On Inspiration and Envy

photo by Pexels

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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The Tempest

Shakespear’s “The Tempest” present by University of Toledo

Saturday night, my beloved and I had a lovely evening out watching the last play written by  Shakespear, The Tempest. It was a visually evocative presentation performed on a round moving stage with a magic circle and glowing chalk letters from the Enochian alphabet drawn by the character Prospero.

The Enochian alphabet, still believed to be a magical alphabet, was created by advisor and astrologer for Queen Elizabeth, John Dee. In the story, the protagonist Prospero uses it to bend the elements and spirits to his will, to cause a tempest of a storm forcing a large ship and it’s occupants onto his island to play into his scheme.

At the time this was written in England, John Dee had been dead for a few years and his mystical writing and journals were being shared along with knowledge of this mysterious alphabet, colonialization of far away islands was revealing its challenges, and a master of another art was preparing to leave his life’s work.

The universal themes of love, justice, and forgiveness carrying the arc of this story through to the end where Prospero resigns from his magical arts, just as Shakespear himself who retired shortly after writing this last play.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1

It is a good story for stirring contemplation on the efforts we undertake and how they add meaning or serve vain fancies. Upon this viewing, this play reminded me of passion and devotion, Prospero’s devotion to his daughter, Shakespear’s to his Art, John Dee’s to his mysticism, and even Queen Elizabeth’s to her vision for England.

I’m very devoted to the moment I am in, which could have me taking up many different roles: mother, partner, sister, friend, confidant, gardener…. and yes also a creative. Ahh… clearly I need to cultivate my creative time with a bit more passion and devotion too.

I value the hunger for the expression more than the quantitative and limited concepts of productivity.  This is good because, with a life of multiple chronic illnesses, I am forced to be flexible and gentle with such things. I have been doing work and preparation for a larger project and proceeding steadily. I have not had enough time to maintain my IT or Social Media roles, and that is ok. I can’t share it all online anyway.

The video above is a promo by the University of Toledo for this production. Below is an animated version of the play, which I also find enjoyable.

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The Planets

On the 2nd, I had the lovely pleasure of seeing a wonderful performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets by The Toledo Symphony Orchestra. My favorites are still Mercury and Neptune. The atmosphere of the Peristyle is both elegant and gives you a great view of the stage and fellow art lovers alike. It was wonderful to run into so many good friends during intermission!

It’s easy to forget how inspiring and enriching it is to see and hear other artists, and of course be in the company of those who love and support the arts. Below is a great recording of Mercury by Holst, my favorite by far. It is complex, layered, rich in texture.

If you find it interesting, you can also listen to the presentation below that explains more about this piece and can enhance one’s musicality. I have no musical background, so I find such things very informing.

Well, as I am striving to retain and reinforce my focail Gaeilge, Irish words, I decided to review them too. It’s not the easiest language to learn by any means, but I it is deeply meaningful to me.

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