The problems I encounter in my art making exist in all areas of my life. Working with multiple disciplines has helped me to see this. I have seen how my attention has fallen off the intended track while journaling, again as I worked with learning a new Flamenco move, and yet again in the way that I did not complete a brush stroke with the same intention I started it. With this information, and some useful tools, I have been able to apply myself to mending the gap in my attention, which connects to all aspects of my activity.
I feel fortunate to have been well entrained to watch my attention and to have the corresponding wish to develop it. Sometimes I see the relationship between the points of distraction and habits of feeling and movement – postures I hold wrapped around core beliefs. These are being shaken with renewed vigor.
Lately I have been brought to an examination of my confidence, or lack thereof. This is made especially evident in my work with Flamenco dance, which is very much about a confidence that is essential and uniquely expressed by each individual artist. I feel fortunate to have been given opportunity to see and learn in this high arena.
Often confidence is confused with self-esteem, but they are separate creatures. Confidence is a voluntary act of faith. One infuses activity with a committed faith in one’s own presence which includes the skill level, the whole shebang. There is an ongoing experience that ultimately all is well. If you have ever seen the Don Adams version of the Maxwell Smart character in the TV series Get Smart, you have a good example of what I mean by confidence. This guy’s confidence never quits even in the midst of utter disaster at his own hands.
The tentative brushstroke, done before the move was ready, before seeing the whites of their eyes- marks my lack of confidence. To move before ready, to strike the canvas before seeing or being shouts out my lack of confidence. In the Tao te Ching Lao Tzu asks – “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?”
Confidence helps one take up the necessary space and time. It allows us to take the reins and change course as needed. True confidence springs forth from pure being and is a conscious act of affirmation. It allows me to look at weaknesses and see the possibility of changing them.
One of the beauties of creative alchemy is how one sees the inner work to be done from multiple vantage points in a more objective light, with enough Impartiality to facilitate action. Gaining skill in any discipline teaches that the body/mind can learn. The impatient and lustful toward results will miss this learning. To learn how to learn enables one to learn anything. Practice of an art form, done in the correct spirit, can both diagnose and help to heal our issues.
My attention, well honed, placed upon my creative activity, reveals love. If you do something with love often enough, it will reveal its secrets. We reveal our loving by how and where we place our attention. The soft lights of loving dedication and humility, the extraordinary brilliance of love the force in the moment’s inspiration. If I am learning to love well, I learn that all is love. May today’s work reflect if not reveal love as Love.