These are pieces of art I created while abroad, on a boat, on a beach, in a garden, or in a cafe.
For me, art is subconsciously healing in its simplicity and in the quiet joy it brings about. In that fun, I know inner things have time to rearrange themselves.
In times of grief, the idea of creativity can seem far-fetched and inspiration is nowhere to be found (no matter how hard we search). It took me a while to realize what was happening when I paint or sketch.
First of all, I don’t start with an idea. I open up to a blank page and scribble a line or two until it turns into something (or nothing). Only recently did I understand that in letting go of expectation I was able to let inspiration find me and flow through me. That is what makes art fun for me.
Second, as I let the pen or paintbrush do the work, I am free to relax. It’s the best kind of relax – where you are simultaneously thoughtless and focused. This kind of relax is one of my favorite places to be, to find rest. Sometimes I feel a great release, that may bring tears. Sometimes I feel nothing. Both are involuntary and wonderful.
A Lesson from Grief
In my experience of loss, I have discovered a truth that is heartbreaking but has taught me an important lesson. Although it could be said that emotions are universal (that we all feel the same things), there is a deep loneliness that comes with how those emotions express themselves in your daily life. It can be hard to shake thoughts such as “is this how I am supposed to be feeling?”, “shouldn’t I be sadder?” or, “why don’t I feel better yet?”. As the world moves on around you, the pressure to feel a certain way can leave lingering guilt and frustration.
All of this is completely normal. The next step is to gently remind ourselves that there is no one way, right way, or wrong way. That means to let go of how you should be feeling, what other people are feeling, how you used to feel, and just put the pen to the paper. Or thread the needle. Or bake that bread or plant those seeds or go for that run.
The point is, we can allow ourselves creative freedom by letting go of the end goal. Doing something that you enjoy simply because you enjoy it is a great place to start. It isn’t about what you produce, it is about the space that opens up in that moment of fun. That space where you don’t have to try to be a certain way and you can just be how you are.
I know things happen in that space.
Is there something you enjoy that when you are doing it you get lost in the simplicity? I want to hear about it!