Stay Calm And Don't Panic
Stay Calm And Don't Panic
Things don't always work out in an artistic life. There are often roadblocks on the journey, both real and imagined. Try as you might to keep a spiritual ideal, these things can send you into panic mode. Your adrenaline kicks in and the fight or flight reflex appears. At times like these, it's easy to let your emotions, fueled by the adrenaline, get the best of you. It's important to remember to stay calm.
My wife and I were driving to a recent gig that was 90 miles away. We had gone only about 15 miles when we reached a point where the west bound lanes of the highway were closed due to a tragic fatal car crash. Everything came to a halt. Sometimes we just sat, unmoving, for minutes. We had no idea as to how long the detour would take. I could feel myself tensing and panic mode creeping up on me: “We're going to be very late!” All the traffic was being rerouted, with 3 busy highway lanes of vehicles being diverted onto the 1 lane frontage road. It was slow going, really slow, for approximately 2 miles on the frontage road.
And everything comes to a halt.
In Buddhism, they teach about the impermanence of all things and to not grasp or cling to these things. I was clinging to the outcome, wishing things were moving faster and that I would be on my way. But I was stuck inside my van, like hundreds of other drivers, unable to do anything to change my situation. “Breathe. Keep breathing,” I told myself, “And stop clinging.” The minute I stopped clinging, I became calm. We then put our heads together and worked out a new plan. Fortunately, we had left early because we had planned to stop near the venue for a leisurely dinner before we got there to set up. This gave us extra time to get through the traffic.
It took us over 90 minutes to get to back on the highway and on our way. If nothing else got in the way, we could just make it. We called the venue and explained our situation, saying that we would arrive about ½ hour after we said we would. With our dinner plans changed, as we neared the city we made a quick fast food stop and ate while driving the rest of the way. We arrived ½ hour before starting time. People helped unload and carry things inside. I sat down for a minute with a cup of tea to collect myself, then set everything up in record time. I was ready to go.
It turned out to be a wonderful evening at a fantastic place. All of this after a harrowing journey. I could've kept clinging, kept the adrenaline flowing, and been both physically and mentally exhausted by the time we arrived, but I turned things around.
Don't Panic, Think Instead
Not everything is as big a problem as this, many things can be small, but can build up into something larger if we let them. When something comes up and gets in the way, remember to stay calm and don't panic. Realize that sometimes you can't do anything to change your circumstances. But also look for options that make the best of the situation.
No one ever said being an artist would be easy, but use your creativity to work around or through the things that block you.