Attachment, creative block, creative practice, Creativity, focus, inspiration, Uncategorized

Improvisational Creativity

Things I’ve had “forever” are finally meeting their purpose

A week or so ago, while looking for something completely different, I came across some hand made paper and shibori indigo-dyed fabric samples I created about thirty years ago. Thirty years?!?!! How the heck did that happen?

I looked at the two stacks, noticed that the colours were similar, shuffled them together, and an art project was born. I would make a book of them. From there, I decided to stitch on them, creating several independent works linked together.

Beyond that I really had no plan, and have re-ordered which page goes where several times. Each time I sit down I pick up a page and allow my imagination to wander. Sometimes making my imaginary self very small and exploring. Are there hidden images waiting to be seen? Maybe technique marks to be honoured. I have picked up needle and thread with no plan and stitch-scribbled my way around, enjoying what is being birthed between my hands.

I feel if I had taken a different and more studied approach, the results would be quite different. It would have a different rhythm and flow to it. I like surprising myself during the creative process, exploring the “what if I tried this”, mostly delighting in the results, and always learning, regardless of the outcome.

This kind of creative practice is so important. It can shake us out of habits and expand our creative vocabulary. We can unknowingly become complacent in our choreography, writing, music, or however we express ourselves, and end up repeating themes and patterns without even realizing it. It’s a beautiful thing, for example, to witness two dancers who’ve never danced together before explore a piece of music together, create something new, and deepen their own knowledge of their craft.

One thing I like to do when I feel creatively stuck is to explore a medium I’ve never tried before. The materials or process may have some basic “rules”, but there’s something about not even knowing what the rules are, experimenting, and discovering what happens.

If you’re building a new brand, or making an existing brand more relevant, what would it look like if it was a person? What kind of personality would it have? These kinds of characteristics could be an interesting exploration and could even do something like uncover a target demographic that hadn’t been considered. What conveys a recognizable identity for a product category, and yet stands out from other similar things/businesses?

Liberally use the cut/paste/relocate features if you’re writing on your computer… I did it just now! Or write chunks of a story/article/poem/song on post-its or paper and rearrange them. Have a conversation with that character that seems to adding to your block. Do your choreography backwards. Play a musical scale as if it was the most soulful piece of music ever written. Pretend you’re from another planet and just opened up your box of art supplies.

The idea is to explore freely without attachment to outcome. You’re not making “a thing”. There are no mistakes to be made, because you are exploring, learning and being in flow with the process.

Even with this project I’m playing with now. I had the thought this morning that I could keep adding to it as long as it’s in my possession or I exist. I can keep stitching on it, or add or subtract pages. What feels done now could call to me later for something else. I can gift a page to someone if I feel so moved. If someone else ends up with it, I hope they feel free to do the same.

This approach can expand to other areas of life- those that we may or may not see as creative. Take a different route between locations. Go on a grocery store treasure hunt by picking up the first ingredient you see and building a meal by picking one thing from each aisle (I just thought of this while thinking up examples- I think I’ll try it!)

No matter how you explore, make some time to disconnect from all devices and let your mind wander a bit. Your to do list might come up, or you’ll suddenly hear everything and that’s OK. Let it flow by. Eventually you might find yourself in a state of relaxed awareness. And what do you know? You’ve meditated, and maybe even had a day dream or two. Or come up with some ideas/answers. Or had a much needed nap!

My invitations to you this week:
If you write, what would your words look like in movement? Dance them out!
If movement is your jam, what does each movement sound like? Sing and sigh as you move and see where it goes.
f you create in two dimensions, focus on texture. Go for a walk, pick up five things, and create something. Or take a sketch, cut it up into random shapes and create something different. Better yet, buddy up, each cut up a sketch and then trade!
If you normally don’t think of yourself as creative, write down the first ten words that come into your head, even if they are: I can’t think of anything to write; this is stupid. Rearrange them into different sentences, maybe even a poem.

Let me know how it goes; I’m excited to hear what you discover!



Attachment, inspiration, meditation, mindfulness, Personal growth, spirituality

Holy Ground

Before I knew of such things as chakras, and Saturn returns, I drew this oh so long ago

Recently I’ve begun training to become a meditation teacher, and all of us in the virtual class are so exuberant, and diving in full soul.

Many are sharing pictures of their meditation nooks/spaces/rooms. Beautiful spaces all, complete with lovely tapestries, altars, and such.

I have little informal I suppose you could call altars throughout my house. Little groupings of items collected or gifted over the years. Musical instruments in one corner, the marble cafe table from an ancestor’s store with the shop bell, crystals, a microscope and discarded cards I find on walks. But I really don’t have any one spot I consistently go to set my mind free.

I thought of the Martha Graham quote: “Wherever a dancer stands ready, that spot is holy ground”…and then I realized. I am my meditation room. Wherever I am, I take my holy ground with me. Wherever I can fully be in the moment.. watching ocean waves, or leaves fluttering on a tree, or follow the path of birds riding currents on air, get lost in music I am creating. All of it is a variation on meditation as I see it.

There is great comfort and joy and something special about having a traditional place to contemplate life, the Universe and everything.. the buildup of energy there is tangible. It’s why sometimes people venture into a church or temple without knowing exactly why, other than the pull was there, and comfort and perhaps realizations were found.

I am so grateful that I can find this wherever I go- on the train, on a bench in a park, on a walk and stopping and overlooking the city.

My body is my temple, and my mind, its rooms.

Affirmations, Attachment, Creativity, focus, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, mindfulness, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth

Shining Brightly

I’ve been working through Danielle LaPorte’s “The Desire Map”, and at one point she talked about burning journals. So radical, so empowering.. so…. scary!

Journals are archives of our lives. A way to go back and revisit, and perhaps relive past pains and triumphs. Some of it, to me, might be worth preserving, but a lot of mine are deeply private thoughts I just had to let out “somewhere”. It’s an odd attachment to the past, even if they lay like mine, hidden away in a closet for years, or like the one I started this year with the intention of writing every morning. I stopped March 18th- the day everything shut down due to the pandemic.

I’m seriously considering it. It sounds freeing and energizing… much the way clearing out closets is. I don’t want to cling to the past, to who I was. I want to celebrate who I am, and who I am becoming.

In the first exercise, there is a writing prompt “What I know to be true”. Without hesitation I wrote “I am an amazing person who has deeply internalized that shining brightly is arrogant and vulgar. Whoa”.

The pen dropped out of my hand. I realized that has so long been a mantra shaping my life. Odd a little, as for many years I was an oboe player, and they are a bit the rock star of band and orchestra music. One hundred bars of rest, and then a sweet solo to open people’s hearts.

But that is a skill I channeled and honed with hours of practice. I applied my intuition to interpret what the composer wanted to convey. It’s not me being me in all my quirky, sometimes inappropriate, glory. Or expressing my thoughts, or creating my own music and art. I’ve long served and supported the ambitions and ideas of others, but often put aside my own passions “for later.”

Thing is, I have learned along the way I can be of service to others, while also honoring my own passions. Even my life mission statement of two years ago “I am a life long artist dedicated to creating excitement and enhancing life experience using my creative gifts while walking with others on our creative journeys” puts others first.

I can put myself first, and still be compassionate, loving, intuitive, and of service. I can incorporate the current life mission into my new one.

I’m going to create my new life mission statement.. right here, right now.

I am filling myself up with so much love, expressed through my creativity, that I cannot help but shine brightly and be a guide for others by the example of my own life.

Whew?

Are you ready?

I am!!
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You can read Danielle LaPorte’s blog entry about burning journals here: https://medium.com/@DanielleLaPorte/burn-your-journals-maybe-either-way-heres-some-inspiration-on-letting-go-a3f5ff67fcf6

and learn more about the Desire Map process here:
https://www.thedesiremap.com/

Affirmations, Attachment, creative block, Creativity, goal setting, inspiration, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

What is the source code?

Sometimes deep questions come suddenly to me. This is one that came a year ago to me, and I will be revisiting.

“What is the source code of my inner resistance to greatness?”

I wanted to find an image to go with this.. and contained in it is:

“Remove the rule as there is currently no need for it.”

So. I invite you, as I will be doing shortly. Sit with this.. and write it out… “What is the source code of your inner resistance to greatness?” Then remove the rule, as there is currently no need for it.

Let me know if anything shifts for you.

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photo from an internet search a year ago, source unknown. I will gladly credit if someone knows.

Attachment, inspiration, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

Appetite

apetite

When things come to me, I try to get it into a notebook, but sometimes I grab any scrap of paper handy. This one resurfaced today. In case you can’t read my scribbles, it says “Appetite is not the genuine desire of the soul.”

I’m not sure if it was something I was reading, or listening to, or if it found its way to my brain through the aether!

So timely for this season, which for many of us is one of eating and acquisition.

Appetite is a curious thing. It can be easily awakened by external stimuli. We smell good food, hear a bottle open, catch a certain look from a person, see an ad for some new thing or other we never knew we wanted, but now do.

There is, I feel, nearly always a deeper, more true desire beyond the initial appetite. Maybe even clues to what creates meaning and defines who we are in our lives.
Satisfying corporeal desires in a surface way may indicate a deeper need for comfort, security, and love. For what are we truly hungering?

In acquiring objects, we might feel we are making a show of success, status, safety, avoidance of living in a place of scarcity. Of even existing.

By being aware of the first tickles of an appetite for something, sitting with it a minute and asking “is this what I want, or would I rather be…” without overthinking! I’ve been finding I will often choose something else, that in the end, is more gratifying and meaningful to me.

Wants vs. needs

And sometimes I just want that piece of cake/kiss/shiny new thing. The good old “everything in moderation, even moderation!”

My invitation to you this week, is to at least once, when you think “I want” to then ask yourself “what do I need?” And see if a more genuine desire of the soul appears.
Share in the comments below if you like.