You are a space

Juriaan Molenaar, in front of an empty canvas

The space we are

Wow. The past two days have been so many things. Annoying, exciting, emotional, tiring, curious, complex, funny, full of wonder. It’s been a search for what I will attempt to convey here. Not quite sure I’ll be able to distill this, but there is a point at the end, so stay with me… 

I’ve been playing with this concept of “being a space” for a while now. A multi-dimensional space. 

We are, obviously, a body, a mind, a soul, a spirit. Let’s call these essential dimensions of the “space” that we are. There may be others, but I am trying to keep it simple; I will probably fail but bear with me, please… What we put into that space makes all the difference. People say: “You are what you eat” what you see, hear, sense, or feel forms your thoughts and ideas about the world around you. Whether you’re aware of it or not, what you consume emotionally or spiritually changes who you are and what you care about.

Evolution is key

This can change, with time, evolve as you grow. It constantly does, every second of our life. How aware are we of the way we shape the space that we are and its contents? How healthy is it for us to be consuming one thing instead of another? Do we actually have a choice?

We do; we actually do. That’s my belief. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose or implement our choices; for example, as a parent, I find it extremely difficult to forbid anything or punish my sons… Consequently, creating healthy boundaries for them is a big challenge. They are left to their own devices for that. I certainly hope they learn from good enough examples. I hope we are good enough examples, that is. I guess time will tell, and that’s my point.

The space we are for others

 

We are a space for others, too, not only for ourselves. We are social animals, so we constantly influence other people, letting them in or keeping them out of the space we are. For the sake of my creative output, though, I find I am obliged, and it’s only recently that I realized how vital this is to live a certain kind of life. What I eat, what I read, what I watch, listen to, the people I frequent or converse with are all being “consumed” by me, like food, transformed into what will become my artistic output, which now are these words you are reading and for many years have been among other things, circus performances. 

Our habits make us

 

Through the years, we build habits, some consciously, others are adopted without us giving too much attention to them. We may get addicted to specific behaviors that inform our lives and outputs, In terms of energy, physical, spiritual, or emotional. Another saying about habits is that “our habits build or break us.”  

The question is, for us creative people, how important is it to maintain our good health, a clear mind, an aspiring soul or spirit to continue producing our creative work on a long-term basis? And if it is, what can we do about it? 

The artistic habit

 

For so many years, artists have been known to abuse the physical space they are for the sake of high-level creative output. Many of them produced outstanding work, some died young, and the space they were, remains what it was for us, limited by their habits. Some chose to end their time here, great artists like Vincent Van Gogh, David Foster Wallace, or Sylvia Plath.

Listening to Peter Attia‘s podcast, “The drive,” I heard Layne Norton say a phrase that caught me: “Most people can handle a lot more discomfort than they think they can.” In trying to shun our discomforts, we abuse our dopamine dependencies at levels that risk our lives at times.

Artistic and human Evolution

 

Artistic creation is complicated. It always stretches us way beyond who we think we are. When done with care and integrity, it challenges us, creators and audiences alike, beyond what we know into new possibilities of human existence. I get it; I do. Look at this post; so much in it, it makes me sick. So much for simplicity… 

There you have it, though, this is so uncomfortable,  but I believe it’s worth it. It is entirely worth it because I feel myself growing as I stretch to express the essence of the past few days, months, and years. My space emptied of the last two days’ consumption, trying to distill with and for you the main point here, which I think, at least for now, is this:

What we eat, drink, think, do, feel, and communicate matters significantly. We have to be highly mindful of the spaces we are and what we put into them for our own sake, other people, and generations to come.

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