The art of working within one’s limitations

Hi. Did I tell you I haven’t made my art in months? This from the girl that was doing her work every day? I got some tendonitis in my wrist and one of the instructions was: no weight-bearing poses in yoga, no embroidery, no scrubbing or chopping. Three things I loved: yoga, my art work, and cleaning (making things shiny) and cooking were off the table. What the hell was I supposed to do?

Luckily buying a house distracted me, but I am still left with a question. How will this change my art? How will I get back to yoga? Doing downward dog can cause my wrist to hurt for days, sewing tightens my fingers within minutes. Doing the things I enjoy brings terrible frustration. Not doing them brings disconnection and sadness. Ironically for choosing a form of art that demands patience, I am not incredibly patient with myself or my limitations. I opted for doing nothing rather than to work within those limitations and find a way out of the problem. Why? Because doing that is hard. And frustrating. And you encounter MANY failed starts. My expectation of doing things without trouble has consistently left me feeling dejected. (I can’t help but feel further guilty because this “limitation” is nothing compared to true disabilities people face in their lives. But that guilt won’t necessarily move me forward the way I would like, so I let that go.)

I am spending my days thinking how I will finish the two embroidery pieces I have going. How will my art practice transform? Answer: I have no idea. But this morning, I feel encouraged. My step-dad sent me a great Ted Talk about embracing your limitations. This man, Phil Hansen, has found satisfaction in making art that works around his limitations, and it is inspiring. Check it out. Just ten minutes of your life – well worth it.