I’m not the only one, I’m sure, who’s noticed time, karma, and lessons accelerating in the last months. On the surface, it would be easy to see “randomness” in the sicknesses, new meetings, slow periods, absolutelybusytimes, twists of fate, synchronicities and surprises in the past few months, yet another part of me has been aware, sometimes painfully, of the urgency present in these. They ask for faith, for deeper understanding, for quantum leaps of compassion for everyone involved, and for the release of old hurts and old limits NOW.
The choices to make in a day are innumerable–I don’t recall a time they were so many, so never-ending. Auto-pilot just doesn’t work any more–the consequences for not paying attention, for not heeding intuition, are quick.
You can try to stall, but never for long; a backlog results quickly. And so answers you don’t want to give, in order to be “nice”, have to be given, like “No.” Conclusions one was avoiding in order to cut certain relationships and energy drains have had to be made.
And I’ve been decluttering and purging in a way I see as a bigger job than it’s ever been in my life, and I already do this regularly!
I’ve purged, purged some more, moved items, freed others. All these both superficial and deeper changes having required a deep honesty with myself: What I actually need to do vs what I think I want to do. What I really need vs what inflates my ego to own. Which thing has priority. Which flights of fancy are gone for ever. Which ones will stay with me no matter what symbolic souvenirs I keep.
In the area of collaborations and relationships, the choices have been harder. In this area of my life, I feel like I’ve had nothing but failures, which isn’t true, but just feels that way. After these many years, I recognise that the biggest struggle common in all of them was how much for me to bend backwards, and how much to insist on my way. Virgos always feel the strong urge to serve. They are also, on the whole, perfectionists, who hate to compromise on standards.
Not only have I had this struggle, but another undermining my own value of what I bring to collaborations: The strong intention and ability to produce tangible results to high standards; coming from decades of experience and personal experimentation. The work I post online is a fraction of what I’ve produced from my life so far–it would be impossible to show all the sketches, all the half-paintings and manuscripts that were started over, all the discarded ones abandoned for myriad reasons; what I’ve learned about what kinds of materials, papers, processes, compositions, considerations that can lead to hundreds of different results. So really, what I show is what I’ve wanted to show and to put my name to. Sometimes I’ve been asked for work, and done work that I don’t want to put my name to.
I don’t like those projects. It means I wasn’t proud of it. It means it didn’t reflect or didn’t honour my vision and experience. Somewhere along the way, there was a conflict within myself and/or with the other person–and I think these will be inevitable. I’ve learned many times over that working with someone else is much, much harder than working alone–yet I gravitate towards working relationships because there is a different energy–an entirely new creation energy that is born out of two or more “parents”. I may need to recognise that I cannot entirely control this new energy.
But my power of choice lies in standing my ground, and knowing how much to give, and if what I’m giving is reciprocated, appreciated, honoured. In the last year, I can think of three collaborative projects where I could see, early on, that the relationships were unequal. I don’t shy from giving first. I don’t shy from giving what I want to give to a potential new project. But I will now stop when what was outlined as a two-person effort becomes just me holding the bag, or starts running wild with ideas without any commitment to sit down, pick one, and produce what was discussed. If what was asked from the other person is not delivered, I have learned to cut my losses and walk away.
I’ve needed to learn that this isn’t callous, but careful. I’ve had too many collaborations now ending in tears and/or nothing. I’ve also grown aware of my style–I find and assemble information quickly. I make decisions quickly. I use my experience in those decisions. I want to finish projects quickly, so we can both move to the next. I’m open to tweaks, adjustments when I either know the other person’s experience, and give them the benefit of the doubt, and accept that their tastes and desires also play in.
But I make indecisive people uncomfortable. I make people who aren’t ready uncomfortable. I make people who don’t want to to learn uncomfortable, when sometimes, I fight for my stance by explaining the principles and past examples under my belt. It’s also been in the last year that I’ve found collaborators who listen. And I am infinitely thankful to them, because it soon becomes apparent that both of us are learning. They learn how I work, and I learn how to explain what I’m trying to bring in–and I’m learning to let them choose without taking their decision personally. It doesn’t work when the channel of communication shuts down. And I am also learning how to be happy no matter how the decisions fall, and to still bring in all my resources and effort to create the best results within those parametres.
So far, I’m happy with these advancements, because they are advancements! It’s been years of failure to get me here. I’m grateful. I’m gaining clarity that some partnerships don’t work not because of my personal failures, but because of me recognising my worth, my boundaries, and my needs of the moment. If something falls through, I clarify, and something better will come soon enough.
So, what lessons have been coming through in the past months for you?