I knew I had found my calling when I began my amazing creative immersion five years ago. I also knew instinctively that I needed to give it space and time to grow. What a gift to have had that opportunity! Over time, I also grew to realize I would continue to support the growth and progress of my creative endeavors for the remainder of my life (and I’m hoping for the sake of the Work it there will be sufficient time within which to do that!). In truth, I have been working on this, somewhat haphazardly, for a long time. Many leads were followed but this was the first time I actually felt I was truly “on the path.” So it is now with that “certainty” that I move from my current lifestyle-as-uninterrupted-creative-effusion to something. . .well. . .less so. Of course, I really haven’t stopped the current, merely rechanneled it and, as a result, the material by product – i.e., the size and nature of the bodies of work – is changing. What I am discovering is that as my life-focus, priorities, and supporting activities change, the intensity of my creative work and effort are actually increasing. In short, I am distilling years of creative immersion into an essence which will (I hope) nourish the work for years to come.
Without that lovely 5-year period, I would not have the discipline (or the courage) to do what I am doing now, nor would I feel I have a future of creative possibility still left to “unpack,” which I do. It is for this reason that I experience no despair or regret over the shift, or worry over a future of incomplete satisfaction, or remorse for things not done in the past/lost to the past. When one has a calling and a passion for something, no obstacle is large enough to undermine it. Things may change, time and energy, access and resources, and many other variables may change, but the essence of the calling – the root connection to the passion – continues. . .indeed, it cannot be denied. It may be expressed in small works and in the temporal interstices of a life crowded with other responsibilities and relationships. But it is still the Work. And in truth, the quality of immersion that came out of my 5-year “grant” period is such that I am able to concentrate and focus within much smaller blocks of time and yield similar results. I have prior experienced of this phenomenon as an outgrowth of movement meditation (thank you Dunya!) – visiting very deep wells in a relatively short period of time – so I know it is possible in any absorptive activity. Although I would be deluding myself if I believed I would not be visited by moments of despair and frustration along the way, there is a certain comfort in knowing I can recognize and have access to that state as I move forward in my creative evolution.
When I reach these junctures in my life and work (as I have noted before), I find I am inspired and uplifted by Lewis Hyde who has a talent for articulating the nature of art, creativity and the creative spirit in contemporary life in The Gift. “We nourish the spirit by [realizing and] disbursing our gifts. . . .,” he writes, and I am reminded that the calling, the passion, the work are the gifts which carry with them an imperative – they must be expressed and shared else they perish. The key to sustaining the work in the face of time and energy challenges is to surrender to this imperative. . .and to trust that the work will find its way into the cloth, onto paper or canvas, through the limbs, the voice, heart, mind. . .in fullness of time.