Friday, October 23, 2009

Are we more productive when we're suffering?

Have you ever noticed that when you're happy and content you are less motivated to create things?  Maybe it's just me.  I know that I've been the least productive during those periods in my life when I'm content with myself and with the world.  My most productive periods have occurred when I was in a lot of emotional pain.  I wrote or painted or drew and the creative release eased my suffering.  Even now I find I have more to say when something is bothering me -- I guess writing it down helps to sort it out. 

And think about some of the great writers, artists, musicians, and actors throughout history.  Many of them were depressed and/or on drugs.  Some died of overdoses.  Some committed suicide. 

It makes me wonder if emotional pain doesn't serve some great purpose for humankind. 

As for me, I'm making an effort to do more when I feel just fine.  I'm not sure that the quality of my work will be as good as those times when I'm creating to release negative emotional energy but I think it's important for me to try...


  1. Yes-- I wonder about that. Isn't there a societal stereotype about artists needing to be in some kind of passionate agony in order to produce "great" work? I like to think that meditation practice frees our artistic vision to flow in fresh new ways, as we drop our baggage and become lighter. And I think artistic expression is about intention-- what are you "saying" with your art? I see artistic expression as an expression of profound love for all of life, as Buddha nature bursting forth, (a release of energy?). We wouldn't dream of evaluating the quality of that nature. It is what it is.

  2. I find when I am in a terrible place, I just want to sleep or read. But I create when I am happy. Maybe because my artwork is very joyful, bright, and colorful. I agree with Kris above though, meditation helps to connect me with a higher self and opens me.


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