06 Nov Art Begins in the Struggle for Equilibrium
I had a realization a few weeks ago that I was ‘in it’. I was in the struggle, and it was dirty and uncomfortable. I had stayed very busy for the first two months I lived in LA. I was by myself, working relentlessly for at least 12 hours/day doing research, getting caught up on new shows, networking, getting new headshots, working out, and putting together mailings. Then I had several days of complete discontent. I knew the pace I was going was not sustainable, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do if I wasn’t using every waking moment to keep my career moving forward.
That week felt like a shutdown. I had a day of self-pity, a day of despair, and a day of anger and frustration. I had a day in the middle there when I got my old drive back, and then I fell into numbness and not caring. It didn’t feel good. It felt like failing.
But the next day, it all came to me. That week, I had been going through a huge transition. I was moving from “do everything I possibly can every second of every day” to “this is my new life, and I need to continue to create while taking care of my mind, body, and soul.” It is a marathon, not a sprint. All of these opportunities will continue to present themselves because this is my life. I felt my whole being shift its focus to enjoying my work and the creative process.
Art begins in the struggle for equilibrium. One cannot create from a balanced state. Being off balance produces a predicament that is always interesting on stage. In the moment of imbalance, our animal instincts prompt us to struggle towards equilibrium and this struggle is endlessly engaging and fruitful... Finding yourself off balance provides you with an invitation to disorientation and difficulty. It is not a comfortable prospect. You are suddenly out of your element and out of control. And it is here the adventure begins. When you welcome imbalance, you will instantly enter new and uncharted territory in which you feel small and inadequate in relation to the task at hand. But the fruits of this engagement abound. - Anne Bogart
Since that breakdown, I have had a flood of creative energy and ideas come to me: a whole series of videos for my YouTube channel, the premise of a one-woman show that I am currently in the process of writing/developing, and lots of ideas for fun/creative/personal mailings.
It made me think, too, about the times when I have received accolades for work I’ve done. Almost without fail, the work that people have talked about most was the work that, at the time, was incredibly uncomfortable. It was difficult. I didn’t feel like I was doing a “good job.” Yet, the more this has happened, the more I am learning to trust my process and my training. As long as I continue studying and exploring challenging characters, I can trust that I am growing as an artist. Even if something doesn’t feel good, I need to trust that there is value in the work I am doing and the struggle I am going through.
I need to embrace the imbalance because that is where new expression emerges. I need to feel the discomfort of disequilibrium because that tells me I am growing and moving forward as I struggle to get my work (and my life) back in balance. Yes, it is an uncomfortable place to be. But that is the space where art and creativity is born.