I still advocate burning as brightly as possible, and sure as hell not fading away! But, when testing my own limits, I was forced to accept that my own light is at times quiet and slow-burning. While I draw on the highs and lows of life when I create, I personally do my best when I create from a clear-headed space.
What makes the mind ecstatic may overwhelm the body.
I don’t think that artists should be divided into two tropes—the ones that create from an ascetic space, and the ones that create from a place of indulgence. I also don’t think that Kurt Cobain’s life should be utilized to advocate either of those paths. His personal choices were his own and his life is none of our business. While being predictable and orderly may be an imperative for many professions, for an artist chaos possesses hidden gems. I believe that finding controlled chaos is the only way to live.
My opinion is that the place where creativity comes from is accessed by many different paths. We, as humans, are flawed and live in a world with complicated energy that attempts to smear our natural states of bliss and joy. There are many routes that can get us to that state. And half the time, I have no clue how I get there when I do. Some of these routes are harsher teachers than others.
I wish that my body was a poet, but it is a realist. It is patient when I write till four in the morning and forget to eat, but it doesn’t forgive me for it, or anything else. But I know that respect is what it deserves, and will demand it in the only language it has.
What is interesting to me, too, is the energy that the artist rides at times can actually be alarming to my body. When the adrenaline of a new idea starts to soak into my blood, my body can’t necessarily distinguish between good and bad stress. It is interesting to observe that what makes the mind ecstatic may overwhelm the body. Even if we lead relatively healthy lifestyles, we can still be totally out of touch with our bodies, and this can actually compromise our creativity.
Lately, my creativity blooms when I go into my body. When I catch myself getting tired, I don’t always soldier through. Sometimes, I go outdoors, feel the wind, and close my eyes. Sometimes the ideas that were eluding me are waiting there.
There is a disconnect between the mind and the body, but do we know what that really means? I used to believe that as an artist I had to test my body’s limits. But it has certainly been interesting (and at times productive) to view my body as an ally.
We think getting in touch with our bodies means moving more and eating well. Your body appreciates healthy food, but its survival needs are rooted in its sense of security. It fears things like starvation, rape, and exposure to the elements, and it craves physical touch on a survival level. When you listen to it, you can choose what you can accept and what you don't need to. Rooting more deeply in the physical world can help you reach in new directions.
So keep me alive, body. And continue to advise me on your state of well-being, because you show me the truth now that my thoughts try to un-authenticate. Sometimes I do not realize that you do not feel honoured in the daily, fast changes, I make in this life, and how sensitive you are. You are me. And I know how much strength you have been given. If I try to move too far ahead of where you are, you will resist. You have the power of life and death over me.
And body, I live vividly. Not every moment will be serene. We are in a place of chaos and we choose to be here. But know that beyond the ebb and flow of each day, you are utterly safe. So pull every shred of light from the sun and every molecule of oxygen from this imperfect air and continue to direct me to the places that make you feel whole. You can live freely and let go of some intensity.
Let’s take a moment each day to root ourselves in our bodies and thank them for letting us rage through this world of darkness and light. There are many paths that you can take to get to that place of creative expansion where you merge with something larger than yourself. I am not saying that you shouldn’t try to get to heaven through a bottle, for example—I’m saying that you don’t need to only get to heaven through a bottle. You don’t have to blow up in the atmosphere, but if you’re going to, you have the authority to make that decision. Your body is more aware than you are of your greatest pain and your deepest joy. It has been there, chronicling every moment—sometimes literally into your skin. But don’t get too caught up in decorating the vessel. How quickly our burning brightly will discard it either way.
What makes you most creative? To what extent does taking care of yourself make you more creative and productive?