I have this fantasy that living a creative life is somehow the answer, the formula, the great curator of all happiness. That at some point, I’ll arrive at this marvelous place, where creativity comes easily and naturally, no discipline involved, no angsty melodrama, no zealous critic working overtime keeping me overwhelmed and full of doubt, and I’ll produce the most inspiring works of art, people will line up in cyberspace to buy them, perhaps there will be a book involved, maybe even some globetrotting, and wala, finally, finally, I’ll live happily ever after (in my sweet little home on the shores of beautiful Hawaii, maybe even—surprise, surprise—the north/west shore of Oahu, with my gorgeous art studio open to the sea, the symphony of surf, luscious trade winds, the scent of plumeria, and Lono on the stereo, all the muses one could ever possibly need… oh, and did I mention I am looking remarkably young, and thin, and fit... Oh! and that Johnny Depp will be flying in later-sans Vanessa of course-to spend the weekend...?*@&%!).
Haha… and I lament all the time about my lack of imagination…
I want badly to start this next paragraph with Seriously… but each time I write it, I backspace to erase it. Because—though I’m loathe to admit it—I think there’s at least a grain of truth imbedded in that sweet little fantasy, and maybe it’s that nugget of truth that actually gets in my way and holds me back, putting a certain “agenda” or desired outcome on my creativity that in the end only handcuffs me.
I had a long conversation yesterday with my older daughter about this whole creativity thing. She is a writer and artist, no stranger to the joys and challenges of living a creative life. I so value our conversations; she’s never afraid to ask me the hard questions, to poke and prod, be blunt and honest, lovingly, fearlessly challenging me. This morning, after the conversation, followed by my weekly incredible body/breath/healing work, I am feeling much more grounded, less besieged, more open.
And in this receptive space inspiration floated in, on invisible wings, and with it the idea for the piece of art I’d started for this week’s assignment that hadn’t been going much of anywhere. I have seen this phenomena many times; how through some grace or miracle or still moment, efforting eases, the voices quiet, letting go happens, and in fly ideas, visions, knowing, as though the muse is sitting right on my shoulder waiting for me to get out of the way so that she can do her job. Here's what she brought~
Living the creative life I…
Lead with the heart
Honor process over product
Practice loving kindness
Practice gentle discipline
Ignore the critical voices
Dance on the edge
(but don't leave the moment...)
12 x 12 mixed media on wood. Click for larger view.
On the practical side, I don't know that I'll be posting my notebook. This week has helped me see, once again, that when it comes to creating, whether it's a room, garden, photo, or collage, I work from the gut as I am moved, and it grows organically, pretty much one mysterious step at a time. I've never been a planner, I pretty much don't "see" things ahead of time. It just unfolds. So, the only thing in my notebook is a simple list each day of what I did that was creative. The notebook itself(mine, anyway!)is anything but creative. (Which makes me wonder if I actually missed the whole point of the assigment except that I did create each day, which I think was more the point...?) Though I really did love keeping a notebook, it helped me stay more focused and on track, and I'd like to continue to use it. And who knows, maybe in time I'll let loose and it will grow into its own beautifully creative space!
And btw, after the serious detour into the land of self doubt and sabotage earlier this week, this sliver of understanding and the art that sprang forth from it just makes me want to cry... (or maybe it's that Johnny's due to arrive any moment now... ;)