Further thoughts on why artists and writers are so often prone to excessive drinking, drugs, promiscuity or recklessness in one form or another. Perhaps it sometimes stems no from the despair of hopeless frustration but from the desperate attempt to loosen up the constrained, too conscious, knotted little self that blocks the free, life-giving flow of spontaneity from the deeper levels of their being. In other words, inspiration is what they’re hoping for, if they dared to use a word that is no longer acceptable to the sophisticated.
Obviously the problem is how to strike a balance between opening oneself freely to innovation and imagination on the one hand, and maintaining the self-discipline to give the work structure and bring it to fruiting on the other.
Discipline is not a popular word today. It’s a hard word that conjures up an image of something ling, thin and unbendable, like a leg bone or a nightstick. But actually discipline is the way to flexibility. The dancer disciplines her body, for instance, in order to move freely with grace and strength. I remember the time R. gave me a little begonia in a small pot, explaining that it had to be pot-bound or it would go all to leave instead of flowering. That struck me as an excellent metaphor for the necessary balance between freedom and discipline. (Alas, more than a metaphor is needed to establish that balance.)