Momentum

Something I struggle with mightily, Gentle Reader.  MIGHTILY.  Those smooth stretches where you work on a task or something and can finish it then, more or less, instead of next week.  Or never.  I think that may happen when one is alone, but not too much otherwise.  There are always interruptions, intrusions, things that require you to be elsewhere than where you are, or were, or would wish to be.  Things don’t get finished or sometimes even started.  I make countless lists and by the time I get to the end the same list is staring me in the face again.  I’ve learned to accept interruptions calmly, change directions at a moment’s notice, go with the flow.  Still it isn’t good enough more often than not.   Whatever I do, someone is not pleased.  Which, really, is kind of the essence of dealing with life.  You can’t please all the people all the time.  This is an unreasonable expectation that I will venture to say is more often laid on females than males.  The question is then, how do you focus on the right kind of pleasing?  Which probably means, once again, being true to yourself, which does not mean being fixated on the rigidity of the ego’s demands and what the “self” wants.  It means listening, evaluating, looking honestly at situations and taking action based on that.  Which then means you have to know something about the bigger existence outside yourself- have as much information as possible.  And of course not be afraid to displease others from time to time as the need arises.

I think back to when I actually had a studio.   What bliss that was.  Then one might have to deal with blocks or deadlines or whatever but it was all taking place in that separate space, private and focussed.  In living with others, however, in a tiny space, it gets quite a bit different quite quickly.  The solitude required to create something is not so easily come by and many things compete for time and attention.  There is also the thing of getting tired.   You spend several hours on a project and then, funnily enough, don’t really feel like applying hyperfocus to cleaning the bathtub, or speeding through anything, really.  And out here in the country, there are always a vast number of things that need to be attended to, all the time, no matter what.  So it’s quite a balancing act.

I’ve been mulling over the fact that pretty much my entire life (except that short period when I had the studio) other people have been telling me that what I’m doing isn’t important and I should do something else, generally something they wanted done.  Yet this urge toward expression has never left, never abated.  Whether or not it generates money turns out to be beside the point.  Like the old story about the Muse: she shows up when she chooses and you dance then and there, period.   No fooling around, no screwing her, either.  It’s like an absolute of a sort.  Whatever it is, dance, write,  make pictures, you just have to do it, period. Regardless of perceived balance or lack thereof in the moment.

At the same time, these absolutes (if we can call them that) are part of the bigger current we all swim in and ultimately are a connecting thing rather than a distancing one.  The whole image of artist as ongoing tantrumer is only one image, and one more reflective of the values of this culture we find ourselves in than the essence of the absolute itself.  Everything is art, really.  People just don’t do much for themselves anymore, in the sense of creating tangible daily objects and food and whatnot,  and lose sight of that truth.  We’ve allowed things to be run by the Ego, with Profit as the motive, and anything that fits into that paradigm works.  So, that includes tantrums but it doesn’t necessarily include work for the good of all.  I happen to think that craft, art, all the things we do as humans to express and expand our vision and experience, work toward the good of all and are valuable.  The idea of the limited few overarching everything with their drive for profit- monetary, of course- is not in the end a workable one.

And what, you might ask (or not) does this have to do with momentum?  It has to do with the striving toward awareness and fulfillment of purpose instead of the blinkered rush toward something unitary and abstract, like profit.  Or finishing up six tasks so you can sit, quietly panting from exertion and wondering if you’ve actually accomplished anything.  So then time gets distributed a bit differently.  Some days are devoted to the unitary purpose, say going to the dump or pulling weeds.  Others are devoted to developing awareness.  Generally one likes to do both those things at the same time but that is not always possible.  That is when momentum has been lost.  To recover momentum, maybe one has to step back from the pairs of opposites populating everything, and see where the real yesses and noes are.  And THAT, Gentle Reader, is where we often get snarled up around here.  Because, when you look at it, everything is right, it’s all moving along and whatnot. The world is not going to end if task A or B doesn’t get done immediately, even though it may “feel” that way.   Our attention gets snagged on something and we get stuck because we react to it, thinking it is something substantial, which usually it isn’t.  It doesn’t mean just blithely saying, oh, it’s all an illusion, tra la.  Or getting mired in the crush of it all, so many points and sharp places and obscure turnoffs.

What it does mean is what we’ve been padding our way through the last few days.  No answers yet.  And, I’m beginning to be more sure that maybe it isn’t answers that there are, at all.  More questions, mostly.  And an ever present sense of being opened up, experiencing whatever it is, feeling the feelings and refraining from attaching meaning or opinion to them whenever possible.  It’s oddly painful, oddly joyful.  One thing for sure is there’s no going back, even or especially when you feel it’s time for a thoracic surgeon to enter the picture and sew you back together.  But there’s no needle, no thread, no bright light.  And funnily enough, when you do get someplace you can examine that wide open space in you, it’s healed up or it isn’t, but it’s fine as it is.  JEEPERS.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. A feeling, I know all too well. But in my case, the distractions were mostly self-inflicted. As you say, there are different standards for males and females when it comes to accomodating the world.

    I’m reminded of tales of ancient Tibetan monks who resolved to achieve elightenment by meditating ceaselessly until they reach their goal or until they die. Sometimes it takes a resolve of Tungsten-Carbide (iron rusts a bit) to get things done (or in my case, go to the grocery store). But after listening to everyone on when, where and how to live, I suddenly discovered my inner megaphone.

    Now I do things because I can. No reason or validation necessary as long as it’s bound my own sense of morals.

    Bottom line is that any list of priorities we make can be considered as our own personal National Constitution. They’re both living documents that can change with time and sanity (our own as well as those around us) and our interpretation thereof.

    other people have been telling me that what I’m doing isn’t important and I should do something else, generally something they wanted done.

    See, this is why I carry myself like a 16th century pirate when I’m expecting demands from someone I don’t particularly like.

    I once had to declare, “Blast ye, vile harlot! I do no favors for ye today!” and then I quickly walked away before the neighbors called the cops.

    Two things accomplished:

    1) She thinks I’m crazy, which is good because she’ll never ask me to do anything for her again.

    2) I went home and made myself a huge cup of coffee which I manged to sip slowly and enjoy instead… The hell with my to-do list.

    Reply

  2. Enjoyment, that’s the thing- so easy to lose sight of, yet so basic and generally available. I REALLY REALLY like the 16th century pirate thing- I shall adopt it forthwith, with your permission. Everyone thinks I’m crazy already anyway so some additional declamation and brandishing of wooden spoons may just do the trick- a Pirate Bear. How great is THAT? Now, on to the UPS guy…..

    Reply

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