When my friend Carol called this morning to tell me about changing an aspect of her schedule, hoping to open it for more unforced creativity and maybe a little time to sleep, I was happy for her -- and for the interruption. I'd been drudging away on some business records when she called. They still need finishing. But her contagious idea gave me an excuse to think about the importance of unforced creativity in restoring our equilibrium. And choosing which parts of our success to foster for our own good.
Immediately I remembered seeing this TED video of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, who suggests that artists need to recalibrate regularly so as to not be undone by our artistry, our success, our weighty "emotional constructs" of expectation -- and to be available to that "source" that can brush up against us only when we're open and we've shown up ready for the job.
Then I recalled puzzling through a similar conversation a couple weeks ago with Leslie, emailing back and forth about how to get oneself into that place where being creative can transcend the routine. Like Elizabeth Gilbert, Joseph Campbell (Power of Myth, professor at Sarah Lawrence College, coined the phrase "Follow Your Bliss") also espoused the idea of artists occasionally reaching/existing on a metaphysical plane where one's soul listens to a voice other than one's own while creating. My version of that feeling happens when I produce a painting that takes on its own momentum, not waiting for my direction (and it requires trust to let go). That doesn't mean I give up my skills but that I let them service a larger energy. Unfortunately, I can't control the arrival of that blissful state, but I certainly value it when I recognize it.
Like so many artists, do you also wrestle with this delicate issue of how to stay creative, how to find time and energy to show up ready for the job? Well, if you are like most of us, here's to recalibrating your creative energies and to finding your bliss!