Intricate Balance

“Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment. You must not be your own obstacle. You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment.” Jeong Kwan

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The idea of being present, now, in whatever environment I am in,  in all the various roles of life, deeply impacts my life. I am a mother. A lover. An artist. A friend. As a mother, I am thankful my daily environment is filled with my children–children who need me to feed them three meals a day, clothe them, clean them, keep them alive, keep them from killing each other, nurture them, love them, read to them, listen to them, and ultimately be present with them. Along with all the responsibilities of this role of motherhood come the duties of household care, and the energy to cultivate an honest, loving relationship with my life partner.

I am also an artist. It is in my art that I am able to not only express myself, but also understand myself, and cultivate a sense of compassion and gentleness toward myself and those around me. I have always been an artist. For me, art is innate to life. When I stop creating, I feel half alive.

There is so much tension between these life roles at times. Everything moves all at once. Searching for the balance, the still point, within all the responsibilities and noise of everyday life leaves me spinning. How can I be true to all of these aspects of my being? How can I hold all of these things in balance while remaining open and soft to the sweetness of life? How can I be present and deeply alive while washing dishes, folding laundry or changing diapers? This flurry of motion and activity surrounding me everyday can be either a deep distraction, or it can be the catalyst for some of my greatest creative energy.

Life is lived all at once, as hard as the balancing act may be. Being true to my self, my artistry, my motherhood, my relationships is living out the strength of my internal bonds. These layers of life don’t lie in opposition to each other. Being present in and to life, is to be present to the natural creative energy of life itself. The mundane tasks and rituals of my everyday environment are vibrant and beautiful.

As an artist,  my work is in its essence, an expression the internal landscape of my motherhood, my relationship with my partner and the environment surrounding me. My children, their love for life, their bravery and energy alongside their chaos and sometimes terrifying cruelty inspire me in every way. I could not create the art that I do without my children because I would not be the woman I am were I not their mother. This environment, the one that I create and cultivate in my home, is the environment from which the most raw and fresh ideas come.

Finding my still point is being present, now, in the intricate balance of everyday life.

“A wheel spins in a circle. The still point at the center gives it direction. . . A pot has beautiful sides. The emptiness inside makes it useful. . . A good house has strong walls. The space within the walls makes it a home.”  William Martin