Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Perpetual Harvest of Self-Learning

Note: It struck me, as I was writing this, how we often treat ourselves and our creativity like a perpetual harvest, always taking from ourselves and expecting more, but without the necessary break that we need to rebuild. That rebuilding time is just as vital at the fruits that come later, but our expectation, our demands seem louder in silence than in the hurry of harvesting. Then it is all hurry, hurry to preserve things before they "go bad" - but it is only with the quiet as a counterpoint that we can truly savor the summer within is, the sunshine and outward manifestations of a journey that is filled with many moments of preparation, longing, strife, and joy. Thus, I chose some of my favorite harvests from last year as a photographic, albeit slightly cliché, accompaniment.

Hello again, friends! It has been a little while, hasn't it? I suppose it has. Funny enough, I usually have a firm stance on blogging and explanations - mostly that there is no need to apologize or explain absences and that we should just continue to produce quality product, explanations aside. Three months though, that is a sabbatical. I've have half-written posts, fully-fleshed out excuses and a back-log of photos that will take me days to cull through. Truth? I fell. I fell off schedule, I stumbled through a bout of depression, I waded through getting back on track and I am trying, as always, and again, to walk tall on the path that brings me happiness and completion.

This is a cycle many of us face, I think, both small and large. From the pile of laundry that builds while you are busy with work or recovering from a cold (a hem, like me, right now) to the larger, more weighing struggles - we stumble a little, we fall, we give up, give in, then slowly pick ourselves up again. There is nothing to be ashamed of in the normal struggle that is being human, the oppositional, defiant pulling we do against everything that hangs on us, pulls or pushes us down. We all have our triggers, our weak points, and our emotional Achilles heels. I do love though, the way my friend Tara looks at things as freeing, especially depression (seasonal or otherwise).


Tara is one of those people who is wildly talented with words, incredibly thoughtful, and shirks social media (that alone makes me envy her fortitude) – a combination which could make you fiercely jealous if it weren’t for feeling so lucky that you were on the receiving end of her emails or phone call. She also happens to be very strong in her faith, which is neither here nor there but peppers her speech, so you know…

“…Lately I'm seeing depression as less of a curse and more of a natural season for becoming a free-er more honest entity.

As terrifying as that one monster depression patch was for me (can't believe how long ago it was now-praise God) I simply cannot ignore how much it has enriched my life. Depression...leads us to places of such desolation that we are forced, as we reemerge, to upgrade to new operating systems. We reached that dead end because, let's face it, something just wasn't working for us. Whether it was a body's chemical response to outside stimuli, a false belief about self and/or our creator, or the result of a long-term dose of self-inflicted stress and negativity. One way or the other we come back around from depression with the working knowledge that at least a few things that drove us into that pit just haven't been worth the agony. And (my favorite part) once the paralysis of depression wears off we are free at that time to drop them like it's hot (for lack of a better term).”

While it has taken a little while, I think I have identified what my cues were and what I needed to get rid of, change, take charge of, etc. Long story short, a whole lot of taking from me, too much giving, and one more person nagging/making demands was just too much. So be it. I have learned, and re-learned, the same truths I have known about myself for a long time, this time perhaps with more clarity, and in turning I have come back to the same place I know offers fulfillment as well.


There are some sad and inevitable truths and frustrations with being public about your life, this “business of blogging” – sometimes it can feel one sided, like you are constantly giving, and when people take, or rather, when people steal your work, your images, your words, your “product” it is maddening and defeating. The fulfillment of so many wonderful friends and readers can be so easily distracted by the disrespectful when really it should be the other way around - the light drowning out the darkness.

In the end, like all creative ventures, the fulfillment is in the process, the joy in the journey, the satisfaction in the small victories. I will probably never feel satisfied with my work, I’ll always be a little embarrassed that I could do better somehow. I will continue to have a list a mile long of things I want to write about but won't because I'm self-dismissive and fear being trite. I will always second guess how much to reveal and how much to keep close to my heart; the fine thread that embroiders the intersections of authenticity, honesty, creativity, and opinion will always be transparent and slip from my fingers just when I think I’ve grasped it – and I am learning, a little more with each test and every new day, to be ok with that, to embrace the balance of chaos and control but not let it take me to the brink.

Creative impulse is a gift and a curse; it is a burden to have a deep need to cobble together new projects and an unsettling emptiness when you are not creating, but it is fulfilling, wildly distracting, and satisfying in a way that can’t be explained as well. Many writers talk about this need, this yearning, this compulsion to write, it is the same for artists as well, for those who have a creative spark in their soul, you can leave it behind, you can try to tuck it away or hide from it, you can let your life get in the way, but in the end you always come home to the place of yearning, and in the end you have to feed that yearning in order to feel whole.

For now I'm taking my own advice, getting out of my way, and not apologizing for being. Sometimes we must simply be - in whatever way that is or needs to be, in silence, in laughter, in action or inaction, and most especially in our creativity. I’m glad to be back in a place that feels like home and I hope you’ll still come visit often.


Livieland said...

Welcome back to a better place, and also to your corner of the blogging world. Looking forward to reading what you write, and enjoying the sound of your 'voice' more often.


Anonymous said...

I needed to be reminded of these words today. You have no idea how much I needed to be reminded.
Thank you sweet friend.
I love you.


Ms Sharma said...

Beautifully written. Thank you so much for writing this post. I understand each and very word because I am going through this phase now and quite often do.

Today as I was facing the screen with exactly the same depression, the same feelings (surprising isn't it?) I saw your post. It helped me to know that there are some other who think like and feel like me. It made me much better after reading this post.

Sometimes, we are so far living in different countries, from different cultures, different backgrounds, yet our feelings and thoughts are same.It reminds me that we are humans after all -most wonderful creations of God.

Thank you once again. These words of yours have helped me a lot.

Keep posting..Hugs

Ms Sharma

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) said...

So glad to have you back! This was very well written and so brave of you to write about. I think we all struggle and get off track at times--I definitely had a major hiatus with blogging last spring when I was in the midst of figuring out my plans.

And yes, people stealing work or images, or what have you, is incredibly upsetting. But glad to hear that you have figured out ways to cope and continue writing!

All the best!!

Brandi said...

So glad you're back.
A lot of the feeling you've expressed here I've felt too along the way. I've sometimes been nervous to put something out there, for fear people would claim my work or ideas as their own. It's scary, but I think it's happened to even the greatest inventors and thinkers of our time. I think if we keep approaching what we do with open hearts, that's the best. Otherwise we hold back the beauty we have to share.

Anonymous said...

And, that's how the cookie crumbles! I like you!

1000+1 said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts no matter how hard it could be…I agree about the creative spark--when it is inside you it will have to find the way out, one way or another. Your words resonated with my own feelings so deeply…I don't want to admit, but I'm glad I'm not alone feeling this way…You are not alone!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I know what you mean and I appreciate your post.

Tara Vorhes said...

I am glad that you were able to work through what was challenging you and hope that you are finding fulfillment in your projects. The disrespect for created content is maddening yet it is also quite possibly as old as creating content.

And so glad that you are back writing and sharing in this space!