As I started last week’s blog, I was thinking about the process of making art, how much practice and study it takes. And how inevitably you’ll be disappointed along the way. Especially if you think every piece of art you make has to be a masterpiece. This, of course would be nice, but it’s not realistic to the process.
The key is in the showing up with the intention of learning. That’s it — that is your job as an artist. When you get hung up on results, expecting to love every piece of art you create, then a problem arises. That critical inner voice that tells you you’re not good enough. It is the artist — and perhaps humans’ — greatest obstacle. Getting out of your own way is the cure. Silencing that voice. Meditation helps a lot; so does detaching from outcome.
When you choose to be an artist, or a master of anything, you’re signing up for a difficult road. Yes, it is insanely rewarding. I pinch myself every day that I get to live my passion. But the greatest lesson I have learned — from every teacher I’ve ever had, from all the endless hours of listening to podcasts — I hear the same thing again and again: You will not ever like everything you create. You just show up every day, commit to learning, and — after some time, lots and lots of hours logged — you will begin to like your work more and more. Because you’re practicing; of course you will get better. But you have to do the time, and in that process, you won’t love every brush stroke you make. In fact, even the masters who have put in nearly a lifetime still say they make mistakes.
It seems to me a metaphor for life. All things take time to get better at, and nobody is ever perfect. Which is why thinking about sometime in the future where you’ve perhaps mastered something is just the cause for suffering. It truly is all about the journey. All about the present moment.
Happy journey, people!