We are living in strange times. For the first two weeks of quarantine, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. A friend & I commiserated over our lack of energy, motivation and sense of purpose. We compared notes and found we both spent more time staring into the distance (or a wall or ceiling). The existential angst, which is ever-present for deep thinkers (see: over-thinkers) was almost unbearable.
Some artists find comfort in creating at a time like this. Others find it overwhelming and daunting. I’ve talked to some writers who admit that they haven’t been able to write since this all began. I’ve talked to others who are almost finished their manuscripts.
The fact is, we are all trying to survive.
Survival may require some of us to alleviate the pressure of creating.
For others, our survival depends on leaning in to the process of creating.
There is no right or wrong way to do this.
I tried to write. I was somewhat successful, but the pressure was too immense. I accepted that I may not have the capacity to write at the moment– and that I would do something more intuitive and visceral. Something process-based. Something that brought me back to the reason why I create in the first place. I decided to commit to making one mandala a day. These mandalas would be made of materials I’ve collected over the years, or ones that I find around my neighbourhood. Every weekday, regardless of my level of anxiety, I make one mandala, take a photo of it, and post it.
I started getting messages from people who were making their own mandalas– who felt a sense of comfort and grace in the act of making. It was no longer a process just for myself; it was for all of us. I don’t know how much longer this quarantine will last, but I will continue to make a mandala a day.
l continue to make art to remind myself that I can.
In continue to make art for sustenance.
I continue to make art for communion, not consumption.
Be well, be safe, and do what makes you feel grounded.
One day at a time.