The following words are not my own. They came by email from a dear friend and fellow artist after a long lunch together. When I read them I felt so seen and known that I could have wept with relief. I am sharing them here because he so perfectly captured a dilemma faced by those of us who follow an inner voice that compels us. The relationship with our inner source is so beautiful and satisfying and intimate, that it’s hard for anything in the outer world to compete for our attention. On the other hand, living with and for one’s muse alone, is a lonely undertaking, and we, or I at least, often find myself pulled between equal desire for solitude and for a more earthy intimacy with a partner in the sensory world. I’ve heard entrepreneurs describe the same dynamic at play.
“You are as layered as a chinese box, and you have grown so deep over the years along the spiral of your journey, its quite dizzying. I realized as we were talking that I had seen only a tenth of you and that was already large. I’m considering one of your last comments, as to your seriousness… yes, you are. Always on purpose and from what I heard unwilling/able to rest and bask in accomplishments.
I have the feeling you pull off a remarkable feat and are already on to the next, and like me and many of us who are driven from within, intimacy is difficult. I feel it myself and have seen it in many leaders or others on their path. Like you, I connect with many people, but true intimacy… it is such a leap, and it threatens our true partner, the spirit, which long ago claimed our devotion and pushed us towards mastery. I feel that the lonliness of leadership is something the path requires of us for a long while (unless we are lucky to be totally supported in a co-creative relationship) so when it comes time to breathe, laugh, enjoy the work and play of our lives, it by then has become habitual and we settle for our deep relationships that are intimate, but not the truly deeply and madly intimate relationship we all desire and certainly not the coevolving soul mate we hope for.
I find solace and joy and oneness of being in my work/play and I don’t know anything that can compare with that. Thus solitude (thousands of hours of it) becomes our natural home. Stepping out of that into the unknown other, well, when the going gets tough or intimate and the barriers arise, we fall back into the comfort of our known arenas. For those on purpose, well for me, its all kind of scary and deep, and we are deep, so whatever happens we are going to be deep in it, and it is so easily broken, this bond of love and we have all been there and been broken on the rack. All this is to say, i don’t think you are alone with your seriousness, unfulfilled desire for true intimacy, an inability to rest and revitalise after the vision is realised and flow naturally into the next and the next.”
Three morals in this story,
1. There is nothing more precious that a friend who understands and shares what it true for you at the deepest level.
2. Unless it’s a friend who can put that into words on the page.
3. The relationship of an artist to their work is a lot like a relationship between lovers and sometimes gets in the way of real life intimacy.
Yours with creativity and imagination,