I just spent a couple of weeks in my new art studio working on a painting I ended up not liking very much.
But here’s the thing – the ‘it’ wasn’t what mattered.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d really have loved to produce something I’m proud of, especially as I was filming and sharing the process.
The technique was something that’s really new to me – in that I’ve worked in this way only in brief spurts. I consider myself a complete beginner.
Yet, what I’m not a beginner at is the practice itself.
The practice of trusting the process to lead me somewhere I need to go.
The practice of trusting the process to be useful to others, if I shared it.
The practice of showing up and trying something, knowing that it might fail.
The practice of taking part in an activity that will shift some of the stuff that lies deep within and holds me back from being an artist.
I found it difficult and enjoyable, exhilarating and frustrating and although the outcome is a painting I’ll definitely cover up entirely and turn into something completely new, it wasn’t a waste of time.
It’s all part of the creative process and it isn’t something you can spend your time reading about or learning from other folk (though the skills are definitely something I could benefit from learning more formally.)
What it is, is practice.
There’s no substitute for doing – feeling, thinking, hoping, wishing, they’re part of the process, yes, but not the practice.
The practice is in the doing. Being creative is a verb. I remember reading Patti Digh’s book with that title way back in the beginning of my creative renaissance.
I’d do well to keep remembering that as I learn again to experiment, to play and to be of service in the mysterious ways that seem to be my particular way of being.
Perhaps it’s a wee reminder that will serve you well today.