Happening now: artistic reboot due to extreme depression.
by Loren A. Roberts (guru of multi-hyphenate media)
I was walking to my office the other day. Bad day, bad morning, bad everything. On top of it all, we have this unbearable West Coast heat wave, and heat exhaustion is threatening to take over my life at 10 in the morning. Wondering why I'm doing what I'm doing. Wondering what I’m doing. Wondering how I was gonna worm my way out of the hellhole I find myself in. Wondering if there was any hope for it all.
In other words, I was feeling low. The feeling is not new at this point.
And then I walked past these stairs,
and I wanted to jump up on them and dance.
(ohmygosh, isn’t he awesome?)
WHY DANCE? WHY NOW?
The juxtaposition of my despondent mood was in stark contrast to this desire to dance, and it struck me: why do I allow myself to be buffeted around through moodswings based on events that are out of my control? I have sometimes wondered about using drugs to even out the ultra-highs and the ultra-lows of my emotions, but, having never taken drugs, I have been spared the effects (both positive and negative) of drug-induced worldviews:
(This doesn’t have much to do with this post, but I love Charlotte Martin. Listen to her sometime...)
Rilke has a much better solution:
“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.” (Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)
GOING FOR INSTANT HAPPINESS
So why do we keep thinking that pleasure -- being happy -- is the life goal? And why is that disconnect destroying my ability to make art?
Rilke wants me to shut up and start being the artist that I know I am:
“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” (Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)
My subconcious was in complete control when it wanted to dance on those steps: it no longer had to do with immediate happiness. Instead, something in me said "hey! There is no ‘poor indifferent place’ -- so let’s dance!"
Don’t create instant happiness -- like the scientists in the 1950's -- because that’s not going to get you anywhere. Create something that means something, that looks at life and "calls forth its riches." Then we can talk about happiness.
LOREN A. ROBERTS produces films, videos and music, designs magazines and logos, plays and sings in a rock-and-roll tribute band, and is a student of what happens when science and technology and the arts and culture collide. www.hearkencreative.com
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