Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sense and sensibility

How is it that you can begin the year with every intention to be faithful to your creative spirit and then you look up from the valley of responsibility to see your spirit clinging to the mountain waiting for you to rescue it off the edge of oblivion? I know I am not alone but it is still frustrating when there is some part of me that wants to unite body, soul, spirit and mind to balance my life and have creativity playing a major role in my life.

Firstly, I have tried to crave out time for exercise (with my 20's and 30's, okay, and my 40's long gone gravity is messing with the physical me). That has been a huge struggle since I am not really athletically inclined. I have, however, been very consistent with exercising at least 5 times a week for 30 to 40 mins. Secondly, spurred on by the latest issues of Art Journal, Artful Blogging, and Cloth, Paper and Scissors magazines I was able to light the fire for art but it turned out to be harder to keep burning. I am looking a little less gelatinous but my spirit sags. Why? Why can't I just DO IT? Do it in the morning, do it at night, do it while I exercise or sitting in a meeting or whenever? What is 'doing art'? Is it a process of lots of materials all the time or just a simple pencil sketch for 10 mins? Why is it so hard to just 'do art' if supposedly I love it so much? Why is it that my sense always wins out over my sensibilities?

In reflection I discovered a couple things. One, when I was successful in 'doing art' on a consistent and happy level I was established in a living space with enough space for me to be messy and spread out without feeling like I was living in a disaster area. I could close the door! I was also established in a job that I knew well and was okay with taking time to do art first and 'work' later. In other words, I had found a balance in my life of work and play. Currently I am in a transitional period where I have new digs and I started a new job. I haven't found my balance yet. I no longer have extra space to do art - its my living room/dining room area - learning how to work within that space isn't comfortable yet. The new job is nearly 3 years old and I am just now getting the hang of it. I taught for 18 years and for the last two and half years I have been an assistant principal, so the job has longer hours and though I don't have lesson plans to do or papers to grade, I am usually mentally limp when I get home. Ergo - no mental capacity to do art - the body is willing the brain is not. Thus I become a weekend artist when I don't have a ton of errands to do. I guess that is something, eh?

The second reflective acknowledgement was much more interesting to me. I have a lot of creative ideas but they never come to reality a lot of the time. Why is that I would often ask? Well, I discovered that when I get an idea, my brain starts figuring it out and before I know it the finished idea is in my mind's eye. Great! My body responds with 'let's make it!' My brain says, 'why? I did it already'. This was quite a revelation to me especially as I was talking to a fellow artist and he said the same thing - he often gets ideas and works them out so completely in his mind that it never reaches paper. How do you combat that? Even when I try to make what I envision it never comes out as I saw it in my mind and I don't often accept it as it is - it isn't right, it doesn't match the expectation. Am I allowing the critic in me to constructively discourage the creative child with in?

Hope is the latest buzz word these days but, for me it has not lost its value nor will it ever. I do have hope that at some point in time, I will break through the box I have put myself in and let my artistic spirit take the driver's seat on my journey through the other half of my life. That some how I will get comfortable with a messy house and be satisfied with a simple sketch of the cat sleeping when I get home from a long day. I have hope because I am learning that I am not alone in my struggles. The latest issue of Artful Blogging allowed me to meet - figuratively speaking - kindred spirits who struggle just like I do. We struggle to reconcile our practical and sensible selves with our creative child. Our creative spirits don't want to have to beg, borrow or steal time just to exist. Also, I have begun to meet other women and men who are also trying to balance sensible and practical living without sacrificing their artistic and creative sensibilities. Community! If a village can successfully raise a healthy child, then I know the Blogsphere and other like communities are a sanctuary for my creative spirit to have room to grow and flourish.

So, I have just gotten through a hard week a work, too many late meetings but I have a good feeling about the weeks to come. I know I can do this. I know I will find my balance again. I do have hope that my practical senses can work side by side with my flighty but energetic sensibilities. As Gandalf says to Frodo, "it is not the time we have but what we do with the time we have that matters..." Cheers!

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