Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fallow time

In the Old Testament one of the practical commands for Israel as a nation was to take time off for the ground to rest. Every seven years the people were commanded to leave the land fallow so that it could rest and be able to replenish it's self. If the ground was able to rest then not only would it yield crops on the other six years but the health of those crops would be plentiful and abundant.  The term for this year was Shmita.

This evening my brother and I were talking about art and artists. We got to talking about how there is something in the nature of music specifically that leads to burn out and possibly a space that stunts creativity. To often we want our music to be just the right brand of familiar and new, in asking this we are not willing as audience to allow these artists who we respect and admire the space to create and experiment.  There also seems to be a period of time in which, if a rest is not given, the artists are unable to create something dynamic and vibrant. In our environment of the hyper-real where tastes and who's on top shifts moment to moment we don't cultivate a space for rest.  For many of our artists to make a living, not millions of dollars but enough rather to pay rent and buy groceries and you know have health insurance which as a note many artists cannot afford,  they are required to remain relative and visible in this constantly in flux market. We demand them to come to our town on tour every year or more, feel despondent and rejected when they don't,  and in demanding this we say that we are willing to sacrifice their health and stability as a person and artist for our desire to consume the beautiful gift of music that they offer. As Ian and I were talking I was struck by the idea that in general but specifically in this context the idea of rest and fallowness is not encouraged. Much like the land when it is not allow the fallow time to replenish, we as people and artist need rest. Time to regroup and let things peculate so that what is needed to come out will.

When we push ourselves and others to exhaustion, to a space where everything is running long past empty we loose. We loose the gifts that fallowness has to offer, the gift of rest and replenishment. Sometime, often in rest that which was hidden comes out. When the land rests it produces above and beyond what is expected, yet when we over tax it we can rape the land of everything so that it is unable to produce life. The same is true with our bodies, minds, souls, relationships and creativity. When much needed rest is not given and space is not offered to recharge and replenish, we risk the loss of greatness and abundance that we could have. As artists and as those who love art I think we need to think more about opening spaces of rest and fallow time. 

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