The good china

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A week or two ago I got an interesting email from my friend Zarah: In the spirit of spring cleaning, she was inviting folks to set up appointments to call and have an informal chat with her about “what’s replaying in your life that you’d like to move through or how you’d like to get unstuck.”

Here’s Zarah having her own “unstuck” moment, moving into a new place in Oakland:

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I set up an appointment because I haven’t spoken with her in a while, but also because I have been struggling with a particular creative conundrum recently, and I thought I’d throw it out there and see if it became any more clear.

The conundrum is this: I am now in a lucky position in my life in which I have a good studio and am able to dedicate regular time each week to my creative work, but I can feel myself holding back on some level because I am not sure of my professional goal.

I want an audience for my work. I want to make enough money to be able to keep making more work. But I don’t have any specific spaces I want to show at, galleries I’m interested in, etc. And without that type of big-picture goal, I feel like I’m creating into a void.

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Zarah had a number of structured questions prepared, at the end of which she asked if I wanted her feedback, and my exasperated (with myself) response was, “Please!”

She said my saving my energy this way reminded her of people who always keep their good china in the cupboard, waiting for an event special enough to warrant its use. I had already started laughing before she completed the analogy, because the comparison seemed so apt.

Then she challenged me to bring out the “good china” and trust my intuition to lead the way with regard to the rest.

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It was a perfect reminder that although goals are great, sometimes you have to let go of the idea of figuring out your destination ahead of time, because what needs to unfold isn’t something you are going to find through intellectual striving, but instead by putting one foot in front of the other and getting there.

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So here’s to getting a little less stuck this week! And here’s to finding those friends whose words help us get there.

4 Comments

Zarah

Awww, Jennifer, so good to reconnect and love reading your account of these reminders again #thegoodchina 🙂 Use it up and have faith there’s more after THAT! Right on! You are so gifted and have a long-running dedicated art practice that I have envied! Let’s see what emerges next!

Betsy

“…what needs to unfold isn’t something you are going to find through intellectual striving, but instead by putting one foot in front of the other and getting there.” SUCH a good reminder, Jennifer.

I’m honored to call Zarah a friend, too, and I’m so happy to see her sharing her gifts with other creatives. Thanks for sharing this story.

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