Embracing a Multi-Dimensional Life

11 Jun

I believe being an artist typically means living a multi-dimensional life. 

 An artist’s creative mind often goes in many different directions, and they find themselves working on a variety of projects at the same time.   Does this sound like you?  It definitely sounds like me.  It can be a challenge, though, to find and allow time and space for many dimensions.

Many artists do not make a living from their art alone.  So they work at full-time  jobs, frequently in positions unrelated to their art.  Their work is an important dimension of their lives if they wish to keep a roof over their heads.   

Family is another dimension which some people spend more time on than others.  For mothers of young children, for example, this dimension takes a great portion of time though it is generally gladly given.  In fact, many mothers wish they could spend even more time on this dimension.  However, between the demands of family and work, there is relatively little time for much else.  

This describes my life as it was a few years ago.  It felt very one-dimensional because one dimension (work) took up a sinful amount of time and energy.  Even when I was home, my family didn’t really get my energy or focus, because I was still thinking about work.  And, forget about taking time for creative work, or exercise, or just having down time.   I was drained and it was affecting my health.

To an artist, making their art is as essential to living as the proverbial roof.  They truly require it to be healthy.  Julia Cameron talks about art being therapeutic.  And so it is.  An artist must make time for their art.

“We call ourselves neurotic – this is not the case.  We are not neurotic, we are miserable – miserable because we have stifled our creative selves.  Those selves are alive-well-and too large for the cage we have put them in.” ~Julia Cameron Walking in This World

If they are fortunate, the artist may be able to work part-time or in some kind of flexible situation, thus creating more “space” to create.  This is what happened to me. 

Here are the dimensions in my life now which all get time and energy regularly:  my husband, my two kids in two different schools, consulting on assignment for a management consulting company, independent consulting work for corporations and individuals, kids’ sports and extracurricular activities, my own exercise, volunteering at kids’ schools, chairing a school advisory council, editing and marketing a YA novel with Vivi, participating in the 4 Chicks including monthly meetings and regular posts on the blog and Twitter, writing a separate career wellness blog and attendant social media efforts.  Oh, and I cook now – almost every night – which I didn’t do before (see my earlier post Creativity in the Kitchen.)  Does this list sound overwhelming?  For me, it’s not – it’s exhilarating!

My life is less predictable now, but the inherent stress that can come with that has almost no effect on my well-being.  Things I never thought of as my strong suits I now do on a weekly or daily basis, and do them competently and even happily, because they are done in service of this amazing life I’ve been able to build. 

Though there are days when I realize I’m pulled a little thin, I feel more energized than ever.   Getting to experience so much feeds me rather than drains me.   When my life was far simpler, I was not as happy.  How about you?  Are you living a multi-dimensional life?

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2 Responses to “Embracing a Multi-Dimensional Life”

  1. charmingthemuse June 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    I really like this post and can totally identify with being more “one dimensional” when I worked full-time. Great perspective, PJ–I think it’s cool the life you’ve carved out (and are still carving). You sure have many dimensions now!

  2. pursuingthemuse June 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    My only regret is that I don’t do it all as well as I’d like. But that has always been and will always be true, and I try to remember that the destination IS the journey!

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