Sunday, December 20, 2009

Empty

As an artist, I have been on a journey. There was a time I doubted my abilities in the light of so much natural talent out there. Comparisons were made, and I decided the "artist" label did not apply to me. I just didn't measure up. Since then, my definition of artist has changed and broadened to mean anyone who is on a creative path. There is a whole inner running dialog about the meaning of creativity, and included in that dialog are thoughts about origins.
Originality is something I strive for. I believe it is a real struggle. Judging something as original (as in, originating from me) requires my inner critic, yes, and it also helps bring out work that is unique to me. My art is the expression of who I am, distilled to its essence, originating from itself, an outer expression of the Flow I somehow tapped into.
Somewhere along the way, we are taught that the wisdom of books and experts is exactly what we need, that our own wisdom is not to be wholly trusted, that our ideas are suspect. The educational system I was brought up in encouraged a surface knowledge of facts, and an aptitude toward easily recalling these facts. The times I was encouraged to discover and explore and think for myself seemed fewer by far, and by the time I was given those opportunities, I sincerely didn't know how.
I bring this up because we are all a product of our society, we all have so many outer "voices" that contribute to who we are. We definitely live in a society filled with noisy opinions and news and facts and experts and methods and trends. I also bring this up because I believe art and parenting and creativity and relationships are inherently bonded, and if you are a parent, the memories you create for your child, the words you paint with, the habits you form, these are your art.
This art has an origin. We have all formed our parenting based on the example of our parents, books we've read, other parents we've connected with. But still, the relationship we form with our children is unique. Each moment we spend with our child is the expression of those decisions we've made and which voices we've identified with.  Still, I ask myself, and I ask you...what are you...what are you and your child...when you are distilled to your essence....stripped of outer voices...trusting each other? What are you when you are empty and that emptiness is illuminated with only love? What kind of dance ensues when one is that open?
One of the blessings of working with parents in a parent-child class is watching a group wisdom unfold. If I allow the space for parents to talk to one another (rather than jump in with the "right" answer), they touch on what is right for their child...they help each other strip away those outer voices...they help each other remove self-doubt and trust their intuition. They are able to observe more. They engage in the art of parenting.
Being original requires thinking through a thing before merely parroting something we've heard, or our own parents. It requires coming from a place of listening as opposed to mere automatic reacting. Sometimes what we imitate rings true for us, sometimes it doesn't. It is important, at least for me, for me to find out where I am composing the song, where I am putting my voice to someone else's song, or where I am completely composing and singing my own song. When I am the singer and the song, I have found my voice....as parent, as artist, as wife, as friend.
Today I will ponder the meaning of emptiness and openness in my parenting, and keep myself original!

7 comments:

  1. yes, yes, so true! This part resonated hard and fast for me - "Somewhere along the way, we are taught that the wisdom of books and experts is exactly what we need, that our own wisdom is not to be wholly trusted, that our ideas are suspect."

    As a writer, I believe this strongly, and I can't stand all the writing advice books out there, in particular the one I read last week which said that it's impossible to be a good writer without having someone educate you as to the skill of it.

    Thank you for such a very wise post.

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  2. angela
    this is so good. first i want to thank you for taking the time to write and share it.
    i always question who is telling us what is the right way or wrong way. my little trick sometimes is to think "what would i think if i were the only person on this earth.. without any other influences.. what would i think then..

    the wisdom God naturally gives to us is pretty amazing. if we could just quiet all the other voices around us.

    P.S
    Can i just say before I go.. i think you are a wonderful artist and appreicate the art you put out for us to see.

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  3. A beautiful post, Angela. I agree that there is an art to being a nurturer of these sweet souls, our children. One of the ways I have found a connection with my own children in a very pure way is to share with them experiences of my own childhood. There are moments when I'm telling the story that I feel like the little child I once was and I can see again with those naive eyes. It's a moment I feel so connected to them and them to me. Thank you for articulating this so well.

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  4. Thank you for this post. In this information age, I think it can sometimes be so hard to trust our own intuition. We have to find the "right" answer because someone has done this before us and they "know". It is our life and our children and that is unique, and only we can know what is best for the collective of our families. We are creative beings - all of us. I have read many times to keep your preschooler out of formal lessons, but putting Deladis in dance class has been a great thing for our family, and she loves it. I am more and more of the mindset that I don't need 20 books to tell me how to parent, or teach my children. I just need an idea and the courage to believe in us.

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  5. This is such a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing such thoughts.

    Creativity and mothering is something of a topic for me this last year or so. It a very real tangible sense, and also in a deeper mysterious sense.

    I love that you speak of parenting as a creative act. Of course it is.

    I am an advocate for intuition being the first point we turn to. So I wholly aggree with your remise that we learn to distrust ourselves becuase of external voices.

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