Nov 9, 2010

filling up the empty



I've been creating a lot lately, all year really, in new ways and in many of the same old ways. Sometimes I stop and wonder when, or if, the well will run dry, where it all comes from, this thing called creativity.

For me, art goes in cycles, and some days it is there and some days it just isn't. Some days I am empty. But even on those days, I don't despair, I don't worry, I don't think it is gone forever.

I sit back and I wait. I watch. I listen.

I absorb everything I can about life and I hold it inside. I let it rest there until it is ready to be something other than a void, I hoard words and thoughts and memories, and things I've seen or heard or read, and I keep them all in a box with no corners.

I sit quietly and I let them come to me, the shy ones, I let them nudge my shoulder when they are ready. I let them sing their own song, softly, until they are ready to belt out the words.

Sometimes I don't have to sit for very long before that word or that image or that bracelet or that design falls from my fingers in just the right way. Other days I struggle and I struggle, and on those days I know that I must wait.

Wait for the empty to refill, wait for the spilling over, for the stress or the doubt or the tiredness to clear, wait until what it is that I need, exactly what I'm looking for, steps into the spotlight. I can almost always sense what is there in the shadows, but I cannot force it to shine.

I have to be patient and gentle and kind, I have to let the empty be itself. I have to let my mind sit alone, I have to give it space to wander.

And somehow it always finds its way back home, sometimes with gifts and a hug, sometimes with a frown and a stance of frustration, sometimes weighed down with heavy baggage.

But I've made friends with the empty, I welcome it with open arms, and when we spend time together, I cherish it. All that empty space is making room for more beauty, more words, more art.

The empty is a cup that life will fill.

Again and again and again.


18 comments:

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

You are so eloquent Kelly...to be able to articulate those feelings of empty and that elusive quality of creativity is a gift in itself!
If only it was words that I hoard...
...not stuff from the flea market! :)
Beautiful post!

Dyche Designs said...

I really related to this post because it spoke to my own artistic creativity. I still need to learn to embrace the empty and know that it is just temporary.

Michael Douglas Jones said...

So hard, this sitting still; quietly waiting with the empty. That you are at peace with the wait is an enlightenment that shows in each filling of your cup.

gnubee said...

oh my goodness, this is so wonderfully described! I may just have to print this and keep it as a gentle reminder as my tank starts to approach empty (I just noticed the needle edging towards "E" yesterday ;). Thank you!

ELK said...

me too .. so much learning goes on with this "friend" called empty

Monica de Moss said...

What a wonderful post! So positive, and definitely inspirational.

Love it!

smith kaich jones said...

there's a zen saying about an empty bowl, that only an empty bowl can be filled. waiting is not passive - it is a part of the process. which you understand totally and which explains why you perform so beautifully. that + natural talent. xo

perfectly said.

:) Debi

Lori said...

Oh this is so sweet and beautifully written. It gave me goosebumps. Thank you for this lovely post.

Marcie said...

Making 'friends' with 'empty'. I have to remember that when I'm having one of those kinds of days!!!

jabreb said...

Ah, you saved me today...these words were the knot at the end of the rope...I'm climbing back up!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

wow ... just sitting here spellbound, kelly ...

like i am in a trance ...

like i am waiting ...

those struggling days can sure be a challenge ...
and it is best to just let it be ... and have faith the light will shine brightly when it should ...

absolutely, positively, beautifully spoken
from your beautiful, creative heart ~
thank you : )

xoxo
prairiegirl

Creatissimo said...

Great post! Will have to sit down and talk to my Empty too. (Thank you for sharing 'your way').

Jamie said...

Ah, Kelly! I so needed this post today. I've been feeling completely empty and used up. Struggling to find that spark of creative energy. You've reminded me to relax and be kind to myself and have faith it will come.

Country Girl said...

I love that empty is a cup that life will fill. I've been feeling a little empty lately . . .

lisa said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

So eloquently said. I loved that. Filling up with Empty.

Suki said...

I really love your words! beautifully written.

dbalyoz said...

so beautifully written, so poetic. so true. thanks Kelly...xx denise