Emptiness is what allows for something to actually evolve in a natural way. I’ve had to learn that over the years — because one of the traps of being an artist is to always want to be creating, always wanting to produce.
I remember once I had a long period when I thought; “I’ll never have another idea again! I’ve explored everything.” You’ve got this backpack of your history that you’re carrying around — how do you throw that off and really start from beginner’s mind? That gets trickier and trickier as you go along, to not fall into your habitual patterns in the way that you create, in the work itself, or anything.
Well, during that long period when I was feeling really down I read about the Taos pueblo in a book by Mabel Dodge Luhan. She was a society woman in the early twentieth century, and she ended up going to Taos and marrying a Native American from the pueblo. During the winter she wondered why everyone tiptoed around wearing soft moccasins and there was a keeping of so much silence in the pueblo. She asked about it and they said, “We have to make sure that Mother Nature gets her rest. She needs her rest so that everything will bloom in the spring.” I was so touched by that and I realized that that’s the nurturing of those periods that you think are fallow but are actually rich with possibility. You’re alive then and part of the ebb and flow of creation.