100 Starting Points: To Live A Good Life.

100 drawings of 100 thoughts in 100 days.

[A series of illustrations to explore Stoic principles and how I’ve adapted them to my life.]

 Jordan Peterson’s lectures and “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius have filled me throughout this process.

Some days are simple journal entries of only a few words describing my surroundings, nothing more. These are conscious Stoic exercises.

May you pick up the rhythm in these drawings and words. Like music, they mimic the swinging motions of everyday living.

Here we go… 

Day 1 -20

Day 1: Accept the body, not aesthetically, but as an embodiment of ideas and a source of free will. Accept the idea of eternity. It will help soften the blow of knowing that one day I will die. When it is time to go I will know that this moment also coincides with nature’s will because it is the moment when enough wisdom has passed from my body into the world.
Day 2: “It’s always a possibility,” I often say. Accept the idea of many possibilities within one action. Some creations have a clear initial purpose, but like many things in nature, they evolve over time. Deliberately take my time, and projects will naturally run their true course. Nothing is forced.
Day 3: Appreciate abundance, but only for measured periods of time. Temperance heightens the senses.
Day 4: It hasn’t taken very long to realize that daily living is a practice in restraint. The task of fully expressing yourself must be done in short increments punctuated with rest.
Day 5: Full of the usual Saturday (three kids running around) distractions. Accept nature’s plan without a fight.
Day 6: “I’ll take a regular-medium with a shot of joy and a touch of wonder.”
Day 7: Through stillness time can temper many things. [sold]
Day 8: The beauty of humanity + the ugliness of humans.
Day 9: A hurried life is an unexamined life. An unexamined life is a reckless life. Without conscious choices, you surrender your life and your decisions to others.
Day 10: Hold on to what you have now.
Day 11: Fear stagnation, not change.
Day 12: To appreciate the imperfections that accompany beauty is to be close to nature. [sold]
Day 13: Labor simply, with love, and for the common interest of man. Transcend divinity from within in order to cultivate gifts to give to others.
Day 14: We swim in a stream with rocks made of indivisible points of time.
Day 15: Seeing what needs to be done is most visible with closed eyes and a quiet mind.
Day 16: Let your mind be like fire. Obstacles will dim the flame at first. It consumes what’s given to it and in time burns more brightly.
Day 17: Simply nothing, nothing simple.
Day 18: Today I gave my mind a rest and let the materials take the lead. Artists have active relationships with their supplies. It’s a give and takes sort of thing.
Day 19: The peace of minding your own business.
Day 20: “Your mind will take shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.” -Marcus Aurelius

Day 21 – 41, except 39

Day 21: Balancing life.
Day 22: There is newness in every moment. The good and bad come all at once.
Day 23: Senses may override the mind, but a steady mind can abrogate the senses.
Day 24: Don’t add force to falling matters.
Day 25: The natural beauty of one thing leading to another.
Day 26: The fight against anticipation. Sometimes I would rather savor it. Sometimes I enjoy the days leading up to a vacation more than the trip itself. So be it…
Day 27: Breathing in the wild.
Day 28: The calm that you find in the power you have to choose.
Day 29: A sip, a breath, a smile. Fleeting actions that engage our bodies should often be noted.
Day 30: To experience the full splendor of living in the world requires an obligatory temperance.
Day 31. I’ll be quiet and not force words into this post.
Day 32: Present conversations materialize then pass (like a fleeting Instagram post).
Day 33 + 34: Two ways of passing through [time].
Day 35: Things fill my life but they do not make it whole.
Day 36: Growing upwards, falling down, regrowing upwards, falling down.
Day 37: She moved slowly and with precision in a haze of fatigue.
Day 38: It’s not what you want in life, but what you want out of the whole thing that counts.
Day 40: niceness + decency
Day 41: May obstacles transform to aid, and the mind dispenses the remnants of this undertaking with steadfast indifference.

Day 42-49, 53-64

Day 42: Set some heavy things down.
Day 43: Let’s let the earth and time grow over the past. [sold]
Day 44: The exchange between a tired body and a lively mind. No peace can be held in the soul until harmony is found within both.
Day 45: The friction of opposites.
Day 47 + 46: May the company you keep reflect the goodness of your deeds.
Day 48: Being here. Nothing more.
Day 49: The epic task of having enduring and self-reliant kindness.
Day 50: pollen + rain
Day 53: The obedience of love.
Day 54: When to exercise faith, where to put it when you have it, what and who to seek to find it again.
Day 55: The comfort and constraints of familiarity.
Day 56: Move gently with nature and things will fall into their rightful place.
Day 57: water + rock : meaning + life
Day 58: Beauty and variety could not exist without peculiarity.
Day 59: Living with disturbances rather than against them.
Day 60: The weight of living in a body.
Day 61: Thinking versus feeling.
Day 62: Dividing my efforts between art and everything else feels like pulling the flow of a stream two opposing ways. All one can do is surrender to the natural ebb and flow of life. [sold]
Day 63: Don’t let aesthetics distract from true and invisible beauty.
Day 64: Holding up the pieces, not all together, or at quite the same time. Nonetheless, they are in the air at some point.

how to live a good life, contemporary art
Day 50, 65-84 (except 75)

Day 65: Second, third, and fourth guessing and knowing that nothing comes from guessing.
Day 66: Melting into passing moments.
Day 67: A loud memory ripples through the mind and deepens my existence within the present.
Day 68: Be conscious of the part in your mind where opinions form. It’s there where you rule out feelings that can pull you up or tear you down.
Day 69: Using what I have because it’s there.
Day 70: The thousands of tiny movements found in the appearance of stillness and balance.
Day 71: Being still is accepting fate and free will, and there is a balance between complacency and urgency.
Day 72: Good, bad, order, + chaos are all eternal. It’s living in the balance of it all where we find our strength.
Day 73: Sweetness, youth, and the beginning of summer. [sold]
Day 74: The devouring love and consumption of unguided innocence.
Day 76: Finding your own away amidst many currents.
Day 77: Struggling to have persistent faith.
Day 78: The dance between all things imagined and in nature.
Day 79: Temperance in all things, even consciousness.
Day 80: The value of nice and like.
Day 81: Rations of love.
Day 82: The suffering of anticipation and surprising relief of actuality.
Day 83: You cannot avoid or escape fear. Discard it. These things do not surround your mind but grow within your body.
Day 84: Reflecting on things in a cosmic context reveals triviality.

Day 85-100

Day 85: Gentle discrimination protects tranquility. Use it daily. [sold]
Day 86: Utilize gifts and push them hard enough to reach a farther distance of visible knowledge.
Day 87: Like a tree remembers to grow leaves we remember to love one another through the seasons of life. [sold]
Day 88: The way you live your life is the pebble that creates ripples in a pond of eternity.
Day 89: Being an embodiment of consciousness that reaches for the highest good is no easy task.
Day 90: I can only sense the vastness of expanding space and time if I am not in the center of it all. Humility is a powerful tool.
Day 91: The wisdom that comes from the depth of the pathways that connect our cliche filled brain to all of our other parts.
Day 92: When hell and high water arrive…remember to swim.
Day 93: Not getting carried away by feelings because they’re always grounded by reason. [sold]
Day 94: Pain has value when the will is worth the fight. [sold]
Day 95: Letting the world in with moderation while balancing old memories with the new.
Day 96: A rested soul is rarely idle.
Day 97: Isolation is a comfortable tasting, slow acting, invisible poison to the human spirit.
Day 98: New opportunities within everyday obligations.
Day 99: Use the knowledge of your natural dichotomy to pursue the light. However, keep the darkness in your mind, because the only way to slay the things in darkness is to partly become one yourself.
Day 100: Accept the nature of time and aim for the highest star.

The bottom line:
This process has led my mind towards an easier way of living. It has opened new doors leading to possibilities that are far grander than I could have imagined. It’s not fame or wealth, but a good life.
A good life is lived fully. It moves with grace and forgiveness. Living a good life cradles you in your death bed with readiness, comfort, and no sense of regret. The shadow of your life will nudge the world towards a nicer and tidier place. People will still feel your love and you won’t fear being forgotten. A good life is not easy. It is reaching for the highest good, like a child wishing on a star. As an adult it is no longer a wish but an aspiration. It requires sacrifice that is done simply for the sake of goodness.

I wish you the best of luck on your path to a good life.

IG: @jessicamatier

All of the artwork shown is currently for sale.  If you wish to purchase a piece please email me at jessicammatier@gmail.com. They will be for sale in person at the Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, Nov. 9th – 12th for $500/each and $545 for framed pieces.

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