On Inspiration and Envy

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I, for one, am deeply inspired by almost everything. Alright, I confess folding laundry, cleaning cat boxes, and gossips clucking away like neurotic hens don’t make the list; but otherwise almost everything.

I fall in love a hundred times a day,  I weep, I anguish, I laugh, and I yearn to connect profoundly. All the things I feel push me in that direction. I have never really understood envy,  resentment, or toddler-esque brooding.

I won’t be so false as to say I have never felt those things, but that the instant I see it, it is like lightning flashing through me and I disrobe them quickly. There is something very dangerous, binding, and suffocating about them. I instantly feel cut off from that connection and am grateful to have a heart that runs home to the pain.

It’s all a flash of awareness, an immeasurable nano-space of time. I become aware of the part of me yearning and longing and from that blossoms inspiration.

In Social media, I follow many talented artists. I have my own talents and strengths and am not swayed by the diverse body of popular themes and styles. I do what I do how I do it. Yet I follow these artists for inspiration and to feel connected to all the introverted artists all over the world.

When I feel that flash of envy, usually it is a result of the thorny and vexing side of my disability. Productivity. I can’t be productive the way my mind would have it. Sure, I can rationalize and even be totally at peace with doing what I can when I can. Still, every once in a while it bites into me, and I am forced to deal with it.

Usually, it is because my ego has been avoiding being accountable. Often, not using my precious time wisely. Sometimes, because I am in a holding pattern that I am not aware of. Lately, it has been both of those things. I have a short stack of projects in queue. Two are commissions. It is time to put the one down completely and let it drift to the back burner. Time to proceed with the client that is clear and concise about what they want and ready for me to proceed.

This morning I felt a wee little bite of envy nip at me. An artist who inspires me and whom I relate to in many ways had posted an evocative piece that I thought was quite beautiful. I wish lupus didn’t zap so much of my vigor. The fleeting feeling of envy pointed me toward home. I have not been keeping enough company with my art supplies.  I followed the feeling down to the roots and cut free of them. I simply must be more mindful of how I use my time.

Then an acquaintance on FB shared an article on envy and I took a peek at it.  It reminded me how brave all of the creative people really are. Just kick-ass brave people. My students are kick-ass brave people, the fiddle player at the pub is just kick-ass brave, my friends who write are kick-ass brave people.

The article, “An Enemy of Envy”  by Austin Kleon, dives a bit into the trickster ego self and points you towards home.  He sites several wonderful references.

“You could try to practice the opposite of jealousy, which is something like the concept of “mudita”: “Mudita is word from Sanskrit and Pali that has no counterpart in English. It means sympathetic or unselfish joy, or joy in the good fortune of others.””

He encourages the reader to practice Mudita. How to encourage others to move from envy to mudita, is more mysterious to me.  As for myself, I’m a fan of encouraging people to be kinder and more loving with themselves.

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