The Grazing Principle

The Grazing Principle

“Creativity is the Spirit of the Picnic…”  Beyond Success or Failure

I first came across this idea in the book “Beyond Success and Failure” by Willard and Marguerite Beecher many years ago and it stuck with me somehow.  It is an excellent book about life in our competitive world and is somehow inspiring even though the book is relentlessly unsentimental.

As for the Grazing Principle, they give the example of the horse that without any thought of getting ahead grazes his happy way through the day.   He sees a clump of grass and then another and another.  He fills his belly, enjoys the process and all without fuss or anxiety.

We are not horses I hear you say, but the book sets out the idea that we humans have exaggerated the importance of our fore brain and intellect.   They propose that the Grazing Principle within us is our intuition and it is intuition that leads us to our greatest discoveries and satisfaction in life. The intellect will set its goals and then blind us to anything outside that path.  We become like a horse with blinders on a dusty road unable to see the lush ideas or opportunities all around.


Horse with Blinders
Horse with Blinders

“The anxiety ridden, ambitious turbulence of the conscious mind makes grazing quite out of the question” Beyond Success or Failure

I have learned to be in the moment with my art and to see ‘what is next’ and what emerges is always better than what I had planned.  But how am I to translate this idea to everyday life?

How shall any of us live a life with spontaneous awareness in a world that does not support it?

As we all know staying in the moment when we are at work, stuck in traffic, or the baby is screaming or the dogs barking, or we are looking at bills is quite another matter. In a competitive, goal oriented, money making world there is no support for the “let’s see what is next” or “Let me take some time to get in touch with my Intuitive Wisdom”.  You will experience rolling of eyes, ridicule, lectures and be overlooked as lacking substance. There’s not much to be said for this way of life and yet…increasingly it is the only thing that makes sense.


“When will power…..enters the scene, then spirit, playfulness and creativity depart at once”

Beyond Success or Failure

 Image result for beyond success and failure

2 thoughts on “The Grazing Principle”

    1. Helen,
      So sorry not to respond earlier. You have probably found the book by now. 🙂 I have spent the last two years caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s and it took everything I had to give. There was nothing left for art or writing or caring for myself. She has just recently gone to a home, and I am finally starting to lift my head and look at my creative life again! I believe as I start to digest the experience as caregiver, I will have new art and new things to write about. I always appreciate comments. ♥ Thank You!
      Carolyn Slattery


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