Friday, January 6, 2012

Out of the chaos comes creativity

It's easy to believe that what is pressing in your mind, will be the same for others.  If you've worked yourself up over some scenario, it seems reasonable that other people stepping into your shoes will see it the same way.  Right?  Well, actually....wrong.  Here's my next lesson from 2011 that is certainly worth remembering.
#3:  Your obstacles may be inspiration for others

I'll admit that I sometimes watch the show Hoarders, not because of some strange fascination with people who live their lives in such turmoil, but perhaps as a way to scare myself straight.  For me the stories are cautionary tales of collecting gone wild, although I will admit there is a bit of craziness thrown into the mix.  I have several family members (living and deceased) who have some borderline hoarder tendencies, so the show just serves as a good warning and an important reminder to sort, clean, and de-clutter my home on a regular basis.  For the most part, I've been fairly good about doing that...if you look past some boxes stashed in closets or the utility room.

That rule didn't apply to the garage.  Until this fall, that garage was, in my mind, a black hole of dirt, junk, and oppression.  I hated the idea of even going out to find things in that space.  Boxes had fallen over, sheet rock and insulation had fallen in, and several lights weren't working properly.  I felt enormous shame and guilt over that space.  It wasn't always the case, but I had boxes of stuff that piled up over several years.  Then, my Father cleaned out boxes from his house and dropped them off at mine.  On top of this continued accumulation, I never made time to sort and clean out what was there.  Hence the birth of a black hole, and the dismal, dark space that I avoided. 

One day, in what I consider a fit of madness, I offered the use of that same space to a friend of mine, an artist, who needed room for a studio.  My words were something like: "I have this garage, but it's pretty messy", and her words were:"We'll help you clean it!"  I thought she was a little crazy for this offer, but not as crazy as I was for making the offer.  I hesitated after making that comment, not because I was worried about someone here at the house, but because of the emotions attached to that space.   In my mind, I didn't want her to experience those same negative emotions that I was burdened with.

When I told a friend, who is indeed a wise and fabulous woman, about the offer --she reminded me that the artist wouldn't have the same emotional attachment to the clutter and chaos that I did.  That was a light bulb moment for me, the idea that something which hung over me for so long, was not really a shared experience.  It was a solitary emotion that I needed to release and vanquish.  That conversation allowed me to take a new look at the space and, in a way, metaphorically shine a light on it.  Bolstered with my new found courage, I immediately sent the artist a note telling her she could have the space it she still wanted it.  She was excited, but I was a little worried.

The first time she and her husband came to see the space, I held my breath.  His immediate reaction was to assess how much work was needed...which was pretty short in his mind.  Her immediate reaction was to look past the clutter and see the potential of an art studio...bright, open, and inviting.  The result?  A wonderful lesson for me, a wonderful space for her to create, and a reminder that our burdens and obstacles may be little or nothing to a friend.

art studio

P.S. If you want to see more of Greta's art, check out her website and blog.  It's beautiful and amazing art!

2 responses:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!! I am so lucky that I get to use your garage as my studio. I know the Universe was watching out for us! Serendipity!! :)

Najla said...

I agree that is is serendipity. I also think it is a sign of wonderful adventures for both of us this year!