Taxes, Our Brains and My Artist Self

Tax season is upon us and I am meticulously inputting data and adding up numbers. There is something extremely satisfying about seeing the result of a whole year mapped out in front of me, no matter how well I did or didn’t do. But there is also something extremely nerve wrecking about it.

As a self employed artist, I am really good at the art, music, production and performance side of things. But, in spite of the fact that I have taken numerous courses in financial finangelings, I am not as good at the bookkeeping and budgeting side of things. I have actually felt quite stupid for being so slow and not having everything perfectly lined up already the way I wanted to.

Imagine my relief as I discovered the scientific facts as they were presented to me by one of Norway’s leading experts on taxes: “Artists,” he said, “develop the brain differently and quite opposite from bookkeepers and finance savvy folks. As a matter of fact, the more you crunch numbers, the less you are able to let your creative mind do its thing and the more you creative you are, the less able you’ll be in terms of linear, financial, number stuff.” I don’t know if he said this so we would hire him instead of trying to figure things out on our own, but it kinda made sense what he was saying. It certainly made me feel better about myself.

I think it’s a good idea to know the basics of bookkeeping and budgeting and to keep abreast of the financial aspect oft things, no matter what we do for a living. But I also know, for myself, that in order for me to truly create from my heart and soul, I need to suspend all linear thoughts connected to outcome. I need to embrace the unknown, to welcome the deep and mysterious and abstract, to risk going out on a limb, to abandon all safety lines and to completely surrender to the moment, for however long it takes. When I do this, magic happens. And, as a result of the amazing surge of energy that naturally follows the joy of creating something truly heartfelt and original, all kinds of good things seem to naturally follow, like new ideas, new fans, more jobs and financial bliss.

The trick is to do just the right amount of bookkeeping and budgeting, so that we are free to create and bask in that energy when it comes our way. For me, it’s a work in progress, this balancing act. So, I continue to forgive myself for the imperfection that follows my attempt to balance the abstract with the linear. I continue to let myself risk being left naked and alone in the name of artistic expression. And, as I simply move forward, one moment at a time, life itself, gloriously, mysteriously and deliciously, has its way with me.

The sun is warming the streets of Oslo as I write this, creating a perfect illusion of summer. Once my taxes are done, I will walk those streets, take in the city life, shake off the numbers and let myself fall into the next chapter of my artist self. Feel free to join me, if you dare.

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