The Sin of GLUTTONY

Gluttony means consuming way more than you need. And it’s a great way for the monkey to distract you from your creative path.

Walking through a museum and snapping a picture of each painting you pass, then hurrying on to the next. Signing up for classes, then never bothering to show up and do the work. Why start that painting when you and your credit card could while away the afternoon at the art supply store? Easier to amass more drying tubes of paint, teetering piles of empty sketchbooks, basket-loads of supplies for crafts you doesn’t have the time to master — than bypass the monkey and get to work.

Gluttony means valuing quantity over quality. And we live in times of more, more, more, where there’s always a new distraction, a new treat popping upon our phones. Why do they call it a Facebook feed, d’ya think? Because it stuffs our troughs with trivia, 24/7. We consume bytes instead of being in the moment and appreciating the wonder and beauty around us already. We are gluttonous with our time and yet stingy with it too, wasting it rather than investing it in the self-improvement and habits that can bring us the things that will truly satisfy our hungers.

Gluttony is a sin of lost control. Like Lust, it drives out of our minds, to places we don’t recognize in the mirror. We automatically grab for more entertainment, more stimulation, more consumption, faster, longer, all of which distract us from our purpose, our skills, our deepening experience as human beings. We are unable to ignore the buzz in our pockets, the dings on our night stands, we drool and reach and feast.

Creativity is about creating something new, adding to the world of beauty, not just taking and acquiring.

Gluttony stems from fear. We are afraid of exposing ourselves, standing naked as we are. Afraid of being vulnerable. We cloak ourselves in a thick protective layer of shopping bags from Abercrombie & Fitch, Dean & DeLuca or Windsor & Newton. We need distraction from our true selves, from loneliness, from inadequacy, from being who we are.

The solution is to make more, rather than take more. Pull your excess art supplies off the shelf and give them to your local public school. Turn off all electronics a day a week and fill your time with songbirds and wind. Unsubscribe from distraction and sign up for a healthy diet of starving artistry. It won’t kill you, it’ll fill your soul.

Second in a series on seven deadly creative sins.