Art is made by choosing a set of constraints, using them to create a boundary, and then building a world inside it.
With words or paint, metal or wood, musical instrument or food — whatever your art, it is a collaboration between you, the medium you work with, the soul of the work (which has its own vision for what its life will be) and the world that will receive it or participate in it, extending it beyond itself through the responses it evokes.
We’ve never had external constraints like the ones we have now, in this time of pandemic. There’s an opportunity here.
I’m not talking about opportunity as in get productive, rah rah rah! Rather, this is an opportunity to come home to yourself, in whatever way you do that — we each have our own methods of getting there, but they all begin by clearing away that which is not you, and embracing the many faces of you that you discover.
Within the constraints imposed by this virus and its depredations, there’s an opportunity for artistic freedom. Again, I’m not talking about not-doing or doing, though for you one or the other may be the sweetest kind of freedom.
You have the freedom to explore your depths, to get to know the glorious clay of your desires and to discover just how your fingertip is related to that mountain whose nose touches the sky.
If you can — and you may not have the luxury of doing so — use this time to return to yourself. Yourself before you changed your face to reflect the faces in front of you. Yourself as you are now, today. Not as you wish you were, or believe yourself to be, not what others want you to be, but yourself, unadorned and naked to your own loving gaze.
There’s magic in that. And, in a rare period of extended grace, you don’t have to use up your energy resisting the consumerist maw of the world beyond your doorstep. It’s never been easier to turn off the relentless push-push-push of society. Though you can — if you like that sort of thing — indulge in even more engagement online. It seems everyone is offering yoga or dance or story hour or something to soothe the owie. This can be comforting and lovely, so long as the balm doesn’t muffle you from the truth of yourself. Comfort can be the silkiest of traps, though it doesn’t have to be. When comfort becomes a substitute for self, trouble arises.
So take the strange constraints exerted by this world in the throes of pandemic, and make it the frame for the art of coming home to yourself.
Befriend yourself by getting know and love, or at least make peace with, every dimension of yourself. Not just your incarnate self, but your disincarnate soul too, and its friends, and the subtle energy worlds in which it lives.
Your personhood, with which you meet every challenge, every opportunity, every experience and choice and relationship, is strengthened and balanced by this process of befriending every aspect of yourself.
Devote yourself to this practice, and you will build profound trust in your own character, in your ability to navigate the rockiest of shoals. You’ll find yourself — not unassailable, but reliable, trustworthy, no matter what. That’s the art that you make; that’s the miracle.