Post by Carina Spring.
Background ~ Inspiration for Today’s Post:
Why don’t I just give up? That was the title of Monday’s post at The Creativity Cauldron. Essentially, the post was about how we sometimes decide to give up “working on a particular creative vent only to return to it.” In her post, Bekki Hill was wondering why she kept going back to writing a novel, even though she had decided not to work on it this year. She left us with some thought-provoking questions: Have you a similar problem with a different type of creativity? Do you have a theory about why I can’t give up?
The interesting coincidence was that the previous Saturday evening, I had been discussing this very same idea with a woman at a dinner party. We really connected and wound up sharing stories about our creative journeys so far. This woman is a talented singer, and lately had been feeling a strong desire to write. She wasn’t quite sure how to get started, or why she wanted to do it, but the pressing fact was that the desire kept coming back.
The Big Decision:
Years ago, I went through a lenthy period in my life when I was having a hard time doing creative work. I was too busy, and when I actually had the time, I didn’t have the energy. Top it off with a pretty strong inner critic, and I just couldn’t make creativity a regular, satisfying part of my life. Sure, I would draw or paint occasionally, but the ideas and the ache to create were always present in the back of my mind. Frustrated by the conflict between my desire to make art, and the inability to get to it, I decided to quit. I was not going to draw, or make any kind of art anymore. I would abandon the whole thing, quietly freeing myself from this problem; I would lead a life without that constant urge to create. Of course, that did not happen. I continued to have that longing in my heart, and the ideas continued to come.
Like A Fog Horn…
One day, I was watching a documentary called Man on Wire, about Philippe Petit and his epic walk on wire across the Twin Towers. I’ve mentioned it before in a previous post, and also linked it to his beautiful Ted Talk. Anyhow, at the time I watched the documentary, I copied some of the most memorable words into my diary.
This was one of the quotes, although to really appreciate it, you should hear it said with his musical French accent:
“The only way to become an artist is having no choice,
to be called…
So being called is something beautiful…
First, it’s like a song, like a fog horn… Someone or something calls,
but it is also a provision of faith, and vocation calling…”
A couple of days later, in my next diary entry, I realized something:
“This is the hardest thing, in some ways, days like this. Days when you are tired… You feel a bit blue, and routine calls forcefully, rather than the beautiful horn of your vocation. And you wonder, do I even have any talent? Why should I bother? Who am I kidding? When will I ever have time? … It is in these moments when one feels discouraged. Yet, why do I keep dreaming, and thinking, and longing to create? I think that is the fog horn. That part of you that is aching and wishing to be expressed, sometimes more loudly than others…”
In other words, that fact that we keep going back to a certain creative outlet, that inability to abandon it, that is the calling of a vocation.
Letting Go of Resistance …
Philippe Petit reflected, “Something I could not resist, and did not make any effort to resist called me up on that wire.”
In our busy lives, we sometimes put off doing things that we really need to do for ourselves. That’s life. One shouldn’t feel guilty about it because there are times when we have important responsibilities, and it is necessary and good for those priorities to guide our time. I don’t want to make it sound like it was a bad period in my life, either. I was happy for other reasons, and I did not resent the choices I needed to make. Still, I knew something was missing.
Eventually, the problem for me was that resisting who I was, resisting what I really needed to be doing, was becoming a habit of thought. Everything else was always the priority.
I have entered a different stage in my life. These days, I work part-time, and although my career still keeps me busy, I have more time to devote to my creative outlets. The wonderful thing is that now I am ready, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I still have a long way to go. I am still learning, and little by little incorporating creative outlets into my life.
In the end, it is Rudyard Kipling’s words that have often come to mind:
“Do the things you really want to do if you possibly can. Don’t wait for circumstances to be exactly right. You’ll find that they never are.”