Pressure and application

Yesterday in my post I discussed how I had to relearn how to use the “H” grades of pencils in drawing due to their hardness and lightness in tone. This reminded me of my past life. My ex-wife Lori and I would shoot pool almost every Friday night for nearly 5 years on the pool table in the 3rd floor of our house. We would shoot pool, listen to 80s rock, drink craft beer and smoke cigars for hours on end. The games were always great fun but no matter how much we played, Lori could never understand the idea of finesse. In order to make the shot you were attempting sometimes it is not about how hard you strike the cue ball but rather about having a gentle touch. She would ruin so many shots that were easy given shots by applying too much force when shooting the cue ball. This would then cause the ball it struck to go in the pocket and bounce out, or worse yet to miss the pocket completely. I tried to show her time and again the idea of using finesse in those shots, but she never quite understood what I meant.

So why am I telling you a story from my past life? I think there is a lesson to be learned here about creativity and healing the creative soul. Sometimes we see something that we want to do and we want to go all out full force on the thing. Sometimes this is the right approach and very much needed, but there are other times when a much more nuanced approach that uses finesse and skill will produce a much better result. When Fr. John first started helping me get control over my temper it required an all out approach, one which was very intense and full throttle for an entire summer. The subject matter was so heavy and ingrained in my thinking that it needed that kind of approach. Just like you would do when breaking the rack at the beginning of the game. This approach worked and within the time period of one summer I had learned to control a temper that had been out of control since my infancy. However, there are other times when we are working on elements in our personal development which require much more gentle pressure and a much more refined application of skill. In these cases going full force at the subject might end up doing more damage than good. Just like using the “H” pencils which are very hard compared to “B” pencils. If you use a 9H pencil too hard on drawing paper you can actually tear the paper very easily. When you use the “H” pencils properly they can produce a beautiful, light and nuanced tone. It is all in the context and application of the pencil, or whatever tool and medium you work with. Yes, it is ok to be gentle with yourself in the process of peeling back the layers of the onion. Your soul is a beautiful work of art and you should treat it as such.

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