what is the true blessing of keeping a teenage species inside your house? is it the opportunity for a contact high from the mysterious aromas wafting from his bedroom. is it the daily filling of the bottomless pit known as his stomach? no sir . . . it is the daily lesson in humility. ahh. . . so you think you should be rewarded for all the caring, and the concern, and the sacrifice. no, No, NO!! you are the one who should be grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to fully suck it up and give without any hope of get. (of course the “gets” do come, unexpectedly, and are sweet).
so what in the world does this experience of the teenager and his/her lessons in humility have to do with your creative process? well – simply put, when we are crushed, we are pliable, we feel there is nothing to lose, we are open to thinking the new thought, taking the feared new step, erasing the old and worn and slowly building anew. we can realize, again, that it is not ultimately about the final work, or the recognition, but it is mainly about the process. about the privilege of having a gift to create something from nothing, to express concepts, and feelings, and images in our world creatively in ways that may move, may give important life insight to those that hear and see and experience those creations.
be happy for your teenager’s cold shoulder! after all – now you don’t have to engage in conversation, you don’t have to worry about his meal (because he won’t eat it anyway), you are temporarily blessed with splendid isolation – and the only remedy to the loneliness is the connection with your inner voice, your creative voice. You are gonna have a great conversation with yourself this evening!
what might a larger lesson be? clearly, and daily, we find ourselves in situations where we are disrespected, misunderstood, neglected, ignored, perhaps even abused (G-d forbid!). what in the world could possibly be the “opportunity” in these unpleasant moments? Perhaps we are presented with the opportunity for self-care. Taking the most radical example presented – abuse – we can escape the abuser (hopefully). Then we can ask ourselves why we found ourselves in that situation. What baby step can we take today to permanently remove ourselves from that situation in the future? This frame of mind – asking the critical questions necessary to guarantee our self care, maybe our very survival – is really the ideal frame of mind for asking the hard questions necessary to push forward our projects. For it is our very survival as creative beings that is at stake with every decision we make regarding those projects.
Self-care, a big self-hug (if no-one huggable is available), and proceeding to ask the tough questions which allow us to grow: this is the integrated process of responding to the hard experiences in life and responding to the rigorous demands of our works in progress.