You know the feeling when you’ve spent your precious time and energy on something only to lose it or start over? It can feel like you’re taking one step forward and three steps back or even like you're giving up a piece of your heart. I’ve been there, I’ve spent countless hours on paintings that my clients were unhappy with. I've lost every file, with every yoga workshop I’ve ever taught on my computer and I’ve filmed hour long classes only to find out that the camera shut off after 3 minutes. These are tough pills to swallow, but what if we could embrace these situations and love them for the learning that shines through the time spent inventing?
As an artist, I never make the same thing twice. I "kill my darlings" and start over all of the time. I make things and send them off to other people never to be seen again, sometimes without even a photo recall this creative moment in my life.
Aparigraha in sanskrit means non attachment, it means non grasping, it means holding onto only the truly necessary gems. For me, in creativity, the process of making something is the jewel. What if we use the act of creating as a meditation in itself? What if the after product is just a gift to give or to wash away? Like the incredibly intricate Tibetan sand mandala made just to ritually destruct. Like chalk art to be erased by rain, or the architecture of a sandcastle swallowed by the sea. If you love something set it free, right? That journey was yours and it cannot be taken away from you.
Have you ever spent a long time cooking a meal you were really excited about, and then burned it in the oven? Was that time really a total waste? You connected with your food, you got your creative juices flowing, maybe even sipped on a glass of wine or laughed with a friend. (whatever, take out Thai is delicious, too!) Was the hour you spent in yoga class all for nothing if you didn’t land the peak arm balance? Absolutely not. It’s all practice. A practice in excavating the gold from inside of your experience.
Guess what? Whatever it is, next time you’ll do it better because you are now more seasoned with wisdom, sense and understanding. Recently I left a favorite pair of earrings I had made on my beach towel. I shook it out, and forgot about them. They were lost in the sand. At first I was sad, but it gave me a chance to practice what I’m preaching, so I told myself “I love creating, I know the artist, and any craft only gets better with practice”.
This human life is a practice in itself. It’s a compilation of experience, a collection of moments, and as far as I know, that’s all we have. Hopefully more than a few of these can be vibrant and inspired. So, let go of the "thing". The takeaway is in the joy of creation, and the joy itself is the masterpiece.