Beauty in Everyday Objects - attention as a source of creativity

Aug 31, 2017Performance Mind

On Facebook the other day @greenrenaissance [ ] published this video from the Toronto Star [article link Toronto Star: ].

Although the tagline cites that Tilda Shalof a nurse from Toronto General Hospital re-purposed medical waste into art, I saw something else.

Yes, rather than throw these clean plastic items into the trash, she instead pocketed them. She alone has kept 100’s of thousands of little plastic pieces out of the landfill and out of the oceans – which is huge!  

However, what is most interesting and compelling to me is how she started collecting the items:

Well how all of that started was simply… I’d use it for whatever purpose to give an injection or to attach it to an IV or to connect a feeding tube and then I thought well gee … they’re so cute they’re pretty they remind me of so much, of so many moments I’ve had with patients so I started to just put them in my pocket rather than throw them out,,, they’re perfectly clean I would just put them in my pocket and bags and bags of this stuff and I would just kind of store it away never knowing really what I was going to do with it.”

These items were no longer waste to her – she essentially fell in love with them. They held a beauty and with each, she was present to the patient she was caring for.

The reflective nature of assembling this work of art has an immersive, meditative quality that brings the whole of her experience to bear.

It is their stories – hers, her patients and all the nurses and doctors that she tells in her mural – a lyrical mosaic.

In her words:

“I remember many of them and I remember most of the individuals I cared for who underwent lung transplants always very sick and so many of them did so well, so many, and of course I remember always the ones that the few that didn’t there always will stay with me and are memorized here at least in my mind and hopefully in other people’s but I treasure those memories of all the patients I’ve cared for and I’m looking back on my career for a 28 years… they to me represent all that work and all of that care that I gave.”

Attention of this kind, which has focus, concentration and the intensity [the pressure] of her interest, one that engages her whole person, is timeless. When coupled with the collaborative work of her artist friend(s) – it’s an amazing environment to live in.

If there is such a thing as a “formula” for living in the zone – she’s put it altogether!




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