These are times when everything feels upside down. How do we manage the present moment without a sense of unease? Things feel discombobulated and disorienting. Supermarkets have hand sanitizer everywhere and arrows guiding you up and down the aisles. Water fountains are shut off. Everyone you see is hidden behind a mask. It’s all bewildering. We live in “middle space” because of the virus. Our past is filled with sadness for what’s been lost. Our future is full of unknowns. We sit in the liminal middle of it all: unable to go back or forwards and forced to face the reality of “Right Now.” I, for sure, feel the angst that comes with feeling like I am in a dystopian novel. Problem is, this isn’t fiction. It’s actually happening. We are in the book people will read decades from now. When that day comes, COVID will be a thing that once happened, but now it’s history.
I have one really good way to get my “Upside Downs” to be “Right Side Ups.” I create. This is how I survive waiting in the liminal middle that is full of the realities of the present moment. It’s true that tomorrow may not be a better day. I grieve the losses of yesterday, and I fear for the future. Art making is a gift in these times of waiting. It brings me pleasure, hope, and a way to make sense of things. Against all odds, I find joy with a stroke of my paintbrush.
If your life is leaving you feeling upside down, I have a suggestion for turning it right side up. Make something. It doesn’t matter what you do. Refinish a piece of furniture or paint a room. Put together a photo album. Go on YouTube and learn about making Gelli Prints or abstract paintings. Watch a Bob Ross video and try one of his lessons. Knit, scrapbook, or make some soap. Create your own papers by recycling your old ones. The process of creating has the power to transform your upside downs and turn them right side up. The simple act of making something can make the fears of tomorrow and the losses of yesterday a little bit quieter. While you wait, you can find a little joy in the present moment.
Turn someone else’s “Upside Down” into a “Right Side Up.” Share your creations with them. Perhaps, you will inspire others to create while they wait. We can all sit in the present moment together and fill that moment with a little more joy with each creation. Creativity can transform, making dark more like light. It offers hope when it’s hard to see it. It turns things right side up.
Find Joy, 2021