Tuesday, January 8, 2008

old habits, new tricks

i'm listening to the soundtrack from one of my all time favorite movies, amelie. it's very happy-making music. heaven help me, i need more happy. the rain pours down outside as the mailman slides another batch of hospital bills into my mail slot. i see my old companion, depression, hanging around in the corners of my apartment. i don't meet his eye. i'm hoping if i ignore him, he'll get the message and hit the road.

i'm taking frequent doses of my trusted homeopathic spray by liddell, called "feeling overwhelmed". that sums it up, my friends. i am feeling overwhelmed. i'm so good at looking at the whole interconnected ball of life. yet when the time comes to put that big mass in a box and just focus on one thing at a time, one manageable task, i often falter.

fresh start. new tricks are needed. today i chose to do something i felt inspired to do, instead of following my "must do" plan for the day. i talk a good talk about flexibility, but it's often so hard for me to achieve. practice, practice. life is practice.

so. i cleared off my project table at home instead of going to my studio to work. the first step towards making art, painting again. making art, not making a living.

as much as it is creative and wonderful, making a living as a jeweler is challenging. even without dealing with breast cancer. you can't just dial it in. i have created a life where i have to show up, i have to perform or i don't get paid. i'm the designer, the manufacturer, the marketing director, the bookkeeper and the cleaning service. whew.

today, i decided to blithely ignore those harsh realities and begin something that feels happy, seems approachable. the table is now clean and ready. i have a shelf to hang, some clutter in the corner to resolve. focus on something i can control right now.

what is breast cancer? it's giving up control. it's facing what we all have before us all the time. that these lives we build are as fragile as they are strong. that things, everything, can change in a minute. that we can make plans, but life is what happens.

1 comment:

salmonpoetry said...

being an artist, especially a full-time artist, is such a challenge, and we don't hear enough about the specifics of that- i'm talking about the organization, structure, daily planning part. it can be enough to drive you crazy, i have found. the rules about structure and discipline work only so far- a bit like damned if you do, damned if you don't- there is no guarantee, and as you say you just have to keep showing up and being there, regardless.
13 years ago i tried to write full time, and i couldn't make it work. not for lack of talent, but due to the crazy-making of trying to get a structure that worked. now, since last june, i have been trying it again, because it is really, really what i want to be doing, and although most days it doesn't work perfectly, i am happy to report that i have switched my goal to just showing up (rather than production)- and things are generally working out okay (will report back on Mar 1 when my manuscript is due- production is still part of the picture, unfortunately, or fortunately, for that matter). somehow for me making art does not fit with the control-oriented way society functions. it is far more intuitive and you just have to be there to catch the wave when it rolls by. which means standing on the beach an awful lot if you want to ride those waves. but i've found, the beach is not that bad a place to be found standing. and the waves, when they come, can be really, really good.