17 May

What to do when starting over is all you do

"It's time to start all over; make a new beginning." Tracy Chapman

My husband Tim said: don't write another blog about becoming. Then, I discovered I have a problem. I cannot not write about becoming. 

There is no quicker way to kill inspiration than to say what you cannot do. I had to reject Tim's very good advice. 

As soon as I rejected the constraint, a remarkable thing happened: an idea. Then another, and another. Soon I was writing. And now, here we are. That is not to say we should always reject advice or throw off constraints. After all, good art pays attention to the listener and technique is an artist's freedom.

But transitions require a new way of thinking. Transitions require both intent and hope, neither of which can happen when you accept the status quo. 

Listen: Tracy Chapman sang on her album: "At this point in my life/I've done so many things wrong/I don't know if I can do right"  

The opposite of "becoming" is status quo...that which is.

Art challenges status quo, in our hearts, in our lives, in our ears and eyes. Art awakens ideas. Art is the next track...I don't know if I can do right, but I am willing to try again. To open up and risk failing, risk missing the mark. I accept my successes and failures. I accept myself where I am in order to move forward. 

So, here we are, coming out of a pandemic. In 2020, a retreat center was out of the question. We weren't traveling, we weren't building, we weren't inviting anyone in. But now, in 2022, we are finding our way back to our old hopes and vision and what fuels it: love for God, love for artists, love too for art and how it helps us to pay attention to truth, beauty, growth, and ourselves.

Artists:  What do you do when it seems that starting over is all you ever do? Don't be afraid of new beginnings. Think of the art you do and the art you long to do like you would a labyrinth:  an ancient spiritual tool for prayer, pilgrimage, and meditation with no wrong turns, no dead ends. Unlike a maze, there is only one way in and one way out. And, get this... the way in and the way out are the same path.

"A little Rule for beginners: Always begin again"  Saint Benedict


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