Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
THE PROPHET by KAHIL GIBRAN
All creative minds experience a creative block at least once in their lifetime. There are so many reasons this may occur but the one I am familiar with is the redirection of emotional attention. When you lose a loved one, have a bad break-up, meet an old flame, worry about money or even worry about the work ahead of you. I have experienced many creative blocks, but by far there is none that can compare to the one I experienced during my second and third year of university. I lost a dear friend abruptly. This was the first time that anyone I had known so closely died. It was devastating, somehow still is and its effects on my work was dire.
Initially, I didn’t want to be at school or think of anything to do with it, but with my parent’s persuasion I went back to school. But even then I stayed in my room unable to hear a thing in class let alone think or design. My mind was absent and I didn’t know how to get it back.
Grief, loss, pain, worry can do one of two things. It can paralyze you and on the other hand it can propel you. It wasn’t until almost a year after that I remembered how you can turn pain into an inspiration to your life. You see, the same friend I had lost, had taught me that. He lost his father when we were in our last year of Primary school. And instead of devastation and lethargy, he rose to heights beyond what he had previously managed. He beat the whole class eight stream and was Number 1 in the practice exam we did right after his father’s funeral. I remembered that pain can be used just like anything else. If you are faced with a difficult situation and your emotional stability is redirected, here are my steps to trying to change the outcome.
1) ACCEPT IT
We most certainly know the things we can change from those we cannot. If a situation is at the point of no return, you need to accept it wholly. I spent several days and nights praying for a miracle, that my friend would rise from the dead causing me even more pain and emotional disorientation. When you accept that you cannot change your situation then you pave way for emotional stability. Accepting a situation is not the same as ignoring it. If you ignore a problem, you are just postponing the effects for a future date, so take your time and grieve if you must. Even if it is for lost money if it affects you, you need to grieve for it and accept it.
2) EMBRACE HAPPINESS
At a time of pain, grief and difficulty, it seems unfair to be happy, seems wrong to laugh, as though to enjoy life is betraying the part of you that you have lost. But remember, sadness, depression and hopelessness is addictive. It becomes who you are, and you don’t even know who you would be without strife. Ever wondered why some musicians only sing sad songs? Or writers write dark painful stories. Yes, its part of life but not all of life.
Embrace simple joys, you of all people know how temporary they can be. Embrace love, dancing, celebration, achievement (Even if it’s moving from a D to a C in your next exam). Embrace the company of your loved ones… they need you still. Slowly, being sad will stop being your story, and you will want to move on and create and you will feel fulfilled. You see life, it moves on, it happens and as much as we may be special, it won’t wait for us. Embrace it and its joys.
3) YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Sometimes we assume that we are the only ones with such a unique problem. We don’t realize that some people have been going through strife all their lives. To help you cope with difficulties and pain, you need to talk about it with as many people as possible. When you do so, you will find that others have similar experiences, they too suffer from pains such as yours. And if you are lucky, they may have some tricks up their sleeves to help them in times such as these. And on the flip side, you may be helping out someone who is also hurting.
4)KEEP BUSY THROUGH THE PAIN
It may be hard, but once you start keeping yourself busy you heel much faster. Engaging in life allows you to keep your mind off painful thoughts, it helps realize that there is more to life than the part you have lost. It helps you release your mind from the bondage of pain.
Always remember that pain, loss and suffering is part of life, its the medium by which we can feel the happiness, joy and love even much more. From pain we are moulded into better people, better designers, better brothers, better friends, better mothers. Just never give up on life, never give up on love, never give up on your architecture.