Artists are moody beings. Your key is to acknowledge this moodiness, to tap deeply into this particularly rich wellspring of feeling and emotion, and do better work through it. Cognitive therapists are fond of the catchphrase “sit with your feelings” This is easier said than done, because those feelings are often intense, painful. Nevertheless, we can draw great creative power from acknowledging feelings, understanding the source of feelings, permitting ourselves some easiness in our mundane life as we work through hard emotions, not allowing these feelings to be roadblocks against our daily creative work.
Artists are well know for their excesses, obsession, compulsion. Artists are known for addiction problems – alchohol and drug abuse. But it might be interesting to examine the lives of those artists who achieved both creative heights in their works, and longevity, and great productivity in terms of quantity of work. It seems one might discover a great deal of discipline, of commitment to process, of staying straight, strong and awake.
The notion of maintaining a routine in the artistic life becomes even more critical as we come to recognize the potential for strong feeling and emotion to sway us off course from our creative process. In religious thought, there is a concept of G-d saying “You did not praise me in the good times. Now you beg to me in the bad”. We should work hard to master our routines, stick to our disciplines with respect to time management, when our head is in a good place, when life is not throwing so many distracting curveballs.
In this way, when the curveballs do come, we have built up a reserve of strength, like the sprinter who does some long distance training. We can tap into some powers of resistance. We can stay our course, working in pain, through the pain, in distractions.
And ironically, we may discover that we have accomplished some of our best work during these challenging sessions. Because the feeling, the struggle, is the essence of what you seek to convey in your work.
Take yourself out of your body, if you can. Look down. Observe a talented young man, woman, full of artistic vision, full of great technique, full of desire to convey, to teach, life’s secrets to the seeking audience. Understand the great privilege you have to convert your own pain and struggle into something concrete, something unique and new, which will enlighten and strengthen others.
And this is how the Artist blesses the Creator in his suffering.