Wednesday, 13 November 2013

struggling with freedom

This thing that Kath picked up on about what I called the commitment to the practice seems to go right to the heart of something. I feel that I've picked up from my teachers the need for this commitment, for something that can be carried out over time, in some kind of regular and consistent way. And yet the idea of absolutely sticking to something is also against the spirit of it all, somehow.

Apart from anything else, it's both my impression from them, and my own experience, that one of the points of the whole idea of the practice is that it's enjoyable. It's enlivening, it's surprising, it makes you feel wonderful, alive, connected. It makes your art happen and moves it into new places. So why do so many of us struggle to find a way to do it that works on a regular basis?

If anyone reading this wants to wade in with a comment or a personal report, please do, it would help me a lot. Or email me privately and I'll incorporate your response into another blog post.

I came back from the workshop feeling very inspired by the simple idea that it was clear to me that I needed to discipline the wonderful freedom that I have now set my life up to give me, and also that I needed to free any idea I presently had about the nature of that discipline.

And it seems to be as difficult as ever, perhaps even harder.



  1. Hi Tamsin,

    Thanks for bringing up this topic. I think that one aspect that makes it difficult is a matter of focus. My own artistry is more narrow than some as I am working in the realm of lyrics and music and primarily guitar and voice. But even within that narrowness I have so many areas that I could call my practice. For my part I have been trying to cooperate with the idea of habits. I've been Trying to make it a habit to hold a regular practice where I can swim in the deep end of creativity. But which aspect am I to make a habit? Lyric gathering? Lyric writing? Matching Harmonies to lyrics? Recording? Improving my guitar playing? I have to admit I get lost some times. Then I return to a place where I feel productive and I must have read somewhere that the important thing is to be in the process (somewhere in the process) of creating every day, and that feels doable.

  2. HI Dan, thanks for commenting. Very interesting and helpful to me. I like that idea about just being in the process. That makes a lot of sense, and perhaps is also why it feels so uncomfortable, because being in process perhaps can mean that there may be no obvious focus, purpose, or result...

    I was talking to someone recently who was speaking about waiting until she felt she was getting somewhere (actually, I think she said something about feeling that she might be 'any good'...) before making more of a commitment to her art - and I heard myself saying something about the fact that the process NEVER feels as if it's 'getting somewhere'. It's only with hindsight that I can see that I seem to have made some paintings, maybe even developed something - I can remember so well at the time how I felt just as lost as I always do now. So perhaps that sense of not knowing what to do or what to focus on is an integral part of what we're all trying to do?

    Perhaps that's why this is CREATIVE work - you can't force it, you never quite know what to do or what's coming next... you just have to keep on with some kind of doing... Which makes me think of faith, not in a religious or spiritual sense, but as in having faith that doing the process IS enough, that everything else will come.

    We can see this if look backwards.... It just feels so uncomfortable in the moment. I wonder if that's because, actually, when we feel doubt or confusion we've LEFT the moment and are starting to look for results, outcomes, stuff to show in the future, do you think?

    (sorry for the shouty capitals, can't do italics in here!)



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