Quiet and bridges

I saw a TV feature on a Chinese painter the other night. Asked about his process, he said that everyday, he keeps quiet. He sets aside time to be quiet, then he paints. And he does these alone.

It’s a solitary act, to paint and create, and I’ve returned many times to the question of whether it’s an act for me, whether I’d be happy being solitary most of the time, every single day.

Honest answer: I found myself wishing for the same quiet time that that artist had. Honest-to-goodness quiet time, with no phones, no emails to answer, no urgency to attend to, no loose ends waiting for me to resolve, no one waiting for me to respond.

My ideal everyday would be spent quietly, with time for socials yes, but generally, it is a day spent slowly, without hurry or worry. My idea of “work”, which is really just a word for the most effective way to spend our most productive hours, is being alone, sometimes doing nothing but being alone. Because ironically it’s when I’m allowed my alone time that I’m able to be a better friend, sister, daughter, aunt. It’s when I’m able to see clearly, speak with weight, and create with courage. When everydays are noisy, all I can muster, when I do get to put anything out there, is a making-do, a pwede na.

A bridge maybe.

But bridges must lead to somewhere. And for now, that somewhere is the quiet. I want to get to the quiet.

Bridges are also what will get us to that somewhere, I know this. And for all of us who make do, who want more but also cherish what’s before and around us, I say thank you and good luck. There is courage too in bridging. It pushes us forward and gives a taste, of what’s to come.

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