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Order, Disorder, Order, Disorder . . .

What comes next? Yes. Order, I hope. This is how life goes these days—and really, it’s how it goes most days, “isolated” or not. It is just more pronounced now because we may be experiencing greater solitude.

This seems to be how my art has always gone, too. I start out in a relatively comfortable place, a pattern of daily living. A rhythm that picks up creative ideas that swirl around like late autumn leaves dancing across a nook of pavement between two city buildings. They scrape and scratch, rise up, take into their fold old wrappers and bits and pieces of natural and unnatural objects. This becomes the disorder of ideas forming.

Order. Then the wind and debris settle, and I can see all the pieces as they should come together. For just a moment, I catch a glimpse of what I’m making, where things are going, how it will all turn out. I feel suddenly omniscient over the debris of my mind. Ahhh, and I have tamed it into something that I know will be beautiful—or at least strongly hope will be beautiful.

Disorder. Expectedly. the winds of disorder arise anew. The vision I’ve had is disrupted as I try to get ideas onto paper or canvas. And suddenly, I feel like someone inside a money machine wind tunnel, reaching and grabbing and grasping and catching absolutely . . . nothing. Unless I focus on one idea at a time, grab it and stuff it. And another.

These winds or cycles of clarity and crazy continue until the final “order” Warm breezes of contentment and wild winds of disappointment.

So how do I tether myself when the winds threaten to sweep me away? My instinct is to reduce my surface area. I try to become compact. Small and focused. It helps if I shut out the digital world, too. Maybe by shutting out the whispers of others’ perspectives that feed the critical voices that rise in the back of my mind (yes, multiple voices), I can come to order—a metaphorical gavel in my mind. By getting quiet and still. By grounding.

Sometimes, I sit or breathe until the internal debris settles naturally—a velvet hammer. And though that may sound very “Zen,” it’s an ugly and painful process that may just result in greater anxiety for a time. Or until I decide to get fed up and move.

I head to the forest and metaphorically hug a tree—okay, literally. I literally hug the tree or the mushrooms or the ferns. Or I sit and endure—occasionally, with grace—imagining myself atop a toadstool, waiting to become someone's meme. Sometimes, I just have to let the winds blow until they stop. It always happens. I’m still here. I haven’t been blown away yet.

Order. Eventually, I find my rhythm again and bring creation to some state of completion. Yes, it’s finding a rhythm—patience and renewed determination. Both of these. Maybe more.

And upon completion, I allow a moment of calm and order to settle in around me. Rest. Find settling by allowing it to come as it does.

My goal, ultimately, in art and life, I suppose, is to return to center—to return again and again to balance, no matter how the four winds blow.

Today, I wish myself—and you—the calm of the center in all that you do as well, no matter your approach. And I wish you many opportunities to get creative in this time. Peace out.

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