(Winter Inside 2012)
The last couple of days I struggled a little with the “I’m not enough” voices. Then I got a friend’s email about how she felt that I was “surrounded with light” and I felt hopeful again…sure of my footing, ready for the next phase of whatever all of this is in my creative vida loca. Even with this firmer footing, I still had to remember today to ask God to completely take all of the ick surrounding my heart. I wanted so much to be free of the comparisons and judgment I put myself through sometimes. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it’s maddening and a complete block to progress. Progress I so desperately need to see materialize in the art-making/writing journey I’ve decided to take. It’s no coincidence that I keep coming upon the same message in blogs, books, even bible studies: begin, begin, begin.
David Allen, author and well known productivity consultant, said on a podcast recently that it’s better to be moving 180 degrees in the wrong direction than begin from a place of stand still. Apparently, it takes way more energy to rev up a cold engine, than to turn an already moving vehicle around. A great example of this stares me in the face in my art studio. I have heaps of newly collected photos, ephemera and pieces of nature—and I have a multitude of little scraps with ideas scrawled on them taking up precious studio real estate. Yet, at times I have trouble marrying the two in one grand gesture of blocking off art making time. What gives? The vision is there…the starter is broken.
I guess part of the fear is that the finished piece will not be any good and then my precious collection will be used up for nothing. It’s not like I’m looking to create a great masterpiece right out of the hopper. I’m not playing Picasso here…just merely attempting to begin. I understand that with beginning we risk producing garbage. I think God allows us, especially artists, to manifest a lot of bad art for a reason. The river of bad art can flow down into many tributaries: one of good art, art that leads to a complete re-do, even art which is transformed from one medium to another (think photograph becoming a painting). It’s called the “artistic process” for a reason, I suppose.
With this not-yet-made art, I can see the pieces so clearly and you’d think that would be enough to catapult me into the throws of beehive-like creativity with paint in my hair and a wild look in my eye. Distraction is a lonely friend, and sometimes he brings Self-pity and Anxiety along as dinner guests. I’m not really interested in sharing so much as a sandwich with these clowns.
They are not my people.
This is where the pendulum swings back to the “please take my ick away” prayer.
I had a morning recently where I truly felt delivered from the mess of the previous day. I felt physically lighter and more hopeful just because. It was fabulous! I took note of it as an answered prayer. I am constantly battling of-this-world feelings and mood transitions and opening my arms to the “renewal of my mind” (Romans: 12:2 taped to my car dashboard seems to be in vain). This task is so ridiculously hard that I feel like dramatically throwing up my hands to the sky as if to say, “I’m fallible and human! This renewal thing might take a spa day or a several hours of kid-free solitude!”
I don’t think God’s buyin’ it.
I do know that massive renewal is possible because there are plenty of incredible people out there with the toughest of circumstances who have done just that—turned that car around and blazed
Maybe the crash and burn practice of mind renewal is like making bad art. I’m thinking that with God allowing the continual process of fighting our feelings and opening the heart to what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable“ we slowly make our way to where He wants us to be. Like bad art-making draws us closer to the masterpiece we know is inside of us. A successfully renewed mind comes about the same way as the creation of the masterpiece…
*Lara’s personal blog is here*