Dysfunction Junction

It’s not too much of a concern, but at some point in my self-development process I might actually get better at managing how my emotional responses lead to my actions.

I’ve been self-studying mindfulness for several years now. I’ve been meditating about as long. And like some kind of self-aware lab rat, I’ve been observing how these additions to my life have impacted my creative interests and artistic output.

Or approached another way: Can self-actualized and balanced humans still create viable art?

I suspect I’m not alone in having anchored my creative ways to that Dysfunction Junction within, that dingy place inside where I store my most painful, shameful, guilty memories.

So what happens when I—to continue the metaphor—move out those rusty cars full of stale regrets, shameful feelings, stagnant fears and clear the tracks?

And even worse to consider: do I keep that Dysfunction Junction operational because I’m afraid if I shut it down that I’ll lose my creativity?

I really don’t know how this will turn out.

Updates and Upgrades

The house I share with my wife and two children will be one hundred years old next year.

We’ve done our best to update, improve and maintain our home—a luxury in an American city where housing prices are escalating quarterly, I admit, and a benefit we’re happy to acknowledge even as the weight of ownership bears down us from time to time—but the eye, as they say, does not lie:

It is a ramshackle bungalow that went through an unfortunate 1970s-era remodel.

The project this season, beyond the typical amazing work my wife does with the landscaping, is to re-side the upper unit, place new windows, re-do the gutter system, replace the front door, touch up paint.

Nothing flashy or even exciting.

It is exciting to us, though. Fundamental improvements—foundational upgrades—make our house much more of a home, and this work supports our contention that if we take care of our house, it will take care of us.

In fact a lot of my work, be it creative, spiritual, professional, familial, has been in this same space the past two or three years. Hard labor, lots of heavy lifting. Nothing flashy, nothing exciting. Nothing that is going to upend or revolutionize. But important. Necessary and essential.

The house reflects that, I suppose. As above, so below. Within, without. All of that.