Ebbing and flowing and stance-taking
some meandering thoughts in quest of clarity
*takes big deep breath*
Why has writing felt like such a scary exercise in the last few weeks? I have, as usual, had many thoughts and the initial spark of desire to articulate them, but it just hasn’t felt possible. I chalk it up to the fact that when I write, I reach a place I hadn’t planned when I sat down to do so. I often have something to say, but I’m not sure where I’ll get to. It is a mystery. Mystery implies uncertainty. Uncertainty implies that something could go in multiple directions, one of which, in terms of writing, is failure to make my point. It has happened before, and it can happen again. It is a small but nevertheless take-big-deep-breath-inducing leap of faith.
I’m well aware by now that life operates in cycles. I have a certain amount of energy, and it comes and goes as it pleases, in ways that feel healthy if only I acknowledge and nurture that energy. I have cycles of great explosive creative energy that is released in the form of painting, and when that happens I think that I’ve finally figured it out, the magic trick, the morning routine, the secret ingredient. And then it lasts 3 days, and I’m back to feeling rutty again.
What’s changing now is that I’m beginning to really embrace the ruttiness, the periods of lack of inspiration, boredom, numbness. I know that it’s here to teach me something, that it’s here so that I wait and surrender to it rather than force a certain outcome. The forcing only causes frustration and sometimes a kind of depression. The outcome for me often shows up as a need to be prolifically art-making, since this is the vocation I’ve chosen. If I’ve chosen it, I must be doing it all the time, no?
I watched a video earlier today by an artist Youtuber I’ve followed for a while, and I noticed that her prolific art-making and productivity wasn’t inspiring me like it used to. I turned it off halfway because I was starting to feel bad about myself and frustrated at my perceived lack of creative ideas currently. But this stuff used to fuel me before. It gave me that little boost and desire to experiment with the way I structure my creative life. Today, I didn’t want it. I meditated on it and I realized that perhaps it was pulling me back into a version of myself that agreed that capitalistic hustle productivity, even in the spontaneity that often accompanies creation, was the way to go, and that if I was doing it consistently, I’d be forever fulfilled. But what I didn’t know then was that that’s not how my energy works, not as a woman at least (and not as a Human Design Projector either, but I can get more into that later, heh). Anyway, now I have a bit of an idea and I think I’m better off.
Last night a woman from somewhere in North America, a friend of my mother’s, reached out to her expressing concern and support. We were confused as to why. It turned out that she had confused Palestine and Pakistan. Sigh.
I can’t even blame her. But what it raised in me was this: I have grown up on and continue to consume Western media and content, from cartoons to movies to now creators online who I feel have something valuable to say, and now as most of them are silent on the “issue” (quotations because issue feels like too mild a word), I’m feeling the polarity. Their silence now in contrast to their lack of it during Ukraine speaks volumes about where they stand. I’m seeing it online in comments. I’m aware that most of my friends living abroad or even living here share pro-Palestine tweets and posts because they have an increasingly polarized audience that is prey to US/Western propaganda.
So, the silence of most people with influence who are situated largely in the West, coupled with, e.g, the created ignorance of my mother’s friend, and perhaps even the art Youtuber this morning, had me feeling agitated, annoyed, frustrated, conflicted. The feeling I get is that here I am, like many of us, looking to the West for their ideas and inspiration and spirituality and wisdom largely because it’s packaged nicely and in a way that’s more relatable and palatable to me as an English-speaking unbelonging-Pakistani burger girl, and there they are, possibly, most likely, not even seeing me as fully human. The collective me.
And this feels like a sort of wake up call.
I also don’t want to engage in the polarity because it is not the place I want to be. That doesn’t mean I’m politically ‘neutral’ either. I very much feel that a person’s inner political compass, whether or not they’re even aware of it, affects how they see and speak and act in the world. It’s one of those age old questions, you know. Whether an artist/writer/creator’s problematic political views should dictate whether or not you support their work. I think it does, and it should.
But I want to find a way out of the polarity and out of the shadows of control and intolerance. That’s at the root of it all, isn’t it? Control. Control implies territory. Territory simplified is assets, land and women - the playing pawns of this whole war game.
I asked at lunch what the antidote to polarity could be, because it’s been bothering me all day. Especially when I see people like yoga teachers and spiritual coaches expressing this outpouring of sympathy for Israel and calling for ‘peace’. My dad replied, with a tone that implied obviousness, and coming from his usual matter-of-fact inner compass, that the antidote to polarity would be clarity. And this implies taking a side, because it is so obvious. Why is it so obvious to only some of us?
It’s only when we are clear that we can make decisions, that we can know what to say and not be afraid to say it.
I wonder what the outcome of all of this is - the inner tumult that we are all collectively subject to has to find release at some point. Something can and will implode eventually - either in the external world as genocide, or other form of total wipe out, or internally as a collective shift in consciousness. Perhaps both. Perhaps one will precede the other. Perhaps we will always continue to exist in this way, but I don’t think that’s possible - something is changing. For the moment, all I can do is know where I stand, and bear witness to the rest.
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