"He who uses the spirit that is within him creatively is an artist. To make living itself an art - that is the goal."
- Henry Miller
The first thought that comes to mind is that I do not have creative cycles.
It feels like I am either "in the zone" or I'm not. My creative process seems to work like Toronto traffic, 10 minutes before rush hour. I'm humming along, happy as can be, singing to "Billy Jean" on the radio, tapping the steering wheel on each "ooh, ooh," just amazed at my luck - in the car, breezing through the city - what a novelty! And then WHAM! I turn the corner of the Gardiner and there it is. The sea of combustible chaos. Rush hour...which is really a misnomer. Because nobody "rushes" anywhere and it doesn't last an hour - it lasts FIVE hours! argh.
I am either propeling myself into the beautiful, complex inner world of CREATION or I am caught, blinded, by my "internal opera" (to coin Blisschick), where my excuses and flightiness sing away and I am left artistically high and dry.
I must say, though, that in those times, while I am blaming myself for my procrastination, my inertia, my lack of discipline, I remain an awfully good cheerleader! I am SO GOOD at supporting my friends, family, kids, the creative people in my life. I am YAY YAY YAY all over them and their questing after their dreams, the songs they write, the commercials they get, the games they create to have fun with Life. I enjoy being the cheerleader too. I enjoy being the "YAY-sayer" and i am so proud of all of their accomplishments. I am also happy with mine. And now I am re-thinking this whole "creative living" thing....
Going back to the first chapter of "12 Secrets," I had a massive list of artistic goals to accomplish....some I knew were not aimed at this year, but perhaps the next 10 years. Even the goals I re-set last week have not all been accomplished.
So let's focus on what i HAVE managed to achieve since we began McMeekin's book:
- bellydance once a week
- kundalini yoga once a week
- bought glue
- put a few hand-written poems on computer
- watched 'Charlie Wilson's War' & read about Benazir Bhutto
- consistently read and wrote about each chapter in 12 Secrets book
- made up new sound effects for 'the wheels on the bus' song
- made a vermicelli dish for dinner solely based on ingredients i love
- sent an email to creative souls (including a Russian clown!) in our building & discovered that we have more ecstatic things in common than i ever imagined! plan to meet them on sunday.
- connected with people in our elevator, smiled, greeted them, made conversation
- braved the snow with a friend to give elliott and my friend's daughter a true 'canadian' experience
- contacted my artistic connections
- ordered shakespeare kids book for reference
- ordered 2 awesome cds to 'open up' my creativity and musical repertoire: Hush (bobby mcferrin & yoyo ma) and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack!
- ordered 'funner' workout videos because i discovered that i have a lot more creative energy when i am more physically active!
- baked chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly soft and moist!!
- have sung little ditties and danced with abandon almost every day
- i HAVE embraced some difficult moments with more grace, and some humour
- i have been playing with my baby every day, nurturing him, introducing him to the WONDER-FULLNESS of the world, giving millions of kisses, enjoying daily laughter and tears of joy
Now...there are 2 current 'threats' to my creative process - the internet and HGTV. But you know what? How about if I stop judging that and turn it around....they are part of the process too, right? - part of the whole package around me that "fills my well." What am I doing with that time? I'm admiring homes around the world, longing for travel and adventure again, drooling over the home renovating, checking out AMAZING blogs by phenomenal women in this community, imagining the future house my family will live in one day and pondering the possibilities of how we will make it a home... That's not wasted time. It may be 'passive' time, but it's not wasted.
And while I have been "filling this well" I have been tinkering with some ideas. Like the idea of creativity....being an artist...living the art-filled life. The list I began this journey with had many ideas of big, bold accomplishments I wanted to make to put my stamp on the world! To say, "This is me! I'm here! I'm creative! I have ACHIEVED!" Wanting to be recognized. Creativity for the sake of recognition, admiration, praise.
I would like to move beyond that.
I am now choosing creativity for the sake of playfulness. (How funny - that is Leah's theme this month, isn't it?!) I am choosing creativity for the sake of 'artful picnics,' for the sake of BEING instead of doing. For the sake of my soul just wanting to hear its own whispers aloud. I am proud of my artistic resume, but that is not what this is about. This is about LIVING creatively. (Those of you who are already there, please forgive my incredibly late, little epiphany!) I have always loved that quote by Henry Miller, and I have felt that I was living it, but this is something else. This is about creating 'junk,' about making a mess, about bringing out all my underused art supplies and colourful pens and spreading them across our living room floor for the sole sake of expression, and possibly sharing - but not for the sake of acknowledgment.
I want to be someone who, when I die, others will say, "She was one of the most truly original people I have ever known." I want to be original to myself. Constantly challenging my own boundaries, my own self-imposed limitations. I want to be like my grandfather - the Newfie sailor. The poetry-loving, model sailboat-making, pipe-smoking, sea shanty-singing, nickname creating, special handshake shaking, stuttering, laughing Buddha-esque grampa. Charlie Knight. My creativity is not about the Pulitzers, or the Dora Mavor Moore's, or the "best-selling," or the honourary degrees. It is about being the creative sparkler that leads to the collective fireworks of a happy humanity! It is about living with inspiration. Waking up everyday so excited for the creative possibilities waiting to be kissed and brought to life for the day ahead.
the spark that they carry." - David Berger