Is creativity a selfish or selfless act?
At the end of last year, I made a decision to write every day. I decided that I was going to challenge myself to spend some time each morning searching in myself for something worth saying, to stop hiding from whatever inspiration was in me and to channel that energy into creative output. There were sputters and stalls, but I eventually gave in to my muse and got into a groove. I began documenting my inspirations, recollections, and revelations, and I did so every day. Then, I received some bad news.
My grandfather, my mother’s father, with whom I was very close and had spent a lot of time with over the past twenty years, was dying. He was ninety-six years old and his health had been declining for some time, so this news was not a shock, but it forced me to put the brakes on in my life and to take a detour to visit him and my grandmother. I arranged coverage at my day-job and the dojo, and my wife, my daughter, and I made the drive down to Florida. We arrived in time for me to be at my grandfather’s bedside with my grandmother and her daughter-in-law when he passed away.
In an attempt to be present for my family, I relieved myself of the burden of routine. Whatever things I had committed to myself to do on a daily basis in my everyday life could and would wait until my more important work here, with my family, was complete. I was in pain and I excused myself from the difficult task of daily creativity. It was selfish and unimportant work, I told myself, and it would wait until I got back home. The problem is that several months have passed and I am just now beginning to write again. My excuse turned into avoidance and hiding, but, as the proverb goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So here I am again, recommitted and in the open, wiling to go where the process takes me.
– Robert Van Valkenburgh, co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo