Honestly, I’ve probably spent as much time in the last month feeling cozy as I have depressed, afraid, or angry. You see, I’m a hermit. This shelter in place thing many of us are enduring by order of our governors? I was already doing it most hours of the day and most days of the week. Doing it alone. I don’t think this makes me a better person. It’s just how I cope with being a member of a species I have a hard time trusting.
We all need something that helps us to forget ourselves for awhile, to momentarily forget our age, our gender, our socio-economic background, our duties, our failures, and all that we have lost and screwed up.”Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
I get lonely on a regular basis. Depression is a familiar spirit. Often, I worry I have missed out on the best stuff and my life is slipping away. The thing that has helped me for several years now is my effort to live a creative life. Most days of the week, I make sure to spend at least an hour or two behaving like a grad student or full-time writer, devouring other people’s creative work and also creating some of my own. Any given day, it is all I feel good about.
Spoiler alert: I’m not building up to a purely feel-good conclusion. I’m talking about survival.
I’m a happy subscriber to Live from Here‘s YouTube channel. Hosted by songwriter Chris Thile, it showcases a wonderful mix of music and spoken word. Hmm, who else do I know who does that? In the below video clip, writer and filmmaker Bodine Boling reads a short excerpt from one of her favorite books: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. You don’t have to be a poet, or a professional artist of any kind, to be nourished by the wisdom of this piece. Hopefully it leaves you feeling validated and sufficient. I think this video is worth the five minutes it will take from you.
I wish the above piece were my words. I wish I was the type of artist and human who could lead with sincere, practical optimism. Maybe someday or maybe never. For now, I am just grateful Bodine shared these words, so I could find them and be nourished one lonely evening. I hope they are helpful for you too.
This post’s featured image is by noeliebodin on Pixabay.
Thank you for your honesty. Well, as honest as we mere creatures can be.
I can totally relate. Thank you so much for sharing this pearl.
Garee and Elizabeth, thank you for your responses!
Quick update on creative expression: yesterday the relative quiet of my neighborhood was suddenly broken by the sound of bagpipes. I live in a relatively small town in Michigan. I stepped out on my porch to see an older gentleman in full Scottish regalia standing on the corner playing bagpipes and playing VERY well. It seemed a beautiful way to cope. Lots of folks came out on their porches and enjoyed the brief performance.
Thank you, Jake. When one feels as you described – and I often do – it takes a lot of internal strength to dig deep in the way you do and commit your thoughts and feelings to expression. Instead, I too often look for something busy to fill my time. As I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days, I’ve resolved to get back to this soul work. It doesn’t matter if anyone ever reads it.
I liked your thoughts here. I’ve made a conscious effort to devote some time each day to creativity too. It does help a lot.
Thanks for the links Jake!
I’m glad you’ve discovered—and share your gift of writing poetry here! Poetry isn’t typically something I’m drawn to—but I want to stretch myself and you help me do that.
I’ve noticed and discovered in my life, though I haven’t spent large chunks of time alone, one can feel lonely surrounded by people.
Thank you for sharing.
I was struck in looking over these comments how developing and nourishing ourselves with creativity requires a conscious choice. It takes effort, and sometimes the greatest effort is just making sure we get started, even if initially we aren’t feeling motivated. I know that’s a regular challenge for me. Thanks everyone for sharing your perspectives.
Thank you for this. I think I needed to find it .