Embracing Limitation

Embracing limitations we find the path of effective action. William Martin, The Sage’s Tao Te Ching

Made aware of our strengths and limitations as we grew up, we usually fostered the former and avoided or tried to improve the latter. As we age however, new limitations can appear that we simply must live with.

There are a number of words I can think of using in conjunction with the word limitations, but embracing has not been one of them until recently.  Other passive verbs might include accepting, acknowledging, living with, allowing for, and those expressions that gingerly hint at these intrusions into our lives and how best to suffer them, particularly with regards to the artistic process. They often feel more like limitations to our entire creative lives, and we may experience them as visceral assaults to a process we didn’t have to think much about. Before. Before we began to move more slowly. Before we found we were too tired to paint at night. Before we would sometimes fall asleep in front of our computer. Before we decided to sit more at an easel instead of standing for long hours.

I can’t really say that I embrace things like stiff knees, a sore back, and balance issues. But I do embrace the outcomes. Moving more slowly causes me to notice things I may have missed when I was rushing through life. Listening to my body and its greater need for sustained movement causes me to seek a truer and healthier balance to my life overall. Focusing more on one creative effort at a time has helped my work grow in surprising ways and given me the sustained time to contemplate and develop new directions. So I would definitely have to agree that these limitations have helped me to find the path of effective action. At least for now. For today.

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