I spent the weekend on my once-a-month art course, and this time we were working in 3D. Everyone brought in bits-and-bobs – wool, sticks, card, feather boas, toilet rolls, old umbrellas, clay, bits of cloth etc – a complete junk shop of materials, and we spend the weekend turning these into an amazing array of sculptures and towers and totems.
I was half-way through creating a towering construction made out of old photo frames, bits of wood, and combed wool, when I suddenly realised I didn’t have a clue what I was up to. I’d totally lost my way.
One of the teachers passed by and I said to him, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”
“You’re doing what you are doing,” he replied with a smile.
So I carried on for a while, until that old friend doubt jumped in for a second time and my thinking mind started getting overly involved once more, and I could not for the life of me work out what on earth I was doing.
The other teacher passed by, and I said to her, “I really don’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.”
“You don’t have to understand, it isn’t necessary” she replied, so on I went, constructing, raising my tower of frames, wood and wool.
And in the end I was delighted with the result. The final sculpture looked good, and made me feel very happy with my work. So when the group sat down afterwards to comment on the creative process, how it had felt for each of us, I said that once again I’d had to remember an important lesson.
That you don’t have to understand what you are doing all the time, you just have to trust that it’s going to work out OK. You have to trust that the process you are going through is forming part of a great result that you can’t even imagine yet. And that’s fine (even if the thinking mind doesn’t like it one little bit!)
I told them that my life is a bit like that at the moment. I’ve got lots of things on the go, but I don’t completely understand where I’m going. I know that I’m building something, but I don’t know exactly what, and at times I find that exceedingly disconcerting, especially when I stop to think too much about it, and try to work it out.
But just as with the scupture, I know that all I have to do is keep going, keep doing what I’m doing, stop analyising, and trust. Trust in the process, trust in myself, and see what happens. And that’s a much more relaxing way to carry on. It’s amazing how art reflects life.