Years ago, I was hangin’ with Lorna, one of my “wise woman” friends. I told her about being interviewed Nicolette Tallmadge, on her podcast, “Crafting Voices”) and how I got shivers down my back (in a good way!) listening to myself talk about my art. You can listen to this interview “Inspirations” here. And you can read more about Nicolette and her program here. It’s about 45 minutes and I’m at the very end. Hey, it’s worth the wait! (Oh geez, never mind, 36 minutes is to long to wait for almost anything.)
In that interview, I shared a break-through moment I had years ago, when I realized the story about the Lascaux Cave, was the story about myself, and my life journey with art.
I see the Lascaux cave as a metaphor for me.
My friend Lorna laughed. “I got that the first time you told me the cave stories!” she exclaimed. “That cave is your heart.”
We talked more about the active listening exercise I learned from another “wise woman” artist/mentor, Deborah Kruger. She taught me that we all know in our heart–what it is we want and what we can do about it. We just need the opportunity to be deeply listened to, so that that it can come out.
Much later that night, I woke up from a dead sleep.
I had a rampaging thought. Can’t even remember what it was now. I think it was some issue to do with my art.
And I could actually feel my mind pounce on that thought like a dog on a bone. It began to pry at it and tear at it, trying to get it open.
It was like someone had given me a long division problem and told me to solve it in my head.
And just as suddenly, I realized what was happening.
This wasn’t really all “me” right now.
Well, yes, it’s “me” in there. But it was overlaid with something else going on.
This was the stage of life I was in. For the first time, I could actually see that, feel that, watch it happen. I knew exactly when my creative, happy, trusting right brain faltered and my logical, forceful, anxious left brain tried to leap in to save the day. (Or rather, solve the day–which didn’t exactly need solving.)
It was empowering.
My mind is in constant overdrive mode on problem-solving and figuring-things-out. And just like a kid with a hammer, where everything looks like a nail, right now, everything that comes into my mind and into my life, looks like a problem I need to solve.
But that isn’t really true.
Everything interfering with my art right now is someone else’s problem that I’ve picked up to solve.
Or a problem I thought I had about my work and where to go with it, that I’ve actually already figured out.
I already know the ultimate answer.
It was in the cave, the cave that is my heart, all the time.
I realize as I put this to cyber paper that morning, that this is why, when I talk about the cave or my art, I always–always–put my hand to my chest, over my heart.
Because….Everything I need to know is there.
And that’s the story I need to get out into the world.
I went downstairs to write that down. And once it was out of my head, and down on paper, I went peacefully back to sleep.
As I reread this for spelling errors, I realize some people might be jumping up and down right now, yelling, “What? WHAT? What was the answer?”
If I told you all the insights, you would just say, “Oh, I know that!” or “You’ve already told us that!”
Mostly, they are the things I’ve been writing about and the insights I’ve had over the last decade or so.
Do your work. Do your own work. Do what makes you happy. Do what has meaning for you. Do it so people know who you are. Do what you can, until you can do better. Do what you can, until you can do more. Do what you can, until you can do no more.
And so on, and so on….
The big answer understanding was, my art, and writing about my art, is the process that makes stories in my heart, visible in the world.
And nothing–certainly not other people’s problems–can interfere with that. When I get back to that powerful place where I believe that, and act on that, every day, I will do more good in the world than almost everything else I’m spending time on right now. (Except perhaps for sharing that process with others.)
I saw that the doubts I had are simply stages of my life I go through. Sometimes things are easy. Sometimes things are hard. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. But then it gets a little easier. And starts all over again.
For the first time, I could really see that. I let go of
all a lot of that angst.
But you already knew that, didn’t you?