Sunday, November 18, 2012

Letting meaning trump mood

This morning I woke up pretty down. No particular reason except maybe low barometer or the big letdown that comes when I've been working furiously and suddenly all the projects are complete and I haven't yet transitioned into off-time. I had planned to go to the studio to paint today but I didn't feel like hustling, I didn't feel like having any plans at all. I needed a whatever's next day, just moving through the day with whatever strikes my fancy to do.

So I hung out in my pajamas and worked on the novel I'm getting ready to self-publish and wrote in my journal and read some of Penny Marshall's memoir (interesting but not well written) and then I remembered a a conversation I had yesterday with my friend Pam. I was telling her about one of Eric Maisel's teachings: that meaning can trump mood. That we don't have to succumb to depression or anxiety or any of the feelings that can keep us from doing our creative work. That we can put meaningful creative work ahead of our mood; we can make creating a priority.

I wondered what it would feel like to let go of feeling obligated to go to the studio (keeping my integrity with myself) and just go as the next thing in whatever's next. So I put on my painting clothes and went to the studio for 90 minutes. I finished a painting I'd been working on, cleaned up a little, and left feeling very much better, realigned with my life and what's meaningful to me.

I could have gone to the studio anyway. I could have forced myself to go, disciplined myself to go, but I'm not sure it would have had the same impact. Instead, it was okay if I didn't go and even better that I did. Next time you're not in the mood to do your art or writing, see what happens if you can step into what's meaningful instead of into your mood.

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