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!
I will admit- the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed. Both by content, and the goings on in the world. It’s seemed like a priviledged extravagance. It seemed that everywhere I went there was someone promising “complete transformation in just eight weeks”, offering an app that held content much like I want to present. or making this or that spiritual claim. I used this bombardment of information and enticements as a template, and I’m discovering that’s just not me. I was not being true to my values, beliefs and integrity. Which made me laugh, because that’s one of the explorations I offer to people.
Between finishing up some trainings, looking for a “regular” job to support me on my journey, coming up with course materials and trying to figure out platforms and methods of delivery, and .. and… and… whew. I kinda shut down.
This created a fantastic opportunity! Overwhelm can indicate that a person or group is out of alignment with core tenets and values, or headed a direction that’s not right for the project at hand. It’s a cue to step back, evaluate and recalibrate. Concepts might be vaild overall, but not for the current situation.
In my personal situation, it came to that I was trying to cram too much into one package. AND yay! Many packages! Sometimes it’s necessary to do some sorting out and see what’s noise, and what’s music.
I can’t promise, nor do I want to, a formulaic transformation miracle. I’m more a hands-on kind of person, so I’m beginning to think offering self-paced learning is not what I want to offer. There’s something about in person shared experience that lights me up. I want to take “just enough” time in developing things that when the world sees it, people will think “Yeah! That’s the stuff!”
I believe my music, words, and energy come through me not from me, and I never want to lose sight of that. I witnessed too many people I’ve admired on their journeys begin to believe their own hype and become characatures of themselves.
I believe in the science behind the healing properties of meditation, sound, and energy, and that there are many ways to achieve a state of relaxed awareness. That this is accessible to everyone, and much as there are people more receptive to talents with words, or music, or painting, there are people who are more open to being channels for energy.
That some of the practices I’m exploring use symbols and tools that don’t quite jive for me, and that’s OK.
What I can, and deeply desire to offer: * A safe and sacred space for people to find their way to relaxed awareness. This can be through conversation, meditation, sound experiences and creative practice. * That in this state, people can discover what makes life meaningful to them, and a few life purposes to lead a satisfied life. * Contemplative excercises, including some fun creative practices, that have worked for me in making these discoveries, and maybe they will work for you, too.
I invite you to begin by thinking of a time you felt fully yourself, being and doing something you completely got lost in. Commit to doing this activity twice a day, for twenty minutes. Write, walk, make or listen to music, participate in your community in an uplifiting way. It can be anything that aligns with your values and longings.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, let’s chat! We can explore together a way for you or your team to develop a personalized course. Become more effective and satisfied with your life. I can be reached at email@example.com
I came across this quote from Henry Miller, in his book “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch”.
“Whoever uses the spirit that is in him creatively is an artist. To make living itself an art, that is the goal.”
I really like this. Approaching life fully, with curiosity gives richer meaning to life, I feel.
One doesn’t need to make grand gestures, or a tremendous output of product.
For example, today I did a deep cleaning of my house. I have a little table set by a window that looks out to my back yard. For a long time it’s held a collection of all the thing my magpie side finds out on my explorations. Today I decided to clear that off, and intuitively, I put a journal and a pen on the table. In that moment, I knew I was committing to begin journaling again, or at the very least spend some time every day sitting there and writing or doodling/drawing.
My whole place feels fresh, reset, and open to possibilities. The cleaning’s not complete, but stagnant energy has dissipated.
A simple and mundane task became the gateway to new things. I really need to rewire that lamp. Electricty projects freak me out a bit.
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 my inner resistance to greatness?” Then remove the rule, as there is currently no need for it.
Let me know if anything shifts for you.
photo from an internet search a year ago, source unknown. I will gladly credit if someone knows.