Art of concentration

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.

– Mary Oliver

An artist lives inside me, a third self of sorts, who is playful or stern or optimistic or despairing by turns. Subject and object twist and feed upon themselves like an ouroboros.

When shall I tune into this odd personage? When might I give full and free rein to the inner voice that aims to ponder and sing, make marks of some strange sort?

I struggle presently with the sense of being near the top of my professional game and continuing to pursue a career to help make the world a better place — and with the impetus to create, write, compose, and otherwise seek to make some novel sense out of this rare plane of existence.

How might I reconcile these urges in my life? Could I continue to move my career forward, even while giving power and time to my creative endeavors?

I find I crave more solitude and space of my own than I used to. I also find I treasure my personal relationships more than ever, wonderful people met across a lifetime who provide a web of support and interest in the world at large. Again: competing predilections, each deserving respect.

I daresay the answer lies in achieving balance. Little that we deal with is entirely black or white — life is a tapestry of interwoven threads in many colors. I have the great good fortune to nurture a career involving deeply creative elements that is a force for positive change in the world, so ultimately my conflict here is more one of quantity than quality in terms of where to apply my energies.

So I remind myself today: stay keenly aware of external and internal needs. Scratch the creative itch when it’s smarting. Feed the coffers with professional achievement when it’s available. Nothing is static. Embrace the tension, and make something positive out of it all.

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