I've been feeling a bit lost lately. And when I say lately I mean since our Crash in 2011.
I have struggled for years to find a clear direction in my art. Failing this, I have looked back over the artwork I have done, wanting to somehow use it or justify its existence. But I have to look forward, not backward. Which is why this post is full of pictures of Symon leaping for tape balls, and not old artwork I would feel the need to explain.
I've spent the last two years clearing out mental clutter, with Martha Beck exercises. This takes a long time. I'm learning that I can't change my life with little tips and tricks and cheesy positive sayings. I have had to dig deep, and deep I have gone.
I worked on The Journaling Project for 12 years. Drawing and writing on little pieces of paper. You can see some of it here. It irritates me that I see other artists online publishing books about drawing your life when I did this for 12 years! But it never occurred to me to post it from that standpoint - here is how you draw your everyday life. I started the project in grad school in 1997. We didn't get our first computer until 2003. I kind of missed that whole internet-branding yourself-putting your artwork out there- boat.
So, what now? I need to take a Leap of Faith.
The Martha Beck exercises have made me realize that you can wish and want and plead with the Universe, even plan and dream. But if deep down you really don't believe it, if you have buried messages that you keep telling yourself: I'm not good enough. Nobody will want my stuff. Who is going to read this? I'm worthless... It's like spinning your wheels in the mud. I can make outer changes, like moving to a different state, getting a new job, throwing out all my clutter, even burning old artwork, photos, and scribblings. But if these internal 'typos' as Martha Beck calls them, are still being printed out by my mind, it's like continually tripping myself.
That is what I have been working on, rewriting my thinking on the deepest levels. It takes a long time. I keep clearing out the clutter, but then I discover there's still some left. It's like my mind was a giant old house, a Hoarder House, filled to the ceiling with STUFF. I cleared out the junk and clutter, but then there was a hidden attic I didn't realize was there. Then I went into the basement and found hidden rooms. Then the whole house was empty, and I had to tear down the house. About that time I was thinking, 'Come on! How much longer is this going to take?!' Now I have to tear up the foundation. I've hit the rock-bottom issues.
As Martha continually reminds us, in several of her books, the issues that caused the typos may be interesting, but they aren't that helpful. A stern perfectionist father for whom nothing was ever good enough, yes, that was a huge cause. But the important part is fixing the typo NOW, rewriting my inner dialogue, and moving on. Martha's book The Four Day Win was immensely helpful with this. Her book Steering by Starlight was helpful in explaining the fear-based Lizard Brain, and dream analysis. Her new book is all about the Four Technologies of Magic.
Wordlessness involves shutting down your verbal Left Brain so that your creative Right Brain can come out. Oneness is feeling interconnected to everything around you. Imagination isn't just mindless daydreaming but getting to a relaxed zone (hint: Wordlessness and Oneness) so that your Right Brain can come up with solutions. Forming is putting it all together in the real world. (I'm still working on Forming.)
TIP: If you get a Martha Beck book, I recommend hardcover. I have read them over and over to really get the concepts. The first book I read of hers (Four Day Win) I purchased in paperback and it fell apart.
After distancing myself from my old habits and my old artwork, and putting so much of it away, into big journals (which has been on hold this year, due to lack of funds for paper, but anyway)...I have reached this odd calm state. Well, calm most of the time. But also empty. Lost. I have been unable to draw much. Almost like I've forgotten how.
I stretched four canvases - goodness, when was that? It was months ago. I began working on them, started some drawings on them, but then...nothing. They are languishing. I find it hard to get back to work.
I just feel lost.
And tired. Doing the Martha Beck exercises, I am actually rewiring my brain. It is tiring in a way I have never experienced before. I go to bed ridiculously early.
And after so many years of having my manic anxiety-filled Left Brain dominating, spurring me to action, spinning my wheels, worrying about what to do, sudden panic that I haven't done anything with my life...it's like my brain just wants to be blank for awhile. Which is an odd feeling.
Perhaps it's just rest that I need. Rest and Play are the two elements of Forming. Not slogging hard work or extreme focus (wrong energy). But Rest and Play.
These are things Symon knows quite well. Maybe for awhile I need to be like Symon.
Stay tuned. When I find my way, I'll let you know.