There’s a saying in the rooms of recovery that ‘your disease is doing push-ups’ while you’re in there working on sobriety, abstinence, solvency or your form of mental and spiritual well-being. Translated, if you choose to go back ‘out there’ and do research, say in bars, Baskin-Robbins, etc.–chances are, you’ll spiral back into your addiction very quickly. It’s a sobering reminder that external forces are in operation while you’re practicing your internal ones.
Let me give that scary but, significant, warning a positive spin.
Say, once-upon-a-time, you left your creative soul to pursue more financially rewarding work. This is a reminder that the artist/musician/actor in you didn’t obediently retreat into a corner and sit there.
No. The whole time you’ve been accounting, selling, teaching, or whatever your chosen departure has been, you’ve also been listening to tunes, eying the colors of the sunset, feeling the texture of items placed in your path and making observations, judgments and designs in your brain. Your inner artist has been doing push-ups, staying actively alert and aware, just waiting for you to sit down and invite her back.
There is no time like a sheltering-in-place order to nurture that vibrant force within. I say this because my inner artist has recently made a re-entry, and boy! Is she having the time of her life.
Before we were ordered to stay home, I had the distinct pleasure and privilege of studying the art of penny rug making with the esteemed artist, Liz Alpert Fay. I started my first one during the session at the Guilford Art Center the weekend before they had to close their doors. Liz gave us socially-distanced participants each a kit of pattern pieces, swatches of felted wool and enough inspiration for this artist to soar.
I attempted my first pillow-sized piece that March weekend, but eventually unstitched that trial-and-error pillow top in order to re-use the wool backing. But I have made several since then. It’s what’s getting me out of bed in the morning. The thrill of the colors, the touch of the soft wool, the beauty of the Pearl Cotton thread and the ability to compose using these simple structures.
I described the ‘pennies’ to my action partner on the phone this morning. “Each circle is a work of art,” I told her. Imagine now 20 of those mini-works of art in one piece. “You’re creating circles of art throughout your life,” she reflected noting that my newest coaching group is, indeed, called Transformative Coaching Circles. I love the symbolism of the circle–having no beginning and no end – as coming up with solutions to each of life’s quandaries whether in composition, client success or daily chores around my apartment. I love to bring whatever I’m working on to completion. There’s enormous satisfaction in that as well as multiple works of art in the accomplishment.
In writing workshops, they call that coming full circle a bagel – bringing in the beginning and tying it neatly to the ending. Below you’ll find some samples of my newest artworks. My push-up-doing inner artist is having a heyday even though I’d laid her off nearly 20 years ago.
I challenge you, during this quarantine, to invite your inner artist out for an afternoon, a day or a weekend. May her creativity spark something inside of you that will carry you through this unpredictable, unknowable time we’re in. The world will benefit from your joy.
Since you’ve read all the way down here, you get to see some of the pieces I’ve made. Thanks for taking the time today.