The last few weeks have been so noisy! The end of the teaching semester, the approach of the Xmas time, the relentless emails, meetings and deadlines. One might say, well, this is a good time then to write (so many things happening), and yet, it is the worst for me, as I need silence, space, room for thinking and digesting what is going on with my life. I realised that last time I wrote was after the Open Studio! So many other interesting things have happened: the Rose Hilton Exhibition and her symphony of colours; the strong brushstrokes of Hodgkin; the beautiful two days with Lesley in our second Painting Retreat of the season; the news about my application for the NTF which showed me the value of losing followed by the gift from my favorite designer Gudrun Sjoden for illustrating memories of her clothes, etc. But I have not found the “silence” I need to write, which is ironic, as writing this blog is as therapeutic as anything! So, for this Xmas I wish for silence… shhh… silence, that comforting space of nothingness surrounding me, caressing me. With modern technologies, the pings and rings of WhatsUp and FB alerts do not leave so much room to connect with oneself. Life becomes a succession of reactions, without any space for thinking, reflecting, being.
Silence is shy and mighty… it is not easy to come back to it. Meditation is always the best way to court it, to seduce it, to make it stay. And it is difficult. The irony of this all is that it is precisely when I am more busy, when I need more silence. Notwithstanding, I tell myself the usual lies: “I don’t have time”, “maybe if I start early with the “to-do-list” then I will do better”, “what’s going on on facebook?” etc. And it pains me to realise that everything else is more important than connecting to myself.
Likewise in a creative path, silence is necessary. Of course, there are always projects in the pipeline (I have so many: People+Palms, Los2La2delMar, TextileYonis, RawTag materials and some commissions), but the problem is that sometimes I treat them as “chores” as “to-do stuff” and not as spaces of inconditional boundaries. Let me explain: I agree it is important to have some sort of “planning” and “time management” structures in place, otherwise, things do not happen by themselves. But it is also good to leave space to allow those projects to take form. This is what some artists called “silence” which is seen sometimes as “unproductivity”, but it is as important as any other action or process. How can we allow calm and silence to feed into the creative process. It is there, in that gap of the infinite consciousness of the universe and our intentions that magic can happen. But we are so driven by “productivity” that “creativity” seems to be on the way, or rather worst, as if creativity was a computer to turn on and off, as pleasure.
Creativity needs space, time, silence. It does not come as commanded, it does not obey timetables, it is not for the production or reproduction of capital. On the opposite, it is all about leisure, spiritual evolution, transformation, serenity, and most importantly JOY. Without Joy there is not point to do anything… and I know all of that, yet, I get into the thread mills in the illusion that I “am doing things” but in the process I get exhausted, tired and resented. How to recover that pleasure of giving time to idleness, to leisure, to contemplation?
Original drawings by Beatriz Acevedo, 2016
Perhaps Christmas should be like that and not the consumerist farce that compels us to buy and consume and fill our supermarket trolleys with goods as if the world is coming to an end. How to recover the meaning of Xmas as a time for reflection and sharing, generosity and love. All part of living beautifully! We know that Christmas is not only a Christian celebration, and that it feeds from myths and traditions of the agricultural calendar, specially in the north hemisphere when it coincides with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day. And it is all beautiful because from now on we know that there will be light, after all, the brightest light comes after the darkest nights. This may be a good way to understand the year and its shocking events, which as never before has affected us so personally (e.g. Brexit; the Peace Process in Colombia -which is now on its way, but it was hurt by the realisation that not everybody wants it- and finishing with the USA elections). Hence, this time of silence is not only important, it is crucial, without it we won’t be able to create, to enjoy, to connect to the inner voices, to reflect.
For me, silence is important also to “understand” with my gut and heart what has happened during the year. Althought I try to go through my notes, my diary and what I did during the year, I also need to feel how I have been, what I have become... and that takes time. For me this period extends during the winter time, normally until the Chinese New Year when the dust and glitter of December has settled down and the year is advancing under the cold snow. But now I just need silence, shh, calm, serenity and that is what I wish for all of you….
Silent Night and Silent Xmas for everyone.