Creative Freedom vs. Addiction

I’ve been wondering recently about the developments I’ve been making over the past year and beyond. I wondered if my urges to create were a realisation of my true self, or part of some sort of escapism, something I dive into to avoid facing reality?

Which side of the coin is it? Have I finally broken through the skin of life and found myself, my voice, my flow, or am I just eternally poisoned by some lingering pain that keeps me running, keeps me creating and moving out of a dark need, because standing still in these places simply hurts too bad?

Is this creativity a positive or a negative thing?

I think it’s just a REALITY thing.

“Dependence on the creator within is really freedom from all other dependencies. Paradoxically it is al the only route to real intimacy with other human beings.”Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

At some point you have to surrender to it. When the pain just becomes too immense, you can’t fight it. You have to accept it, befriend it, and embrace it. To run from it is crazy, because it’s always there wherever you go. You take it with you. To try and erase or kill it with drink, drugs, sex, is an empty and self-destructive game. The high never lasts long enough or covers it up for more than a second. You feel bad about everything still. And you taint those few petty highs with your downer rather than the other way round. You eventually have to reach a point of surrender because the way out is through.

Being creative and using your creative energy to deal with things does not exactly fix your problems, but it helps point to them more accurately than anyone else can – sometimes before you consciously know it.

You can make sense of issues, come to terms with them, purge them and thus move on because the focus has shifted. By going through it you convert it into something beautiful, no matter how dark or lost you were.

So really the answer to the above is both.

Beauty can come out of darkness but that is not as important as leading towards the light which you can always be doing. You don’t have to be in that darkness in first place in order to create like so many people seem to think you do.

So is art escapism?

No. It is more confrontational at its best than any other form of therapy. It is the assault course most directly and accurately targeted to our areas of weakness. Each piece of work is a rite of passage in itself.

The only escapism is in being freed from pain.

Is art running away or towards? Or is it just like Gil Scott-Heron says

“Running will be the way your life and mine will be described. As in, ‘the long run’. Or as in having given someone a ‘run for his money’”.

Finally art, work and creativity are just our way of tuning into the flow of life, using the current to travel where we want to go, to better places, rather than struggling against the tide or simply being swept downstream.

We need it like we need air, but that doesn’t make it an addiction. Rather it makes it a vital and often overlooked component of our spiritual diet. It is part of our list of basic human needs for a healthy and fulfilled living.

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”Frida Kahlo

We’re all just practicing how to breathe properly.

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2 Responses to “Creative Freedom vs. Addiction”

  1. I never found anything better to do with pain than create art out of it. Even if at times, the best proof I have of being an artist at all is the pain I feel when I don’t create.

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