Feeling at home at once on the other side of the globe is without a doubt one of the most profound experiences. That’s how I feel about Santiago.
I returned in the beginning of the month, and honestly, it’s been a lot of adjustment, since it’s my first own place in and for a while. Next destination is Atacama desert in the north of Chile, but the meantime calls for readjustment and revision on how it’s going with the way I live and work.
Surely, the nomadic lifestyle is adventurous and so much fun. I wouldn’t change my experiences for anything, but it’s also urgent to listen to the body, especially when moving around so much. So I feel like that’s the chapter of this period of time. It’s forced me to let go of habits and ways of doing work, that didn’t serve me anymore. Some revision in my schedule. I guess most people have a very romantic idea of the artist life - and although it is romantic and quite wonderful, it’s a constant balance between creative and administrative work. Then there’s the financial aspect, which is the most challenging for many of us. I believe we ought to find our own individual balance, but also improve it as we grow. I bet only few want to stay the same.
So for me, that’s looked a bit like this;
Set intentions and embrace the unexpected outcome
I’ve often felt an urge to push until I met my exact vision - whether it be budget or a piece of art. The change of physical energy has helped me let go of whatever my mind thought was the goal and see the results with a curious perspective. Maybe the painting didn’t exactly turn out as I imagined, but I like the different style that came out of it. Could I explore that more and see where it takes me? I suddenly don’t have a lot of work, thus not a lot of money. Instead though, I have a great amount of time - could I spend that taking care of myself? Could I go for more walks without destinations? Could I doodle or hang out with my friends more? Could I consume more art than I create? How can I make the best of this?
With the example above, I currently have more time than usual. It’s a sweet spot I want to embrace, since I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep this extra time when I move again. So, I’ve spread out all my art supplies on the floor and not allowed myself to tidy it up until I leave. Meaning, whenever I feel inspired, the tools are right there, and I’ve played a lot! One of the days, I emptied out my acrylic tubes and messed the paints all over the paper, I’ve doodled sketches with no purpose and just played with everything I’ve got, as I’d do as a child before the grownups came to discover the mess. It has led me to so many new techniques and ideas. Pieces I’ve saved from other artists with the idea to emulate their style and learn from it “someday maybe” - well, someday actually came and stretched over some days, allowing me to truly unfold, which, as I realized, I ought to do much more often. Play!
Let go of stuff without deadlines
This was probably the toughest challenge for me. Being very perfectionistic and goal-oriented (not very artsy, right?) I spend way too much time in my head and in the future. If there are tasks to be done, I want them done now, so I can lean back and enjoy - except I don’t enjoy, I just make up more things to keep me from the joy. Slightly millennial perhaps, but nonetheless, it’s been a strong pattern that I disrupt and replace with the better over time.
I think it often takes us a few rounds to get the message of things we already know. It’s like there’s a downloading or processing time. For me, it feels like it’s coming to an end in this area, and instead of rushing through the boring or must-do tasks, I feel confident in spreading them out during the days, allowing more time to the fun stuff. Now that I think about it, I remember a Danish saying, “Do before you enjoy”, which, at times, might be great - but shouldn’t be the general rule of life.
I’m so amazed by the wonders of these adjustments. The pieces I’ve made the past weeks are some to be proud of. The discoveries and time for rest and reflection has just been awesome. And the presence I feel with myself and those around me I wouldn’t change for a thing. Now, the true art is to keep growing with this - breathe and take a step back when I let myself carry away. Go back to the original intentions with the things and have a break when I’m out of presence and ask myself:
“What would be joyful for you right now? And can you do it right now?”
Hope you liked it.
Lots of love,