When I took my dissertation class, the professor made a strong but meaningful statement. He said, “What you choose as your topic is what you marry yourself to moving forward in your life”. He was making the point, that the dissertation topic has to be near and dear to your heart because it will influence your work and career for many years. It will be the soapbox you stand on in life and the lens through which your view the world. For some that can be a lot of pressure and quite a commitment.
The Dean of Doctoral Studies has recently instituted conference calls for PhD students. The call is to serve as information and support for the dissertation process along with keeping the school in compliance with accreditation standards. One of the students on the call was sharing where she is in the dissertation process and made a comment about being married to your topic; reiterating the words of the professor. I know I’m committed to the topic, Art and Healing, but what about my other commitments, does it make me a polygamist?
My desk for school is in my art studio. I share a space both physically and obviously in my heart and soul. I create art, not because I want to, but because I have to (George Balanchine would be proud, see previous blog entry). I believe that creativity influences both my dissertation experience and my art. The two are connected even if I’m not one of the subjects for my own study. Art impacts my life because it impacts me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being around art makes me happy. Having a space to create gives me peace-of-mind. Having the capacity, the interest, and the support to combine my love of art, and my years as a psychotherapist working with those with chronic and life-threatening illness is like working in a new medium; it’s filled with possibility.
I guess that means I’m fine with being an art polygamist. I’m delighted that I can share myself with two worlds that intersect and allows me to birth something new. I believe that the two aspects of my artistic married life will benefit everyone and will be quite the adventure!