Monday, less than a week after I got my studio back and functioning, I put on my student hat again as my fall courses started. Tonight, I am putting on my teacher hat to get ready for the in-service days that precede the arrival of middle schoolers into our building. They fit over my flamboyant, feathery artist hat (which sits over a tightly-fitted tinfoil hat that I wear for my mom job), and, as I do with the beginning of every school year or text season in the past, I wonder what will happen to my feathers over the next few months.
Part of getting my studio back was an effort to keep momentum of a year-long painting mentorship. The other part was to create a tangible space in my life for creativity.
I know that the feathers on my artist hat are long and flexible. They will find their way through the cracks between my teacher and student hats. Even the most tenacious tendrils, however, need air and fluffing on a regular basis. This year – the busiest year yet -makes it even more important to strike a balance between carving out time dedicated to unscripted inspiration and simply integrating it into the other parts of my life.
Integrating creativity into daily life is vital. It alters your perspective about learning and living. Sometimes that perspective simply helps you find the magic in the mundane and opportunities instead of problems.
Fusing creative approaches into daily life, however, doesn’t take the place of keeping a sacred space for creating for its own sake. For me, honing in on painting or drawing or writing — making for the sake of making – is about refining skills, but it’s about something more. It is about meditating on and then escaping from the worries of the day. It is about nurturing something divine that lives in each of us.
Finding the balance between fusing creativity into the everyday and dedicating time and space to making is the foundation of creating and re-creating oneself in to keep up with the job of being fully human. It means finding a way to make all the hats fit and still let the feathers breathe.