This seems to be the year, no? The one that will break us? I am watching the people I love grapple with trauma and stress and upheaval, while on the news the whole world is burning. The fatigue is real. I’ve slowed my studio practice to a crawl the last few months. My health, which has been compromised since December, has taken precedence. And while painting is healing for me, I just haven’t had the stamina. I think the bottom line is that the painting process for me has become a very powerful spiritual practice and I am too tired to take on all the energy that wants to channel through me. Until I am well, or have fortified my boundaries, or both, painting is mostly too taxing for my system.
I have dreamed of being a working artist since I was small. And it is really only in the last two years that I could see this becoming a reality for me. But I also began to feel this was not my whole story. The idea of being alone in my studio full time is a lonely idea. And I’ve known my work needs to give back in some way, I need to participate more actively in my community, but I’ve had no idea how.
Nine months in, being sick all the time is draining and scary. I am intimate with nausea, hives, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and depression at the unrelenting mystery of it all. The healthy foods I always found comforting make me physically ill. These days I go to work, I go to various medical and counseling appointments, and then I come home and lie down. I spend my weekends lying down too. I am very lucky to have, I kid you not, the world’s best boss. Someone who gives me space and understanding and support in staggering quantity. I am very lucky to have benefits that cover some of my treatments, though not nearly all, and I have to fight the insurance company with alarming frequency. I am also very lucky to be surrounded by skilled healers. I have often felt a surprising kinship with these people and now, I find, that in my way, healing is where I am headed. I don't imagine I'll go back to school to study medicine. I will always be an artist first. But somewhere at the intersection of art and wellness is where I am going. Like all of the most influential healers I have worked with, I am coming to this work because my body has left me no choice. No one knows exactly what is wrong with me, so I am my first healing experiment. And as I build up my reserves, I can finally spend some energy helping others.
Some minutes the future feels so bleak I want to give in and give up, but some minutes I feel clear and hopeful and I can see progress, a way through. So to everyone who is hurting now, I’m sending love. To everyone who is exhausted, give yourself permission to rest. For as long as your body says you need it, or you will have nothing left to give yourself or this world. In many ways, your body is wiser than your brain. Give it the space and nourishment and compassion it asks for.