What keeps me returning to this practice?
So I am blaming my disjointed mood upon the weather that feels more like Scotland in the Spring complete with constant drizzle and chilly temperatures. I swear, if I squint, the gray clouds really do have puffy cheeks as they blow their strong winds directly into me. It is also the end of the semester at work and even though my schedule remains the same, there is this quiet lull which is unsettling after the frantic pace of finals week. There is this sense of Now What? in the air which seeps into my consciousness.
So yesterday I was pondering this weekly reflection post when this rebel thought crept into my mind: why not just skip it? The door was then open for me to consider "Why am I doing this in the first place?" and "If I stopped it, would it really matter?"
It is funny how this process has shifted and changed for me. Originally, I had intended the reflections to act as a prompt for an art journal page. Nothing too serious, but tapping into my daily life and hopefully acting as a visual record of my thoughts throughout the year. Then the writing took over from the art journaling although there have been times when the two have danced in synch together. But now I wonder if this is all too much navel gazing?
The BeItLiveItDoIt (BILIDI/April In Paris) course this past week was all about the obstacles that manifest whenever we are working towards a change, a dream, a goal. What struck me immediately was the fact that the stumbling blocks that manifest are exactly what Patanjali writes about in the Yoga Sutras in regards to practice. Fear, doubt, inertia, loss of faith, loss of ground gained, sickness, apathy are all hindrances that we can expect to face on any journey. Even though I know these hindrances are part of the process, I am always knocked off balance when they arise. Instead of showing doubt the door, I offered it a cup of tea and entertained its defeating ideas.
Okay, so I didn't even intend to go down this path today! Surrendering to the flow of things sounds so simple but requires skill to practice. The skill needed is bringing myself back to my center and back to my intention for myself and for my life. This is where my Vision Banner has already proved invaluable. Reading through other peoples comments and experiences in BILIDI I hit upon this shift in my thinking. I actually thought someone else wrote this but now re-reading the comments, I see I twisted things around to suit my situation. The issue was the quest for one's creativity to support them financially. Doing what one loves and making a living off of one's art sounds great, right? Well, I know a little bit about the grass over on that side of things and I'll just say, I know this is not the solution for me. At least, not now. But what I realized was instead of thinking about my creativity supporting me, the issue at really is: how am I supporting my creativity?
I recognize I am in a wonderful phase of exploration with so many tools - writing, art, photography - available to aid me on this journey. If I want creativity to inform my life, I must first pay homage to it. I must show up for her every day with sleeves rolled up, ready to dig in and get to work. I have to walk the talk and acknowledge there will be messes, there will be mistakes, there will be moments when the forest and the trees are all muddled up and I am completely lost. So lost, that navel gazing may be the only fruitful thing I can do in that moment. But if I want creativity to thrive in me, I must provide fertile ground for her to grow.
What type of soil does creativity require? I am thinking Openness, Willingness, Fearlessness, Passion, and Commitment. The antidote to the hindrances I will encounter is very simple: Practice. And more practice. And more practice. Practice and then surrender to what arises. Surrendering to the flow does not mean I stop paddling; it is knowing when I can move through a current and when have to yield to its force.
So I am paddling away here (don't you love my mixed metaphors? rivers, gardens, navels and frogs) and I now see Doubt sitting back on the side of the river waiting for someone else to float by. And while I continue to believe the ground I am making will be rich and fertile enough to allow creativity to spill out into all aspects of my life, I am also embracing this revolutionary notion raised by Marisa on Creative Thursday : I am a thriving artist. Here is my spin:
So now I am pondering (perhaps my next reflection?) how exactly is this artist choosing to thrive? How can I/how do I embrace and express this notion? I do know this - for any garden to grow sun, storms, wind, heat and cold are all necessary. The oyster needs the irritation of the sand to make its pearl and a little adversity in my life (okay, in my thinking) can only strengthen my effort and resolve.
So to sum things up: practice, thriving, irritants and I'll add trust. This is something Cowgirl taught me the other day. She has brought home 6 little starter pots with different seeds from school. She explained to me that now we could save money by growing some of the food we need: corn, green beans, watermelons and pumpkins being our future diet. A couple of days later we were at the store and as I reached for a bag of green beans she reminded me: "Mom, you don't need to buy beans - I am growing them, remember?"
Yes, she is already a master gardener, artist and dreamer.
For more inspiration on gardening and thriving creatively, check this post out by Andrea at ABC Creativity. No mixing of metaphors there! And if you are looking for others to help you weed, fertilize and harvest your creative flower beds, check out Art Journal Love Letters and become a part of an amazing group sharing the love and joy of artful play.