Challenges to the Creative Process

…aka LIFE. We all face challenges, it is part of the human condition, and challenges come in every conceivable form. Like so many, my most recent challenge is in experiencing a difficult divorce. There is a view that the creative process can be enhanced when challenges arise by channeling our emotions into our work, assuming that we are not impeded by physical challenges such as a debilitating illness. However, I discovered that emotional pain can be equally debilitating. The I Ching states that we should aim to achieve Tranquility in Disturbance, i.e. ignore the avalanche of drama and do it anyway. I believe Salvador Dali had a similar view. This particular wisdom is a sword with two edges; we can understand the truth of the view, and yet this view may cause additional pressure in an already pressurised situation to ‘get our shit together‘, when perhaps we are not ready to do so.
Speaking personally, I require peace and ideally a certain sense of joy to be at my optimal best when painting. Almost a year and a half later, I am only now truly getting back into the studio and producing work again. Sure, there have been sporadic moments of creativity, only to ping back like a rubber band into the ‘wtf just happened to my life‘ state. I realised that the rubber band effect is a part of us that operates not from the mind but a deeper sense of self. Allowing oneself space to move through difficulty at our own pace may ultimately be the most expedient way to heal. Forcing ourselves into any kind of action, especially one that is meant to be joyful, is like whipping a lame race horse to go faster down the track, the horse becomes miserable, the condition worsens, and what was once a full tilt joyful experience becomes a fear by association. We have to be ready, to reassume the mantle.
So, the challenges continue, of course, because this is the nature of living life, yet something has fundamentally changed. As the sense of overwhelm subsides, a heightened strength emerges, whereby the push-pull of life no longer seems so pushy, we become less phased by the rocking of the boat, looming storms don’t send us into blind panic any longer, in fact we welcome the approach with a knowingness that not only can we handle it with a new found inner strength, but that this too shall pass… and that is the true meaning of Tranquility in Disturbance.

Further reading in my new JOURNAL

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