For about eight years, every work day in my life, every moment on my own, has been framed by the needs of my children and family.
This summer the boundaries of this framework are wider than every before. While the beaches are filling up with roasting people, our parallel insight stages of our creative processes have given rise to a new rhythm. One day with the kids, one day at the studio, one day with the whole family. Rinse and repeat.
And I am so grateful for the unyielding restrictions that have surrounded me until now. All this space is pretty terrifying. The need to fill it up with distractions is palpable.
Until I remember,
I don’t need to do anything.
It’s okay to walk from tea cup to tea kettle.
Listen to silence. Wiggle my toes. Eat a pistachio nut.
Feel my skin.
The impulse that leads me to the next step in the body of work before me always comes. The emptiness is like cold water that I dive into, head first and the initial shock jars me to my bones. No matter.
I am deeply convinced that even the most uncomfortable creative states have some kind of constructive purpose. Even the Void.
Yesterday I got up at 6:05 am, as per usual this Fall. The Engineer came to collect me and I went back to bed for another 45 minutes of sleep. Waking up from that morning nap, late, cranky and groggy – I let go and quietly slipped into the Void.
Do you know the place?
It awaits most creatives, patiently, on the other end of high tempo production. It’s the place where nothing happens, nothing moves. It’s a kind of intense inhale, so long that you’re not sure you’ll ever be able to express anything ever again.
So I spent yesterday in my pajamas, too relaxed and lazy to even make coffee. At times the agonizing thought of: “Will I ever ever ever get up-through-beyond the Void anymore?” That’s when I watched a bit of this.
And felt better.
I went to meet my Dad and my Gift-Mom, Jatta, with the kids. They made coffee and while we were talking, I started feeling this slow blossoming inside. Something new is building, growing, sprouting. I have no idea what it is, but I know it will appear, step by step. In the meantime, I’ll watch some of this.
P.S. The more you resist the Void, the more it hurts. Laughing, physical movement, washing floors and going through closets to get rid of old stuff are some of the actions that may help ease the tension. If you can, try to refrain from analyzing yourself, producing anything or criticizing yourself while in the Void.
One thing I love about living in Finland, is that everything stops in July. Enough people are on summer vacation in order for business mail to stop, nutbrown smiley people lounging everywhere and an ease of living that is contagious.
There’s also a slightly different rhythm at home. The Engineer bought a grill and a breadmakerthingy, so the kitchen has been spotless and wafting divine scents all summer long. I took up running, so instead of our usual art-coaching-creativity and programming-physics-mathematics morning discussions, there have been muscles-training-runnerslang and baking-chemistry-ovenheat debates going on during tea time.
The children have been immersed in hour upon hour of imaginative play, with mealtimes and small adventures around Helsinki and Southern Finland mixed in.
I wanted to create this summery-timelessness-bubble for us all this year. That worked out better than I dared imagine.
Now I’m sitting hear in Empty Head Land, and as my friend Sandy said – what a possibility. The blog will be on as per usual with its fourish posts a week, starting next Monday.