One of the things I was curious about when I did the media cleanse was this: What was the feeling I experienced just before reaching for the tv or the phone or the email? What was it that drove the compulsive habitual behavior?
What I learned is that for me (and for most of us I would guess) the impulse was about a desire for connection. There is a kind of loneliness that comes before the reaching, a sort of anxiousness, a wanting to fill up the moment/the silence/the space with something. For someone like myself who works alone, blogging and email seemed like a reasonable solution. But I have been questioning if these ways actually satisfy that desire for connection or if it is simply more of that grasping that we humans seem to do so much of.
My zen calendar today had this quote by Thoreau: “Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” What are we after anyway? What are we reaching for when we reach for our cell phones, our email, our twitters, our flickrs, our blogrolls, our Blackberries? If it is connection, what will that connecting mend in us?
I recently did something that I have been meaning to do for nearly a year. I went to my studio, brought pencils and paper, a brand new set of oil pastels, some great music and began to draw. It was the most glorious two hours. I experienced that sense of timelessness that you get when you are completely absorbed in a creative or meditative act. I left feeling so lifted up, so joyous, so full of life. More than anything though, I noticed the extent to which I didn’t need anything more in those moments and in the hours after. I was filled up. I didn’t need anyone or anything to be okay. I was just okay.
I hope I am describing the extent to which this is a revolutionary feeling for someone who has a zillion lists running in her head, is always in motion and has mild anxiety a lot of the time. Feeling completely okay is like touching nirvana.
We all know that art heals. We all know there is something sacred, deep and completely transporting about being creative. We seem to forget this over and over again. I know I did. So I remind myself again today, as I check my cell once more to see if anyone texted me (do they love me?!)
I’m off to the studio for another dose of the really good stuff.