung up. In my head I had been worrying about how to present Sarah’s wall hanging, and the Tate provided some suggestions. I know this is nothing divine, it is merely an outlet for my brain to make the connections between its inner workings and the outside world. But my day-to-day world offers few moments or opportunities for this. And this is why I should maintain my open mind, my mindset of growth. These moments are the ones where my thoughts can escape, they do not tangle and grow dense in my head, they become free and bloom outside.