Invite Her to the Table - on art, masks and change

Art is a mirror... digital art + quote of painting in process, Hali Karla  

There is so much happening under the current... all the time. Beauty, Connection, Truth, Exposure, Growth, Decay, Birth, Recognition of the most exquisite kind... sensed from within, then translated outward into the great song we share, if we dare attempt to use our voice.

How to 'say' it all - in word image or impression - fast enough (before it leaves the mind or memory), well enough (to honor its captivating essence), and in the same energetic spirit from which it seems to have come (while we are consciously tapped into that continuous river)... this desire to express it all often becomes the predicament of tapping in to creative flow and awareness.

To truly do so in this physical form, with its turtle-like tempo, is maybe a near impossible task, yet hints at the essence of the very call artists and visionaries are compelled answer.

It's what wakes us up in the middle of the night, catches our eye, writes the word or makes the mark through us and in spite of us - and yet also because of us, when we agree to meet the impulse as it is and surrender our best presence to the moment, again and again and again - even when all we seem to hear from our attention sometimes is crickets in the night.

This is what makes our art our own. The listening. The practice of the motions. And daring to take new steps in unfamiliar ways. It's not always extraordinary, and often even clumsy for awhile, but most certainly unique to each individual's creative fingerprint.

This showing up takes guts. And willingness to be alone, starting, practicing, waiting... until we forget we are waiting or seeking at all because the practice is simply true to who we are.

And even when it feels dry, we eventually come back to it, to do it... just in case... well, let's just say... just in case the muse stops by that day to join our hands and effort with her embodied becoming... in your medium of choice, of course.

Don't confuse this for waxing poetic, though, on the long wait for inspiration to strike (even though it might). Or some enlightening moment that will catapult the quality of your life miraculously into some improved terrain (though, occasionally, that can happen, too).

This is about doing the work of being and seeing. Your creative work, which will sometimes feel more like play, thankfully.

Your technique and skills will improve. It is practically a guaranteed bonus for showing up to practice regularly, yet skills alone are not the breath of honest, creative reflection.

This is about the work you can only do in solitude, and that sometimes looks a lot like not doing.

The solitude that offers the only remedy to the overwhelm of trying to express the amazing vision you are sensitive to as a creative being.

This is about showing up, as you are, again and again. Turning down outside noises so you can see yourself, feel yourself, be yourself. Turning them all the way down, if that's what it takes, for as long as it takes, so that you can get to know your self.

As a changing, energetic creature, with infinite essence and incredible resilience... with the telling of time and insight coursing through your creations... you are a story that changes and unfolds every moment you continue to breathe the world you are here to experience.

Let the course of your art come from the source of this breathing - this breath that both inspires and witnesses what you live and see and make - and your art will change to reflect this infinitely changing you.

We can worry so much about maintaining some sort of expectation that we think others hold for us. I know I can, anyway.

And I've had personal and professional relationships with so many creative people who have felt this, too... this tension between what they believe is perceived about them from their past combined with what they believe they have to continue doing or being, and what their raw and honest impulse is currently calling them to express and explore... which might look vastly different and leave everyone they know wondering what is going on with them.

And if it sounds like you, or ever has, I invite you to just remember to remind yourself that maintenance like that is no different than wearing a mask. Someone else's. Or yours from another life or time.

We change whether we like it or not. All we can hope to do is get as honest as we can about it in how we walk, show up and share.

If you are here to make art, or you know that art-making is an important part of your journey, then take off the masks. Show your multitudes of quarks, personalities and perspectives in what you create. We all have holy bones, grit and wrinkles that tell stories of how we got to where we are, one foot at a time taking us to places we didn't see coming.

Get curious about where you are now. Show your self what you see and give it a voice, a place, a face.

Because if you are making the same kind of art or having the same conversations you did ten years ago... I'm betting something in you is hungry to be seen and heard right now.

Something familiar, yet different, like a soul friend.

Invite her to the table.