Art this past few weeks has consisted mostly of doodling. My doodles are mostly in the form of mandalas or start in the form of a mandala and then grow from there. I have done no painting or mixed media art and I’m feeling the absence of it in my life.
I’m on my fifth week of having returned to being employed. It is a part-time position which should pay enough to fill in the gaps financially which is a welcome relief. Part-time means I work anywhere from 20 hours to 24 hours with the occasional request to add more hours if I want when they need someone to fill in. My previous work was very sedentary. This position has me on my feet for the whole time except for breaks and lunches. I find myself extremely exhausted if I work 8 hours, but still tired after a 4 hour or 5 hour shift. In my 3rd week, I contracted a cold which hit me pretty hard, and I had to miss 4 shifts. I am still recovering but at least able to work.
I have found it a bit difficult to switch my mind off after work and get into the mindset of doing any art. This is why over the past few weeks I have only been able to produce pieces like I have pictured in this post of the mandala/doodles. I come home exhausted, my feet too sore to be on them any more than a few minutes, so I sit with them propped up while trying to decompress as I stream videos on cravetv or netflix and doodle in my journal. It is my hope as I become more comfortable with my new job and my body becomes more accustomed to the work, that I’ll be able to turn my focus towards my art.
Today and tomorrow are my days off and though I was given the option to work an extra four hours today, I turned it down. I knew I needed some self-care time for these two days to help further my recovery from my cold and I feel a deep need to do something more than doodling, possibly work on a mixed media piece for a class I haven’t had the motivation or time for these past few weeks.
My journaling has also taken a turn from expressing my concerns over finances to expressing my experiences and concerns over my new job. It is interesting how satisfying one concern can quickly turn into a different concern and need for journaling in order to get it out so we can focus on the things we need to.
My new position is very public. I speak with probably a hundred or more people every day. Every single person is in a different frame of mind, some happy, some sad, some angry, some criticizing, many are a pleasure to talk to and can uplift in just the few minutes we interact together. I have no doubt this will eventually come out in my creativity in one form or another as I become more comfortable in what I’m doing.
In another aspect of my life, I live in a strata which has recently been doing some work to improve the appearance, making repairs and so forth. In one area of the yard some landscaping was done to cover some gaps under the fence where our dog could get out. Some earth was used to fill it in. Today, I noticed the earth that was used was taken from a corner which was elevated and in the spring tulips and daffodils would bloom. They apparently didn’t realize this and when I looked there were bulbs lying on top of the earth that had been dug up when they took some of the earth to fill in the gaps below the fence. To me these were little treasures I took and have now stored for the fall to replant. Hopefully, they will survive and bloom in the spring in their new location. I have hopes of adding a few small gardening plots around our patio and these will be a nice beginning and possibly inspiration for some art pieces in the spring next year.
I miss the many hours I had free to play with my art supplies and spend time on classes or watching videos to learn new techniques or skills. However, I am very grateful for the job and hopefully the end of my daily financial worries. My period of not working, being challenged financially, gave me some incentive to find alternatives for the more expensive art supplies. It also challenged me in ways I never expected and I am learning things about myself. Things I wanted to learn and things I never wanted to learn.
Those things we never wanted to learn about ourselves, at least for me, are things which make me feel vulnerable. They make me feel helpless. It doesn’t mean I am helpless, it just means it makes me feel that way, if that makes any sense. At least until I find a way around it, or what I can do that will take that helpless feeling away. The most vulnerable thing to learn is when you find out you have a breaking point. The most strengthening thing to learn is when you find out you have a creative mind that will allow you to do what you need to do to avoid the breaking point.
When I felt like I had no structure in my life, when things felt chaotic and out of control, was when I found out focusing on art with structure, such as mandalas, or something with geometric shapes and structure, helped me to gain back a sense of control. I am only beginning to understand how art connects me with understanding myself and the world around me. It is an amazing thing to witness.