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Edging past the comfort zone

March 1, 2008

In several areas of my life I am being challenged to let go of old ways and venture into new territory.  This is exactly what I am always trying to stimulate my students to do and I am getting a dose of my own medicine.

My singing teacher pushes me to be less self conscious and to let go of trying to make a beautiful sound.

Re my artwork, a cherished artist friend has asked me if I would be willing to surrender some control in return for a more raw, true kind of markmaking.

In both these cases perfection and polishedness stands in the way of something more authentic. My friend finds my artwork  ‘beautiful’ and ‘refined’, but in the experimental pieces I’ve been doing lately, she sees more guts, more me. My music teacher had me make some experimental noises and observed that I was more present and spontaneous in those than I was in my singing.

I have spent a lifetime perfecting technique in a number of areas and it has served me well in my professional work. But that perfectionism also seeps in where it is not helpful. And it is in those areas I am being offered ways to stretch out of my comfort zone into unknown ground. Uncomfortable? Most definitely, but exhilarating too.

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2 Responses to “Edging past the comfort zone”

  1. madsilence Says:

    Life certainly has ways of challenging us. My wife & I debate where our drive for perfection comes from. As you get older life gets more complicated and busy with little time to ponder the perfect choice. Definitely uncomfortable. But what a sense of release & freedom when you can overcome the need for perfection. You are fortunate to have a teacher & friend who can help you on the way. MadSilence

    PS. Is this a perfect comment? It took me long enough to write a few sentences! 🙂

  2. szoutewelle Says:

    There is some kind of Western underlying conviction that if you don’t suffer you aren’t working hard enough. Maybe our quest for perfection originates there.

    madsilence, your comment was perfect!
    Reminds me of a Sweatshirt my Dutch husband wore for years when we met. It was Snoopy looking quite pleased with himself and the message read ‘I can’t help being perfekt’.


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