What Do Love and Art Share in Common & Why Can’t It Just Be Easy?
Falling in love is a beautiful thing, but as most of us know from experience, sustaining the relationship after the phase of euphoria is akin to caring for a plant or a flower. To ensure its growth, you must talk to it, water it and prune it when needed. Above all, it must be respected.
Love relationships require gentle care and respect. It is in that care and respect that the struggles are born in the form of disagreements, misunderstandings, miscommunications, fear of loss, temptations and sometimes, ultimately, break ups.
Art takes the same amount of gentle care and respect – and in that care and respect come also, similar struggles at times. In all creative endeavors, these struggles come in the form of first impressions, fearful judgments, fear of people’s opinions and ultimately, the stone cold creative blocks and ultimate (though temporary) separation.
And just being a human being without a relationship and without art in fact require the same effort (caring for ourselves and the struggles that come with daily life).
If you are separated from art or from love, it is only at this moment
And this is my point:
Life is cyclical and once again, it’s only a matter of time before love comes. Creativity is the same. Both will blossom and here come the struggles. These struggles – though we don’t like them – are what make your love relationship and your art a beautiful experience, like it has for me.
When you have struggled to create something – whether it’s a mutually loving relationship or a work of art, the discontent, the uncertainty, and the waiting and wading through that wilderness can bring you to the point of exasperation. You want to give up.
But if you stay with it …. just stay with what is, in both love and art the fruits of your labor will come. Sometimes they come in big harvests and sometimes in tiny crops. Quantity doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of the experience.
What We Resist Persists
In the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun (based on the novel), the actress Diane Lane plays Francine, a writer who visits Italy after a heartbreaking divorce and ends up impulsively buying a villa outside of Cortona. What Francine ultimately finds at the end of the movie is that she got everything she wished for, but not in the exact way she imagined. We see her struggle and we ultimately see her go with the flow, despite the limitations.
When we get fixated on having a certain kind of person in our life exactly at the time we want it and how we want him/her, or we insist on letting our egos drive the kind of art we want to make, what we are doing is resisting the flow. When we resist and fight, we simply invite more of the same frustration.
Give into what is and let it be there. Ask what it wants of you and in your sitting with it, you’ll find a clearing. And if your love, like your art creates happiness and sweet contentment in you, then give it everything you have within you! That joy can only ripple forward to others.
You may see me only as a drunken, vice-ridden gnome whose friends are just pimps and girls from the brothels. But I know about art and love, if only because I long for it with every fiber of my being. – Toulouse Lautrec, from the film, Moulin Rouge