Blessed Unrest


"There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others" - Martha Graham

Have you noticed that it feels like we're always searching for something when it comes to making our art? We're often making multitudes of decisions that feel like they may have potentially dire consequences. Looking for the way forward, the next step. Risking everything that has come before to possibly get something even better...even closer to our vision. There is a longing that never seems to go away and a pursuit, the search, that gets under your skin and into your bones and makes you ache.....because you know you have to do it.

We must make our art. It allows us to be well, to be connected and to be seen, heard, a contributor. Each of us has our own reasons, but a common purpose can be found and connects us deeply to each other and to life. So we embark on this search, knowing it may be challenging, but believing it's necessary. I like to think that it's a calling that must be answered, and when we do it allows us to live our truth.

I've often referred to a letter written by Martha Graham to dancer Agnes DeMille, where she describes a queer Divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest, that accompanies all forms of art making. It reminds me to embrace the struggle that I often feel when attempting to bring my art forward, to paint the vision, even if I fall short and feel the sting of that. Again, I feel the search. Why can't I get there? Where is "there"?

This is when I have to be persistent and know that what I do now is going to be a game changer. If I buckle under the weight of what this will ask of me, emotionally and physically, I will never make the art that I want to make. That's a certainty. But, if I can hold a space for the discomfort of the search and the learning and the failures, then I have a chance. And the question is then, what will I choose?

Art making requires learning techniques, principles, skills...and it also requires learning how to think, how to feel, how to be mindful of the space you build into your creative work. As an artist, if you can give energy to both of these places and nurture them equally, you'll make great art and experience all the richness of the process as well.

What helps you to stay connected to your art making when you’re feeling stuck or challenged?