Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Knowing

My partner Emily and I were discussing this blog the other day, and I said that I thought perhaps my next post could be briefer, less verbose.

This is not that post.

Recently, I was at a discount store and saw many rolls of shelf liner jumbled in a bin on the bottom shelf.  Most rolls I quickly dismissed as cutesy, plain, or garish, but I was strongly drawn to one print.  I found it elegant, with a rich color scheme (soft blue with deep brown being a personal favorite for me), and a lovely floral theme that managed to be intricate without being dated or busy.  I studied a roll for quite some time, just admiring it.  Then I put it back in the bin and walked on down the aisle.  I didn't need shelf liner.  I already have shelf liner in my cabinets, and even if I didn't, there were only 4 small rolls, not nearly enough to line all my cupboards.  Then at the end of the aisle, I pulled a u-turn and went back to put all 4 rolls with that print in my cart.

I am going to make something with these rolls.  I am not going to line my cupboards.  I am going to craft something beautiful with them.  I have no idea what, yet.  I just know that I am drawn to this print, I like looking at it, and it inspires me.  It's very important to bring into your life whatever inspires you, even if it means an impulse buy of shelf paper you don't need. What is most important about this shelf paper is that it makes me want to use it, makes me want to create something.  Maybe I'll cover a journal in it, or cut out shapes for a card, or wrap around a picture frame.  No idea.  But I know I want to experience it more deeply, in the way you do when you are creating.  You ruminate and imagine, and look into the material and feel around with your soul, asking what it wants to be.  Much like that Michelangelo quote: 

"I saw the angel in the stone and I carved until I set him free."

 As Emily revealed in her last post, you develop a relationship with your materials, with the tackiness of a glue, with the familiar and forgotten treasures in your box of ephemera as you rifle through it, with the consistency of your paint under your brush, even with where your tools are placed on your work table.  And the more time you spend with a material, with that shelf paper, the more comfortable and specific and unleashed you become.  You delve in, knowing it more thoroughly and also being surprised by what you find.  The longer you are willing to spend just being with your material in exploration, in a "not-knowing" state, the deeper your understanding becomes of its possibilities.  So I don't know yet what I will create with this shelf paper, but I am excited at the prospect of trying, failing, succeeding, exploring.  I can't wait to discover what I see in it to carve out.

And yet.  In my real life, there happen to be a number of large areas at the moment where I am in a state of "not-knowing."  And rather than being excited by this prospect, I am distinctly distressed and uncomfortable.  I would very much like to know what is going to happen, what the best choice is, and what I am supposed to do.  And it occurs to me that this is exactly what we teach in Doodlebugheart:  that the not-knowing state, the transition, is where the art begins.  And that nothing is more creative than the lives we are creating every moment, every breath.  That the transition is where the possibility exists most.  And to stay in that moment and let it show you what to carve out of your life.

And my reaction to that is:  {bleeecccchhhh}.

I suppose this is why they say you teach what you most need to learn, because I definitely do not want to sit in this state of not-knowing.  But imagine if I did treat this uncomfortable place of not-knowing what my future will be in the next 6 months the same way I treated the delicious not-knowing of crafting.  What if I reveled in my not-knowing as a chance to ruminate and imagine, and looked into my life with my soul, asking my life what it wants to be?  The longer you are willing to spend just being with your material in exploration, in a "not-knowing" state, the deeper your understanding becomes of its possibilities.  This is the material of my life right now, all these questions and uncertainties.  So this is my chance to understand all of my possibilities, to see all the opportunities I can create for my life.  Maybe if I can just explore, just rest calmly in the unknowing, then I can  become comfortable and specific and unleashed with my future.

My reaction still is:  {bleeecccchhhh}.  But also:  {yes}.

I am going to create something.  I have no idea what it is going to look like.  But I am going to make sure I create something beautiful.

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