I love to walk. Among its many benefits, what draws me into it the most is, it’s therapeutic. At least to me it is. Immensely.
I walk every evening from the office to home which are about forty five to an hour walk apart depending on your pace. This serves me a daily healthy dose of about fifty minutes of therapy. After 5pm, you can spot me physically moving from the office to my humble abode. In reality however, I would be traversing timelines, lifetimes and mediums, shifting between the past, present and future. Often occupying people’s bodies and minds, walking in their shoes in an attempt to understand why they are the way they are. During this time also, I come up with solutions to many of the challenges I face and answering a lot of my own questions. I make mental plans, revisit to-do lists and make new ones.
I’m about to get philosophical, just a pinch, about walking but hang on a moment. You’ll understand why.
Google dictionary defines walk as “move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once.” Take note of two things; each foot in turn and never having both your feet above the ground at any given time. With that in mind, if you break down walking, what you have are several steps stitched together. This came to me recently while on one of my regular walks while swimming in my own thoughts observing how my feet were moving. I was in awe. I walk everyday and all these years I had never realized it.
The more steps you add, the further away you get.
For a while I was punishing myself with the guilt of not crafting enough. Knowing days would pass by without picking a camera would eat me from inside out. I would experience the sort of agitation and discomfort married couples who are not having sex get. My camera believes I’m cheating on her. That’s what I would imagine. With a curvier camera carrying a luscious glass. With her, I’ve sired numerous gorgeous photographs running around the world. Everyone filled with admiration shares them with each other on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.
I would come up with reasons to justify the absence seeking for something, anything, to peter out the sour feeling. Frankly, a good number of the reasons were good enough but would all be put out by the relentless little voice in my head saying ‘that’s just an excuse’. Soon, I was bouncing the issue on other creators with hopes of uncovering a solution or motivation. I wasn’t getting any. Instead, I would hear their stories of battling the exact feeling.
Two things were becoming clear; one is, the reasons creatives come up with for crafting less – life’s commitments, lack of inspiration etc, are all similar. Two is, mine was not a unique challenge. A good number of creatives (if not all) harbor the guilt of going AWOL every once in a while.
And just like that, my newly found realization on walking was the answer to my problem. The connection between walking and making art is, taking one step at a time is to progress. It does not really matter how slow you are moving, as long as you are moving, you are doing alright. Every time you disappear from your craft and appear again, it is a new step forward. It may be slowing your journey as a creative but provided you keep lifting and setting down a foot at a time, you are advancing towards your destination.
This is not justification for my (or your) occasional disappearance. In fact, let me state that I don’t like it. I’m just okay with it. If not all creatives out there, a good number are facing this struggle. The lesson here is, if you find yourself crafting less than you wish and it’s bothering you, remind yourself that the key is not to stop.