Noticed this evening, with the help of a fabulous therapist, that, yes that sound I hear is the Universe screaming at me "It's time to learn how to take care of yourself!!" One of those "Aha! -- well duh" moments. I've been writing a lot in the last month and a half about going through a massive transition that has torn the earth from beneath my feet. All this time, I've had the question nestled in the back of my mind, "I KNOW every experience brings lessons, brings gifts, what is the gift, the LESSON for me in this experience of such great loss?"
Until tonight, I've not heard and answer; but have trusted. I should have known it would be obvious and would actually be something my support system, as well as the Universe/God has been trying to get through to me. The greatest life lessons seem to carry a bit of humor if not irony when we recognize them.
What this has to do with Art? Well, um, I call it "creative constipation," when some insight is stuck for some reason just beyond my ability to see it. It can be caused by fear or grief or anger or exhaustion but whatever the cause, the result is a very real sense of a stopped-up creativity. It usually happens for some period of time with every major transition in my life or with every major transformation. At some point, I'll be moving through the process and creating through the process when, slowly I begin to realize there is a siezing in my soul/mind that begins to grow. Eventually, the fear is always introduced, which only increases the discomfort. The fear that this time the blockage will be terminal to my creativity, to my art.
It probably seems strange to others, but this is so much a part of my experiences of transiton and transformation processes that, by now, one would think I'd recognize the signs and be able to take measures to keep things moving and not be hindered by the problem anymore. I actually have learned quite a lot about how to deal with this through the years. Now, when it is clear that life is moving me into another time of change, I am vigilant about making art throughout the tumult of the transition period. I also make sure I do not isolate myself but actually (though my tendancy is to crawl into a cucoon to undergo the painful, scary changes) purposefully seek out others who can reflect myself to me as well as offer honest (if painfully) insights and feedback.
But I think I will always struggle some with the "creative constipation," possibilities to some degree because with every transition, every change, there is the unavoidable UNKNOWN element that is moving toward me, or I toward it. And by definition, I therefore simply cannot SEE what it is until perhaps it literally whacks me in the head or knocks me on the ass, or screams in my face as this realization tonight seemed to be doing.
So, a natural caregiver, lover of serving people, reformed do-gooder, again hears loud and clear now that NOW is the time to focus on self-care. Time to extend the same compassion I strive to offer others, to myself. Love and grace and allowing... oh, and patience...