In Between Time

I blink and it is next year.
My body, mind and spirit have been out to lunch these past few months, and I have flitted away many an hour looking at People magazine, obsessing about what I am not doing, feeling flat, vacant, checked out. The inspiration which has guided me and determined my direction in art eludes me now, and I plod along with lack of clarity and purpose.

Ah, the doldrums. Is this middle age? Middle ground? Flatland? Wasteland?

Maybe it is simply February on the cusp of Spring, mired in the memory of long flu days in Winter.

I have long believed that our lives are lived in cycles rather than one long linear march towards the grand finale. Like walking a labyrinth, our Way is sometimes convoluted and sometimes clear, but always involves walking in circles. Having spent the last ten years of my own personal labyrinthian “Way”devoted to the study and practice of calligraphy, I have arrived at a plateau. More like the perimeter of the labyrinth rather than the center, it feels like a wait-station, a liminal “in-between” space, a place, in the words of the Talking Heads, “Where nothing ever really happens.”

By no means have I mastered anything in my calligraphic quest, I have simply become more skilled, more confidant. I have explored and experimented and created things which surprise, fascinate and sometimes even scare me. Most certainly I could spend another ten years tweaking my skills, mastering this hand or that, but at present, this prospect does not make my heart sing.

No doubt this disenchanted liminal space I am experiencing is a predictable (and necessary?) stage in one’s Way as an artist. One can tolerate only so much intensity and frenzied activity before needing rest and contemplative space. Indeed, after a very fruitful creative period, it seems important to take time to reflect on what one has done, to clear things away to create space for something new to emerge. When I view my experience from the perspective of “letting the fields lie fallow” for a while, it feels more positive.

I of all people should know to trust the wisdom of one’s psyche.

So I wait and move more slowly. I don’t rush through Central Market, but take time to sip the French Roast samples and smell the fresh mint I have rubbed on my fingers. I pause to breathe more deeply the scent of all the herbs, the coffees, the baked goods. I don’t deny a taste of freshly baked bread, exquisite in smell and taste after dipping it into a small vat of extra virgin olive oil.

When one is waiting, one has time to observe. One’s senses are heightened and one notices the details that are lost when one is moving too hastily.

My cat just stretched herself against my studio door in a perfect (and ironically named) “downward facing dog” position. She lazes in the sun in the backyard, and it seems like the next right thing to do to go join her.

Leave a Reply