“Drawing is sort of therapy for me. I draw in between film shooting sessions, I draw while flying on airplanes, and sometimes when I have days off.”
Actor Jane Seymour [from the page Painting 2]
Actively making a life of meaning beyond work can help keep us emotionally healthy and creatively dynamic.
Gabriel Byrne notes in an interview that “A painter can go to his canvas or a writer can start to write, but an actor is useless without other actors and a director. And how you fill your time in those periods between work can really test your mettle.
“So many actors feel that their work is themselves, and if they’re not working, they’re somehow kind of worthless. I meet a lot of actors who go through periods of intense despair because they feel that if they’re not working, then life doesn’t have any meaning because they’re not doing the thing that they love.
“But the lesson I’ve learned is that life comes first and acting comes second. It has to. No matter what job you do, life must come first…. It took me a while to learn that. I think when you’re young and hungry and ambitious, you think that there’s nothing more important than work.
“Then life teaches you that work is fulfilling and you need it to be content to a certain extent, but if you’re not living life, there’s really no point. To fill those times in between work creatively and productively is a real challenge.
“To develop other skills — to read, to go to movies, to not lose faith in yourself, to not despair, to not doubt, and to keep a regular discipline in your life.” [Poetic Justice, BackStage.com May 04, 2007]
In his books and counseling, therapist, creativity coach and writer Eric Maisel, Ph.D. emphasizes the need for creative people to nurture meaning.
In an interview about his new book Ten Zen Seconds: Twelve Incantations for Purpose, Power and Calm, he addresses the famed Joseph Campbell aphorism: “To my ear, ‘following your bliss’ makes life sound much easier than it in fact is,” said Maisel.
“I think that we have to do tons of things that hold no particular meaning for us, like writing marketing emails and so on, that support our meaning-making effortsâ€”the effort to get our book known, for instance, because we think it has something to sayâ€”things that feel nothing like blissful.
“My fear is that the phrase “follow your bliss” makes it seem as if our work should be fun, soulful, easy, exhilarating, and so on, whereas it is those things only a percentage of the time. But it can always be meaningful, even if it is rarely blissful.”
From Eric Maisel interview by Susan Gallacher-Turner.
[Update – March, 2010]
Eric Maisel has just published his new Meaning Solution Program.
Free introduction to the Program: 15 Great Meaning Opportunities.
Dr. Eric Maisel is “an author, family therapist and cultural observer and is widely regarded as America’s foremost creativity coach. His more than 30 books include Coaching the Artist Within, Creativity for Life, Creative Recovery, Fearless Creating and The Atheist’s Way.”
Learn more about his books plus Creativity Coaching Training and Meaning Coach Training at EricMaisel.com