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Return From Parnassus | Nancy Hillis MD & Bruce Sawhill PhD

Return From Parnassus | Nancy Hillis MD & Bruce Sawhill PhD

Return From Parnassus


Everybody celebrates and chronicles peak experiences.


We are no exception. We returned from an epic backpacking trip in the granite fastness of the California High Sierra ten days ago. Our pictures attest to the amazing scenery.


What Nobody Talks About


But there’s an aspect of peak experiences that almost nobody talks about.


What happens afterwards?


What happens after the Olympic awards ceremony when the anthem plays and the medal is draped around your neck?


What happens after the big wedding/anniversary/retirement/promotion/show party?


Somehow one has to knit that exemplary experience into the fabric of everyday life. How does one maintain the euphoria through days of grocery shopping, Zoom or phone calls, vacuuming, bill paying? It almost feels like these are jobs for different people than the ones that had the singular experience.


So here we sit, ten days later, just getting over a prodigious amount of soreness and fatigue. Nancy has sworn never to hoist a backpack again : ). Bruce just nods and smiles. Bottles of Ibuprofen adorn the house. The gear has been cleaned and put away.


What now?


It’s like a sailboat coming about. There is a moment of reduced forward motion, the sails luffing (flapping) as the bow of the boat crosses in front of the wind.


We need to find our next tack.


For artists and musicians, it’s the big opening or the big concert. It helps to realize that the concert or the show is a small fraction of one’s life, like the fruiting body of an organism that is mostly underground. It wouldn’t be there except for the unsung structure underneath it. 


So perhaps the thing to do after a big event is to reflect and celebrate the context that produced it, the miles of canvas, thousands of miles run/swum/cycled, hours of practice in a cold church, etc.


Bring the ground up rather than pull the monument down.


It’s all you.


From our studio to yours,


Nancy & Bruce

A bluebird showed up the other day. A lovely review on our newest book by Vita.

Our newest book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation won an International Book Award: Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal!

Reader’s Favorite International Book Award: Gold Medal

Book Trailer



From our studio to yours,

Nancy & Bruce


P.S. Find out what all the fuss is about. Get your copy of the award-winning book The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation 

It’s chock full of gorgeous paintings from twenty-five artists, along with foundational concepts to take your art to the stratosphere of WOW!

Click on the arrow above to watch each artist receive their book package.



Nancy Painting on Blank Canvas





P.S.S. Leave your thoughts and comments below. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say.


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