It has been a very busy year so far, I'm not going to sugar-coat it.
There have been moments where I thought to myself, if things get more intense I might just go mad! But I tend to be the type of person who can really put myself into a pressure cooker of expectations. The more I accomplish, the higher the bar gets raised - it's enough to drive a drama queen a little mad. Sometimes I just want to put on sweatpants and do nothing, guilt-free. So I decided to take the advice above from 80's hair metal band Motley Crüe and get out of town before I became so desperate that I am literally running away from my anxieties.
A week ago I had a few days off - enough for a little excursion outside Vancouver. So I hopped on the West Coast Express train with my partner and away we went to a quiet little spot in Mission. Travel by train is wonderfully soothing as it has it's own set of gentle movements and sounds. Successfully away from the usual distractions of home and work, we found ourselves transported out into the countryside. There was no rumble of cars, just quiet. It made me think about how valuable it is to press the mental reset button every once in a while. Little did I know, while sitting on the train, that this feeling of peacefulness would follow me through the following week as I worked hard to meet some deadlines. There were highs and lows throughout the week but I felt calm inside. I finished an entire painting within just a few days and it's one of my best yet! I'm willing to bet that my little adventure had something to do with that.
In order for me to unplug myself from my work schedule I usually have to put some mileage between myself and the studio. There can be no looking back on what I have been working on, nor can there be anxious thoughts regarding future tasks. Once I know I don't have the option to really work on anything, then I relax. Really, really relax.
While in Mission we had a few late dinners with friends. One in particular took place in Deroche, population 148. I had never been to this area before and it left quite an impression on me. The host lived in a small, cabin-like house on a dairy farm. We ate and drank wine well into the night. Good thing there were no awkward silences in the conversation - you would have definitely heard crickets!
My parting note is just that I'm making a promise to go away regularly so that I can fill up the inspiration tank and ward off that brand of madness that comes with exhausting creative work.
Three cheers for Deroche, next time I'll eat your infamous beef jerky.