I highly recommend you look at Tara McMullin’s What Works Network. (Yes, this is the same Tara who’s producing the Candid Confidence Project I keep promoting. It’s great. The network is great. Tara’s great.) What follows is something I shared in a discussion about what to do when it feels as though our work has no meaning… y’know… while so much big scary stuff is going on.
First, I honor you for this post. I’ve been there. I got there this weekend too. It’s not fun.
Second, my superpower is compartmentalization, so I have a bit of an advantage in that — when I *do* want to enter the creative cave and do my life’s work — I can isolate and focus and nothing else exists for that hour or so at a time.
Third, I find that I do better with this when my focus remains on what it is that art DOES for the world. I work with showbiz creatives and I’ve *always* said, “Look, we’re not curing cancer, but maybe we’re bringing levity to someone who’s consuming our creations while going through chemo. It matters.”
And of course, at its best, art CAN change the world with its messages. Not to mention all the healing it can do — so that there are happier humans in the world less likely to create violence or lead in ways that make violence so easy a choice.
Most importantly, for me and how I get through working when all I want to do is crawl deep within, isolate, cry, sleep, or eat all the ice cream… is to stay OF SERVICE. But first, I *do* allow myself some of that internal work. I *do* withdraw. I journal. I cry. I feel my feelings. Yes, I eat the ice cream.
But then I look to how I can help someone who feels lost — similarly to how my coping methods may involve ice cream, perhaps theirs involve seeking out something I can help with. They want to know how to become an actor so their voice can help change the world.
I go help THAT person. It’s a form of service to the greater good, which I have to believe we’re a part of, no matter how powerless that may feel vs. automatic weapons and lack of leadership in supporting those whose solutions go first to violence, rather than to self-care or mental health options.
I’ve written here about how art heals the world and my commitment to my life as a healer, even if that’s not how others might frame it. I recommit to this each time another shooting happens. I hate that I even have to type that sentence, but this keeps happening and that means I keep committing to my healing work. With artists and anyone else who may be touched by my voice out in the world.
Hope that helps with some framework for you as well. Sending so much love and so many soothing thoughts.