4:30am in the studio is like hanging out with a special old friend I’ve not seen for a long time. We both like gentle light, strong hot coffee. We share a deep enjoyment of the act of listening to the day as it begins. I feel my face wake up, muscle by muscle, and take it’s vertical, day-time shape, As my trusted friend and witness, 4:30am is content to hold the space for this to happen.
Because of personal circumstances I lived in this studio for ten months, including the three it took to paint ten #Selfie paintings, write the blog, rehearse the show, and perform / launch the idea on June 20. On June 22 I moved all of my stored stuff – beds, dressers, books, bookshelves, pots, pans, chairs, clothing – and all the memories they contained into a house. Out of my chrysalis, into a house. A shock.
If you’ve ever seen a butterfly emerge you’ll know that their wings are tiny when they climb out of their old tiny tiny space. It’s impossible for them to fly at this stage – they need air, and time to breathe their wings into being. They need to stay still. (For reference – try this)
I’ve been deeply divided on the stillness issue since my move. Not comfortable with it, since there are things to be done, structures to build, schedules to draw and cats to herd. Book to write, applications, meetings, proposals, paintings, practise…. and now also dishes, laundry, lawn, garden, stairs, appliances. I’ve been clumsy, this past month, with all of it.
In honour of the creative process I’d like to suggest here that each of us is in one stage of metamorphosis at any given time – egg; caterpillar; chrysalis; butterfly – perhaps even several at a time, through overlapping projects, or new; developing; changing; long-term relationships. Two things of note – a) one stage is not better than another; this is a circular, perpetual cycle – i.e., yes you get wings at some point, but then you’re an egg again after that…. b) it’s better if you acknowledge and think about which stage you’re at in any given project, scenario, or in relationship with the world.
It’s never ever easy to change, if the change is real. In fact, change is deeply uncomfortable, clumsy and awkward, especially if you resist. And oh, but we do, don’t we.
Thank The Maker, then, for making Change the only constant in our lives. Without these shocks that send us deep deep into our internal, uncomfortable places, the dark dark shadows that make our small selves whimper with fear – without this we would be without humility, without compassion, unsoftened by love and forgiveness. Calloused and hardened, encased in self-judgement, self-righteousness, criticism that closes its’ ears to learning. Our beautiful, winged souls would wither, and eventually die.
It’s true – I have always wanted to fly. So I will do my best to understand and dissolve this resistance I feel, and love what comes.