Hip-hop artist and recent Pulitzer Prize honoree, Kendrick Lamar posted a series of vintage, on-the-road video vignettes on Instagram this week—one of which featured his point-of-view perspective from a mountaintop. He quipped: “…Made it all the way to the top. I backflipped all the way up here.” It was a loaded statement, on reflection, given what the ability to backflip represents. It is an enviable, and necessary skill in sports such as gymnastics, as well as hand-to-hand combat—one that requires power and demonstrates the ability to defy gravity, while symbolizing the act of going against the norm. It requires bravura, focus, grace, succinctness of movement and development of the core muscles.
There are multiple steps in mastering the physics of the backflip that include the affirmation of posture and mindset, and flexibility. From the perspective of an artist or creative, all of these elements are critical in ensuring the progress and speed of your creative development over time—but individual mass and weight are equally important, if not the most important factor in backflipping towards a career of significance.
One of the premiere methods in achieving your ideal weight is through a life of self-care. Self-care, prayer and meditation are so critical, that they have been woven into religious practices, such as the observance of the Sabbath within Jewish culture—a day of rest from work which lasts from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. If God, as the ultimate Creator, considered it beneficial and important to take one day to observe, reflect and rest after the creation of the earth and its inhabitants, the practice should serve as a primary commandment in the life of an artist, as a creator. Self-care is not a luxury, but mandatory—a law of nature unto itself, alongside other natural laws, such as the laws of physics. Taking the time to observe, reflect, pray and meditate cultivates the energy, gratitude, focus and spirit of thanksgiving instrumental in lightening the load of worry, anxiety, and physical fatigue that can weigh down your talent, faith and mindset.
Making the time for self-care allows your creative brain and spirit to recharge, bringing balance to your passion, for the realignment of your body, mind, soul and spirit—while allowing space for a widening of perspective towards creative and life challenges.
The road towards actualizing your creative calling and purpose is guaranteed to be populated with unexpected difficulties and betrayals. At certain points, the road will appear as a dead-end circling back to past failure. Life has a way of testing your desires by forcing you into narrower paths that require a larger faith and a backflip into a reset of perspective. It will take a higher power of force to backflip against the rejection and negative experiences set within your path to propel your way to the top. Fixating on a false narrative of failure and dead ends will cause your disappointment to solidify into bitterness and resentment, preserved by unreleased anger. Eventually, you will harden into a state of immobility.
As practical as the concept of self-care reads in the light of self-awareness, it may feel foreign in the face of the final quarter of the year, while looking over a growing list of increased opportunity or unrealized achievements. In taking on the goal of observing a day of rest, it may be best to begin with allocating a window of four hours on a Saturday or Sunday—or starting small with smaller brackets of time in which you can center yourself and reconnect with your purpose and the source of your creativity.
In shedding the weight of unproductive emotions and self-destructive thoughts of failure and negativity through prayer, meditation and self-care, a creative life of significance can be achieved, when paired with the accelerative properties of discipline in faith over time.
Respect your talent. Respect yourself. Take the time to be good to you.