Being Too Close to the Problem

Gel Print on Mixed Media paper – words by Neitzsche

We are living in strange times. Pandemics and panic seem to be ruling the actions and discussions of people we encounter. Toilet paper, chicken and bottled water are disappearing off store shelves as if the world is coming to an end. We are all staying away from public places and activities, trying hard to keep our spirits up and minds busy. The future is a bit unclear and we have no idea how long these days will last.

The pandemic has cancelled my travel plans, so I have been spending more time in the studio creating work for this blog. As a result I have been straightening up, clearing out, finding things I put away. It’s like Christmas and meeting old friends at the same time. I found this piece in a folder, mostly done yet unfinished. I examined it for a while and realized very quickly why I had shoved in out of sight. I could see what needed to be done to finish it. I also realized today that when I first started it I could not finish it, my skills and confidence were not there yet. I remember loving the texture and background but not knowing how to improve the lettering. I was stumped. I remember feeling frustrated and getting disgusted with myself.

Looking back I know that I was too close to the problem. I had spent so much time that I could not fathom how to proceed. So I put the piece of paper in a folder and forgot about it. Pulling it out now, with surprise and clarity, better skills and more experience, I had distance and a better understanding of how to proceed. I finished it within about three minutes.

It may be hard, it may be frustrating, it may make no sense, yet sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to walk away. Giving the mind time to see things clearly often comes with distance. When we are passionate, invested, too focused on something it can be hard to see the big picture. Stepping back, doing something else, maybe even forgetting about it can bring the solution top of mind. Forcing a solution is rarely the best solution, often times it makes things much worse.

None of us knows how long we will be distancing ourselves from others to stay healthy and safe from this Corona virus pandemic. Panic never helps anything. Being wiling to utilize the time and silence to keep our own ‘WHY’ in focus is a productive and healthy way to proceed. Maybe we need to think about this global event as a way for us to step away from our daily problems to get clarity, to focus on our personal ‘WHY’ in order to set a foundation to handle our day to day HOWs.

1 Comment

  1. In Time of Trouble
    “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)

    I think it’s worthy of artwork and timeless.


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