The path and process towards realizing personal success has often been taught and illustrated through the adoption of the life perspective: looking at the glass half-full versus half-empty. At the outset of a creative career, there is an assumption that there is always another refill on the way—and that the current roadbumps and shortfall of resources are temporary. In the case of recurring professional mishaps, blocked opportunities and personal trials over time, a rationing of perspective can take place, where certain career goals no longer feel attainable or affordable to aspire to because there is only so much hope remaining in the glass to expense future disappointments against. The upside to those experiences in the long term is that they wean you from waiting for refills from traditional sources of external approval and validation, and teach you how to draw from a well within—from a place that refills and replenishes your inner fulfillment and satisfaction without judgment: A place of contentment.
For an artist, that place of contentment can be found in the act of creating—in shaping the unmalleable--shaping sound into music; shaping characters from dialogue; shaping life on the screen; shaping form from an empty canvas. In the documentary “A Man Named Pearl”, topiary artist, Pearl Fryar recounts the origin of his famed topiary garden in Bishopville, South Carolina, as the film follows his daily and nightly routine of shaping his garden—which he built with unwanted scraps that were marked for disposal at a local nursery. Every night, at the garden’s beginnings, he would come home and work until the early morning to the marvel of his neighbors and those in town—with the work over time seemingly rejuvenating him with the energy and frame of someone half his age. Mr. Fryar’s own son, an IT specialist, bemoaned his dad’s work, during an interview—exclaiming how he couldn’t understand how his father could spend so much time on something that didn’t make any money. The distance of his son’s perception was magnified over the course of the film against the social impact of the garden and the inner wealth of perspective shared by Mr. Fryar, who has also taught at the university level, and has provided art installments throughout the city. His contentment in his work has been a sustaining force within and to those who have had the opportunity to engage with his art.
The process of exploring and drawing from the well of creativity within can serve as a remedy in restoring perspective, when you are no longer able to see the wealth or meaning in what you create. In parallel with the Samaritan woman who encountered Christ at a well, every opportunity taken to create has the potential to restore your perspective on the importance of your gift in the exercising of it.
Per the account within scripture, Christ stopped to rest at a well in Samaria on his way back to Galilee from Judea. Shortly afterwards, a Samaritan woman came to draw water at the well. Jews were not supposed to interact with Samaritans, but contrary to the culture, Christ asked her for a drink—in essence, making a demand on the reserves that she was working to replenish. In addressing his request, the woman was able to learn more about her truth and the source of her contentment beyond her physical needs towards her inner fulfillment through eternal life. During her regular trip to draw upon her available resource, she found a sustainable source of contentment.
In those cases where hope has been lost and the desire to create has waned, the act of showing up to create can restore perspective and lead towards additional insight and creative growth. In revisiting the act of creating and regularly returning to the well to draw upon your creative resources, you can become reacquainted with the importance of the source of your creativity and its benefits--and in turn, come into the knowledge of its truth.