I've been doing Art Every Day Month (November) for the last 2/3 of the month, since I found out about it. I will try to continue to draw or paint every day, because the results have been surprisingly powerful for me. But it might be seen as a mixed blessing...
Along with AEDM I changed a few more things, knowing how I'm wired artistically from experience and helpful books (like Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way). I stopped reading anything not work related (no choice there, or I would have stopped that reading, as well) and I stopped listening to the news (I already don't read a paper nor do I EVER watch TV news). I know that the part of me that dreams images is muddled or stifled by reading and news. I also cut back on blogging and reading blogs - same reasons. Grenouille has twice complained in a gentle, humorous way, but he is a patient guy. And I've been even more dedicated to The Morning Pages (write three long-hand pages every morning when you first get up. Affirmations are a good idea, but no other rules - content not important - do it before the inner censor wakes up). This is a Julia Cameron item, and it works for me - if I stop the Morning Pages, I stop painting.
The result over these last few weeks has been a burst of artistic activity and a depth of connection with my inner artist. It has changed my day job, as well, since I am more clear headed and sure of my direction there, too. The result has been more creative work and more decisive steps. It was like fasting - it cleared things up. And like the end of fasting, I will likely go back to news and reading, but I think in a different way, and in more moderation.
I have been softened up emotionally. This is a direct result of connecting with my interior child and interior artist. This has allowed me to deeply feel love, gratitude, awe, and beauty these last few weeks. It consumes a lot of energy, as emotions have more impact all the way around.
So the family gatherings over these last two days were more tiring and complicated than usual. I found myself almost shy, which is unusual for me. I found conversation to be an effort, because I am naturally more quiet. And I found the amount of emotional traffic, even when it was almost all positive, to be exhausting. So I slept 11 hours last night (I can hardly ever slepp more than 8) and I don't want to talk to anyone today.
And I was unprepared for the newspaper sitting on Mother's counter. The front page was the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. I had heard nothing of this. I read just the few paragraphs on the front page, and it was like having scalding hot water poured over me. I could not believe what I was reading. I was enraged and deeply distressed that people could DO this sort of thing, to innocent by-standers. I felt an explosive wave of fury at militant groups of any stripe, in any culture. I will post on that also, separately.
I had nightmares last night, probably triggered by the Mumbai situation. One in particular was so detailed, horrific, and bloody - full of torture and excrutiating pain and the gradual destruction of human beings, that I woke barely able to breathe. I had to go sleep in another room, in order to change my scene and try to get it out of my mind. I hardly ever have dreams of this kind, and I can't remember any dream this driven by criminally insane people.
Today I am feeling battered and bruised by the demands of the holidays, the news, the militant state of so many opinions and people in America and overseas, and the horrific dreams of last night.
So would I reconsider being this open? Would I, considering the last 48 hours impact on me, rethink keeping so in toush with my emotions and my art? Not at all. I can't imagine going back to being so disconnected. Even though I have not stayed in touch with the news, I am MUCH more connected to emotions, people around me, and the MEANING of the news (The little news I hear). I will choose that.
I am excited, also, about the prospect that my art will also gradually become more engaged with emotions and issues. That's worth all the pain. I have no idea where this is going, but I am excited to be making the trip.
Before I even found AEDM - two days before, I think - my Morning Pages seemed to write themselves, and they were telling me repeatedly (three pages is a lot of space) that today was the start of a new direction - I had crossed a divide - and my life was headed somewhere different. I should enjoy the transition and the limbo before the new commitments.
I'm doing my best. I am surprised to find that I can take the pain (maybe even relish it, as more sign of being alive, and as an influence on life and art) better than ever before.
Bring it on. I'll keep taking the steps immediately before me.