Relaxation doesn’t come easy for me, if at all. I’ve battled severe insomnia since I was a child. I’ve always had difficulty shutting off my brain. Over the years, I’ve developed pretty good skills at hiding it from the outside world, but internally I’m usually worrying over something. I like to drum up things to fret about if otherwise there’s nothing.
Working for myself is both a trigger and a relief in this regard. Since I’m obsessing over details anyway, I might as well direct that energy toward my own business. I work excellently on my own. I don’t need anyone to point out all the various nuances of business that I should be watching. (Even if I’m conversely too lazy to take action on them.)
Occasionally I must take drastic measures and run away somewhere. Travel is my drug of choice lately. It’s the only thing I find just as exciting as art. Sometimes more so. Sometimes it’s exactly what I need to inspire me to do more art. Often, while I’m gone, I still try to work. I answer emails, renew listings, send out invoices, keep everything moving along.
I think I’m afraid to let go.
As a society we’ve come to this point where we fear relaxation, like everything we’ve accomplished is going to implode before our very eyes if we stop moving for one second. We can’t sit still. There’s competition everywhere and if we look down for just a minute, someone is going to take our spot. It’s a cutthroat existence, this self-employment thing. We live to work. We make it a war.
I just wish I could enjoy myself when I’m enjoying myself.
I’m getting better at it. Slowly. It takes practice. I never realized when embarking on this Artrepreneur lifestyle that I would have to learn how to be away from it.
So, this week, right now as you read this in fact, I’m away on a trip to a quiet, beautiful, meditative place. (I didn’t even bring my laptop!) There will be much sitting and staring at gorgeous landscapes. There will be hiking on cliffsides. There will be warm, tropical, cleansing rain. I want to think a lot, and dream. I am chatting with my muse. I am exercising my right to relax. I am renewing my artistic spirit.
My goal in this is not just to inspire my art with beautiful, poetic scenery (although that’s a given.) I’m using this time to reawaken myself, me as a human being. I haven’t taken enough time to look inward while absorbing all that is around me. I focus so much on my art that I forget to restore my mind. This time is about healing, and rest, and reinvigorating my very soul.
That will make me a better artist.
—Written by Shayla Maddox for Art & Musings