Yesterday I had an epiphany: A friend asked if I have been painting or writing.
I found myself thinking, “No, I have been taking refuge in my left-brained self.“
After I spoke those words, it became clear to me. I have been avoiding writing, painting, dancing and singing since I retired my painting of Kiawah…
It’s not that I heard a little voice in my head saying, “Myrna, knock it off for a while,” but rather, finding myself doing odd things at weird times of the day (and night). I’ve always know myself to be a procrastinator when it came to work or school deadlines, but I have also always known I would get myself together in time to perform as expected This go-around didn’t fall into place until yesterday when I slowed down enough to examine my own behavior:
- Middle of the night: knitting.
- Middle of the day: sorting out kitchen cupboards.
- Early a.m.: running out of the house to exercise, even when the class has been cancelled due to a blizzard.
- Anytime: organizing the linen closet; preparing to download Windows 7 and then sending the software and external drive back to Amazon, changing the sheets, washing my hair, removing the hair from the bathtub drain, going through piles of mail looking for xmas catalogs and old magazines, doing laundry, doing “paper work” i.e., taxes, wills, and this year’s Quicken entries, studying new recipes from an online food channel, etc., etc., etc…
I feel comfortable and competent in my left-brain. There are clear beginnings and endings. I can cross things off my list(s). I often experience a sense of immediate gratification. If there is a challenge, I know I can work through it because it fits with my linear brain state.
My first job after high school graduation was as a secretary. When I was about six or seven, my father used to take me to the office with him on Saturdays. I would sit on a high stool so I could play with the Underwood typewriter while he talked to me about his life and dreams. I didn’t understand much of what he said, but I know I felt safe.
Being a secretary in an office, remembering the smells and sounds of the office of my childhood, conjures up happy memories. In addition, I was really efficient and effective in my job and regularly received recognition for a job well done.
So, the left-brain feels safe for me; right-brain opens up here-to-fore untested waters. There is no template to follow; no easy path. When I am in the midst of a painting, I am actually part of the painting. I work from a place deep within myself and I must continually trust myself and the universe. A painting can keep me up all night thinking about my path; it can take over my consciousness and propel me into the stratosphere. I can remain lost until I finally give up the neat and the orderly, the planning and the early image.
I must go where my work takes me. But this is also where anxiety kicks in. I cannot maintain a safe state of being “in control.” I cannot see the image as it will be in the end. My clocks and calenders must surrender to the creative process. My relationships will be altered. The phone and the computer are intrusions as are most people. Food becomes a secondary issue. In other words, being in the “flow” changes everything… but, so does love.