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The Big Question

I finally figured out what this blog is all about. 

I had been approaching this as a way for me to record my great artistic oeuvres and to cement my place in history as a Great Thinker™. What a bore!

This is to be a record of my artistic process. The process is what matters and I am interested to see how my process develops over time. I want to use this space as a place for me to put down what worked and what didn’t, to dissect ideas I’ve encountered, and explore who I am as an artist.

Alright, let’s get down to this week’s entry.

Art is hard. 

Yup, learned that this week. I have two glittering outlines that are just chock full of fun, exciting story, but I haven’t had time to write. Despite this being a time of “slow down and reflect” I’ve become inundated with projects. 

I am counting 11 so far. 

So how do I manage all this? 

Well, I have two working strategies:

  1. Be gentle with yourself.
  2. Notice the difference between resistance and a true need to pause.

Let’s look at the first point.

I love the word gentle. Itis soft pink silk, a sweet breeze, the smell of rosemary, a flower welcoming in a bee. It is a mode of being, speaking, and thinking. Gentleness is forgiveness for imperfection and total acceptance of that imperfection. 

Gentleness is the great balm to soothe self-hate and to give space for the creative juices to brew. Its really easy to just keep demanding that I pump out more and more content, take on more and more projects. Gentleness helps me recenter and align with my true creative interests.

The second point can be simplified to attention.

By keeping gentle attention on my inner life I can sense when I am genuinely needing rest and a break, and when resistance speaks. For a great explanation of resistance, read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. 

The mind is in and of the body, so bringing attention to the body is just as important as bringing it to the mind. The body does not lie and will tell me when I crave to move, crave to rest, crave to eat, and crave to just do absolutely nothing.

I tend to bifurcate desires and thoughts into two sources: Higher Self & Self-Hate.

The Higher Self is impulses to create, the clear energetic tremors of the body, and the impulses which I recognize as being aligned with what I want most out of my life.

Self-hate centers around comfort and staying the same. Maybe comfort is too kind a word, it’s a kind of anxious comfort. Its call is “You are already disgusting, and if you try to change that you will only become more disgusting.”

Recognizing and countering that Self-Hate has been a long process. I’ve only truly recognized it and have worked with it for about a year. It’s not a bad thing, necessarily. It just is. Like a mosquito. I’d rather not have to deal with it, but it helps draw attention to where I most need to change, or to areas where I have taken something for granted. It helps define why I chose to do something.

I choose to workout, to put myself in that discomfort because I want to be fit. The resistance to do it is a reminder of how important that is to me.

I choose to write — to keep this blog — because the discomfort of sharing my work means that I have something important to say. I have a story that I have risked to write and it should be shared. 

So, next time you feel resistance come up, ask yourself: “What is this telling me that I really want?”

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