A summer thunderstorm just blew in, and out, leaving my grey deck shiny-slick with rain.
The air smells fresh with the charged ions that only a wild rain can summon.
And I feel as if those invisible particles are beckoning me to take any small action of my choosing.
Which is exactly what I did, a few moments ago.
I roused myself from an intense focus on this desktop screen and decided to sink into my old rose-pink, rocking armchair and think of nothing.
In short, I gave myself permission to simply be.
I let go of all thoughts about art careers. The business of art. Artist statements. How to get and keep collectors. My smARTist Telesummits, which I’m busy turning into podcasts so more artists can have access.
I turned away any, and all, work thoughts and let myself slide into the rain.
Delicious. Giving into flow—the unspooling of infinity.
Giving myself permission to be intentionally surrounded by all of life.
Because, even though this is the core truth of every day (being surrounded by all of life), it’s a rare moment when I actually experience this reality.
I had no agenda. No idea or thoughts about what next?
Then, once the rain had washed the dust of summer off the air, and my being had washed the dust of work off my allegorical shoulders, I returned to this screen.
And immediately wrote to you.
And wondered…when was the last time you gave yourself permission to go off your script-of-life?
To dabble in nothingness?
I’ve love to know…
As always, revealing the true spirit of your work…is the work, because artists change the world.
Truth. Power. Art.
P.S. Please, scroll down and tell me if you’ve recently dabbled in nothingness and what that was like for you.
Because nothing makes me happier than having a conversation with you!
What on earth do I mean by “you are so much more than your art”?
There’s a family story that my mother, a watercolor artist hanging with her Big Sur, bohemian crowd (think Man Ray, and the insolent Henry Miller), declared to the gaggle of male artists in her circle, after my birth, that no art could compare to the creation of a child.
Besides the emotional burden of having to carry her creative outlet, which I’ve long ago released, I re-tell this story here to say: this is not what I mean.
For my mother, being an artist (which she was in so many respects it’s dizzying) was a zero-sum game, which she stacked up against being a parent.
And her art lost. (In many ways, her parenting also lost…but that’s another story…)
Your art and you: the optimal relationship
When you immerse yourself in making art, nothing is more fulfilling.
If you experience “flow” (an expanded state of being where your proprioceptive sense of “I” disappears and the art making becomes everything), that’s likely to increase the internal experience that you are your art.
And if, on top of that, people tell you how beautiful, amazing, and awesome (three shop-worn adjectives I’d like to toss in the trash) your work is, then being equated with your art becomes too yummy to pull away from.
And yet, that is exactly what I’m going to ask you to consider doing.
Extract yourself from your art.
Just for a moment, right now.
Take a breath, and write an answer to my following two questions.
(On what? A Digital note? Some paper beside you? You decide, only, please hang in with me here and do it right now before distraction—or duties—step in!)
Because writing engages your brain, and your subconscious, in ways that can reveal new information to you, about you.
And, as odd as it may seem, you and I are heading straight into your art career.
1. Who are you without your art?
2. If you couldn’t do the specific art you do, what might take its place?
You can scroll down and give me your answers below here on this page.
Or hang onto your answers for a few days because…
I’ll be back on Friday to consider what an optimal relationship with your art might look like. Or feel like. Or dance like…
Remember, revealing the true spirit of your work…is the work,
Your Truth. Your Power. Your Word. Claim it!
P.S. When you respond to my two questions here, I’ll take that as permission to share your response with the other artists in my circle—unless you directly ask me not to.