On Connection, Clarity, and Friendship

My friend Diana Peach, a talented and generous writer, offered me a gift the other day. The gift came in the form of an exchange about creativity that added a layer of color to the evolving picture of my creative journey, my purpose for making art. I wanted to share it with you all in case the conversation, along with my associated thoughts, has any relevance for you. Also, you may want to follow Diana’s blog and make her your friend too!

In response to Diana’s comment on my most recent blog post about painting, I offered this:

I don’t often know why I feel compelled to write about something in particular. My ‘muse’ often seems to have an agenda beyond my ego’s comprehension. Through painting (and writing too), I often see where I am limited and where there is greater capacity than I recognize (or realize). I’m always looking to connect with others who are thoughtful about the creative journey, which surpasses any particular work of art (painted, written, or otherwise). Sometimes I think I care more about how we create than what is created. But that may simply be a stage in my creative journey. I wonder about yours. How you came to allow yourself to access the stories that live in you. Whether it was effortful (or perhaps still is?) or more like breathing (effortful moments nestled in automaticity/flow).

Diana’s response:

“Sometimes I think I care more about how we create than what is created.” A lovely musing and one I can relate to. I never tire of learning about the creative impulse and process of other artists. It’s utterly mesmerizing. I still seek that fluid balance of effortless inspiration and effortful craft. 

Until Diana quoted me back to myself, I’m not sure I fully appreciated the extent to which process has been more important to me than outcome. My attention to process was the reason I started this blog, but in the making of things I’d almost forgotten that.

I’m not the best painter or writer, nor do I expect myself to be. I am most interested in growth and evolution – my own and others’. I get better when I attend more fully to process, to understand where I am not allowing flow. I wonder how true that may be for others besides Diana and me.

We communicate imperfectly. We make offerings to each other without any certainty about how they will be received, without any sense of what we may get in return. Still, we try. We write. We paint. We share in whatever mediums and by whatever means we have. And I believe it is in the trying and sharing – the willingness to engage in common space – that we get closer to clarity. Sometimes we even get answers to questions we didn’t know we were asking!

By sharing, we allow ourselves the possibility of fresh air, which by definition is a kind of inspiration. In breath, the energy exchange with others, we may find a clearer path to creative flow in the midst of our effortful crafting. If any of this resonates, I’d love to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “On Connection, Clarity, and Friendship

  1. i’ve been wondering in my own meditations recently what it would be like to know the world from the vantage point of an acorn. what change in perspective, what revaluing of priorities, what sense of the weather might be impacted. what about our own mortality. might it be enough to know i could become an oak tree? this is perhaps too abstract a contemplation for this lovely post of yours, but somehow i was reminded of it by reading your post.

    perhaps the connection is that ‘trying and sharing’ and ‘energy exchange with others’ is what a painting or a poem on some level represents. seeing through the eyes and heart of another–their ‘citta,’ that we come to know about the experience of the acorn.

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    • Yes. And our perception of ‘being’ is imperfect, I think. Or at least incomplete. So I think the observing and the attempts to approximate with words does get us closer to understanding whatever our subject might be. Maybe an acorn painting is needed next? ❤

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  2. A beautiful post, Amanda, and I’m so glad our conversation was meaningful. This brought up another thought for me. While we seek that personal balance between effort and effortlessness, and between process and product, there is also a third leg to the stool – that balance of inward and outward. How much of what we do is internal, part of our personal journey and our need to create regardless of whether we have an audience? And how much is external, a means to communicate, to move, to delight, to have an impact on someone else, to connect? To find commonality as well as fascinating differences in perspective? I love this musing. It makes me think more about my creativity, how I apply my energy now and where I want to explore. ❤

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    • Thank you, Diana. Once again, you’ve added another layer! I so wish we could sit and talk about these things or walk together on the beautiful beach near where I live. These virtual conversations will have to do!

      You are so right to point to that third leg of the stool! I haven’t written much about this, but I think about it quite a lot. Are you reading my mind? Ha!

      The audience (or potential audience) must be considered if we hope to find connection with others in our creative work. However, the focus on how creative work will be received can also be a place of significant obstacle. A successful painter I really like once shared that becoming popular was not really the best thing that ever happened to her creatively – it was good for her finances, but a stage in her development that came with many challenges (i.e., more voices to quiet in the lived process of making paintings).

      So yes, I agree. Making art IS so much about finding the balance between inward and outward, effort and effortlessness, process and product. And it is also about going beyond all of these things, in a way. It is also about finding the place where being and doing are in harmony. Maybe this is the intersection, or “seat” of the stool 🙂

      I can’t wait to see where you apply your energy next and what comes from that exploration ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit and chat, or walk the beach and converse. A lovely summary, Amanda, or a fascinating discussion that honestly gives me such a warm feeling. I love the creative process when it becomes mindful and almost mystical. I can must about this endlessly. Lol. Have a lovely Sunday and week ahead. Happy Creating!

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