Multi-role Artist? Focus on Creating a Body of Work
One thing I’ve been focusing on this year is the practice of stillness. Consciously gathering all of my energy back toward myself, letting everything external fade into the background, and just sitting with that point of stillness. I’m not into meditating as it’s never appealed to me, but this practice is helping me center.
My energy (yours, too) is sent outward — sometimes across great distances of time and space — to be present with others many times throughout the day. Everything that requires our attention requires a part of our energy. With a family, clients, characters, and a healing ministry to attend to, I have various demands on my energy — all of which I’m grateful for. They are all gifts. They are all with purpose. They all give my life a rich, deep meaning and variety. (I’d get bored doing just one thing.)
But they can also leave me feeling fragmented. The practice of stillness has become a way to center, to own my sense of self, to take back what is my “stuff” and release what isn’t, and to rest. I enjoy the sense of oneness that emerges. One body of energy. One purpose. One being.
It has me longing for a sense of oneness in the roles I have outside of being a wife and mother.
Writer. Copywriter. Blogger. Healer. Guide.
No matter how hard I try to find some way to pull them all under the same umbrella there just isn’t a way. My clients aren’t interested in my healing ministry. My combat veterans aren’t interested in my corporate writing. My creative blog readers aren’t interested in either of those roles. They (you, forgive me if I’m wrong) want inspiration for how to stay on this creative life path. Not how to deal with what it’s like to kill Iraqis.
Yet, throughout all of this there IS one central point and that is ME.
While I may never be “brittarequedragicevic.com” (gosh, no one could spell that anyway!), I do know that there are deeply rooted “soul” themes that play out in everything I do. Helping people lead more joy-filled, holistic lives. Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit. Guiding people to find their way back to their innate power and fully own their power to create a life that feels good.
These are why I’m here. So, how can I better express that as one being? One purpose?
I’ve been thinking about what it means to create a body of work as an artist. To bring variant pieces into one collection. And the concept appeals to me. The writing I do for business clients is owned by them — it’s akin to a product I create for them to their specifications. Yet, I’ve found ways to put more of what matters in life into the messaging. At the end of the day, all of my clients are in business to help people live better, more successful lives. (The fact that my clients and I share the same fundamental values is NOT by chance — I intentionally select clients that resonate with me.) I’m not sure I would put client writing into what I would call my body of work, but it does have a place. And I definitely am putting more of “me” into it than ever before.
My novels, scripts and blog posts do align and do revolve explicitly around my soul themes. The stories I write choose me, but they choose me because I am the one who can best interpret what they have to share with the world.
My healing ministry at lifeafterwar.org also aligns fully, perhaps the most deeply, with why I’m on this earth. And many of the combat veterans who find their way to me are also very talented creatives. So there is even more cross-over.
Hmm. I don’t have the full answer to this yet. I’m still pondering how to feel more at one with everything I do. Trying to unify it all. A body of work appeals because it feels cohesive, it honors the differences as they are, and it brings the sense of owning the energy back to me.
How do you do it?
I would love to hear how you handle your multiple roles and purposes. How do you create a sense of oneness in the midst of all you are in this world?
Posted on Saturday, in Inspiration, Internal, Process. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
The above reminded of a time when I was an active writer, artist (using drawing, woodcarving, painting… I’m hesitant to place musician outside of these parentheses; for that part of my soul being expressed with the use of instruments incl. my own vocals, is in union with those that allowed the other modes of expression listed), I remember feeling that I knew that I was doing exactly what I existed to do. The same holds true for other activities that I was fully engaged in at the time. This included:
Working as a student, While also as a teacher with students and classes for those in pre-K through grad. school. I also served as a counselor, creator and facilitator of educational support groups.
It was a very active era for me with Love pumping me up and driving me to do and to be what seemed so clearly needed at the time. All of this just listed fired up my spirit with what seemed an unquenchable yearning for learning, assimilating what I learned, and using it immediately. It seemed to charge me up with energies that required further expression as through the 1st mentioned artistic endeavors which I allowed my soul to express, as to be, at that time.
I had a lot going on… As a writer and counselor, educator; as one involved in communiy service and development projects, etc., I was urged to publish books, and on some very divergent subjects. I was given contact with my would’ve been/could’ve been Editor at a large publishing firm in NYC.
That scared me! It seemed that I should have been filled with delight at the chance to share my work with large potions of the public in gen., as well as to more academic and career specific groups. So, I can relate to that peculiar uncertainty about having so much to give yet holding back not entirely sure why…
But, this is about aligning or finding the cohesiveness and one thread that holds all of our seemingly different means of soul expressions out from within and beyond ourselves as we channel certain forms of creativity. For myself, and here I’ll throw in my work with horses, dogs and other animals as something else I was gifted with at that time, what I felt held it all together (from teaching college students botony, astonomy, psychology, communication, to the how-to’s of educating classes of children or adults as individuals rather than as cookie-cutter classmates who would/could/ should learn in the same ways, at t he same rates, via the same “lesson plans;”
from singing solo or with a band, to working with horses, to allowing my soul to be fed by the beauty of the nature that surrounded me when outside gardening, fixing the roof, a car, or just being…that one force which made all of it tangibly connected in my heart was Love.
It was Love so powerful that while engaging in these activities which all felt and appeared very much connected and related to me, that they helped me to feel almost untouchable by the evils some of which were then current parts of my day to day life in the forms of abusive people at my then “home base, external”/where I went when not out working, with the primary intent being to sleep there, surviving a whole lot of hell as part of the exorbitant rent I paid. Yet these people were my family members who I felt obligated to be there for and with. That love, so irrepressible then, was also expressed via humor as a means of easing some of the tensions in my life.
As for expressing the enormous power of Love I felt within, it also seemed to render me almost unharmed by my internal(ized) demons, incl. the aftermath of War, which I had no intentions of speaking of, ever… That Love was what drove me to my then current Destiny in expressing myself artistically. Thinking of it now, I’m inclined to believe that all work is art, most noticeably so when it is consciously linked within to the expression of Love.
I would actually sing on the job where I was counseling or educating/teaching and learning. I’d usually hear music while I was writing, music that came from within. Those are examples of where some seemingly different fields of work were always interconnected in my mind, as I believe to be true aside from my own personal perspectives.
Having equated Love with the concept of infinity, of all being in and of all, eternally,
from among my earliest memories, it was easy for me to sense that as the ‘one umbrella’ under which all of my artistic expressions belonged. It was not usually important to me for anyone else to understand this, except when trying to convey it as that which I experienced as Truth via my work, my art, and the conversations to debates I might have with colleagues…
In reading the Blog, my sense is that the same umbrella would amply cover every portion of your work, in every form, informal to more formal, they are all forms which seem undeniably driven by Love. To many people that may not seem a comfortable or “acceptable” term to describe such important externally tangible expressions of self. For such, I would hope that they would allow themselves more conscious attachment to what matters most in life; that Love, existing as the true “thing” craved, and most sought after, beneath as behind the facades of more measurable sources of what appear to be forces and sources of “power, wealth, success,” and keys to happiness, true freedom, and the means through which to seek a sense of self as worthy and capable of receiving As Well as giving love honestly and honorably.
It seems to me that you have your answers, perhaps not always consciously; and, perhaps at times caught up with the interpretations of others regarding your work. For, you began above by speaking of that need to consciously connect with the stillness within (& beyond?) you. That, to me, sounds like making time to allow your awareness of the Love which drives you in a variety of ways to nourish your soul and self wordlessly yet powerfully to do the many forms of work granted you.
Just a thought.
I’ve read the Blog again. This time, with more of a focus on that centering process, finding a stillness within.
I believe I do recall having such peace. Formal meditation hasn’t “done it” for me either. Seeking that stillness, separating what & who is you vs. what& who are not… I like this idea. It is one that I have not consciously employed for yrs.
What is it that allows the stillness? What is allowing you to”go there,” and use that space, time, and that Beyond? Could that force be The umbrella that holds every aspect of the multiplicity of artistic endeavors which many are blessed to enjoy, sense strong purposes for, ways to link a multifaceted personality?
I am one that does not fit with your perception that your bloggers on one site are not interested in the other aspects of your creative outlets. In fact, I would love to learn more about your work in writing for others interested in helping others to live more satisfying lives. However, at least so far, I’ve only found a limited amount about that line of work online, except as regarding the appeal for clients.
It’s so funny to me, that when I was in college, I was told very often that I would make a great copyright editor and grant writer… Having been in so many ways consumed by illness, and basic survival, it does give me pleasure to know that you have been doing some important work, all requiring great creativity during the years that I was “barely hanging on to life,” creating enough poems, prayers on paper, songs, etc., to fill a few volumes. It has seemed such a trite thing, esp. when disability superceded my ability to move forward in publishing it. The time is still not right…
Now, my mind slides over to the creative work of personal healing, helping others in the process being a must, and it feels good. At this point, having reread the above, I can see a need in myself to more seriously take this as part of my multifaceted body of work en toto. Your beginning with the words about centering and finding stillness,[allowing your sub conscious to sort things out for you that conscious thought may disallow by think ing more than being in, with, and the answers],it reminds me that I too, can allow such stillness to become a greater part of my own growing body of new work, including figuring out how the pieces of my life fit together under one umbrella.
Again, Love arises as a central theme. It is the primary motivator for all that I am meant to be, do, say, in a wide variety of ways. Does it all fit together, these “different” expressions of Art? Your work, my work, their work, for each and or all of us? How can they not?
You mentioned that you’ll never be “….org.” Thank God!
You are a human being, or as so many would say, a spiritual being having a human experience. However it is said, maybe the cohesive ness in your body of work(s) is you, your spirit, your soul. For, above it seems clear that this is the driving force, besides Love, insofar as your soul is but apart of Love/that greater whole encompassing all of which I see you as a vital part, behind all of the work that you do as an artist, in all you have ever done and will do. Even being a mother and a spouse takes tremendous creativity. Other relationships do also, if not quite so constantly. Yet, the other acts of creativity expressed in an expanding body of work(s), are those which more uniquely allow the experience and expression of who you are with that power which you meet and invite to table in your innermost sanctum and sanctuary of your soul alone… Does this make sense to you?
There does seem to be something sacred about that part of y(our) body of work as Artist/(s). Finding cohesiveness there means finding it within, seeing that this and you, with every seemingly divergent portion, do belong together. Related?–
In my journal tonight, I wrote about feeling incomplete, fragmented, speaking of love and acceptance on one line, then of hurting more than any words express, to telling myself that I need to embrace the hurting parts of “me” as parts that belong. I wrote of my need to let them feel my acceptance, to feel loved, important;allowing them to feel Love from myself and the Beyond, so that we (the various parts of the all that I am can unify in a conscious relationship within. Meanwhile, before all of that, I was writing about confusion around my beliefs in God/One I long seemed to more clearly see as the Power of Love, and my confusion now being that which I’ve never expressed before… While below it all, I asked that Higher Power of Love to guide me, to teach me how to live again, anew, to live with a mutual human intimacy, openness and honesty such as I’ve never known; unifying in a very new way with the people around me, using a love for the person I am discovering myself to be as something incomplete if not absent from my past relationships, wherein I always had things I was hiding, holding back…
I don’t know, maybe I’m way off the mark here. Yet, who I perceive myself to be is intimately and inextricably linked to the varied forms of artistic creations or works that I(‘ve) need(ed) to exude, for they are expressions of me, of who I am, my identity. Seeing all of those separate yet unified, or unifying parts in your body of work as in fact one body of work, as one being may come for each of us as we grow to realize, feel, actualize the oneness of the Artist which any of may know ourselves to be…