Chapter 2 in the book 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women was all about validating the quirky creative activities we want to do but also can feel a little guilty about doing. I think a lot of us believe that if I’m doing something that is not “productive” than it’s not important. Creative pursuits tend to fall into the category of “trivial amusings”.
Our world praises product. If we come to the end of our day with nothing but an enjoyable, inspiring experience, than we think the day was wasted. But I don’t think that is true. We need times to stop working in the traditional sense and start making time to work on our inspirations or allowing ourselves to be worked on from within. I believe we miss many opportunities because we don’t slow down long enough to look or listen.
Just like people who talk incessantly, often miss the opportunity to deepen a relationship. We need to stop long enough to listen to inspiration. We cannot hear very well if we’re running 90 miles an hour on full throttle. We weren’t created to work that way.
It’s important to honor inspiration. One way to do this is to practice playing. Gail mentioned a book called Life Paint and Passion. I love this book. I’ve read it a few times. I’ve noticed about people who come in to take classes, especially painting and drawing classes, that they get so bogged down with making the perfect painting or drawing, they forget to have fun. Kids learn by playing, but as grown ups, we think playing has no usefulness. I believe that playing is important. If we approach our creativity with a little bit of playfulness, results will eventually show up.
This chapter also talked about taking time to capture our ideas. I remember working as a graphic designer and after talking with a client about their goals and vision, I then would take time to ruminate about the conversation before starting on the project. I often put ideas in my mental marinader and when the inspiration is ready, the creative solution presents itself. But there is almost always a time of incubation. This is the law of gestation.
The last bit that was covered in this chapter was about creating a sanctuary. This is so important because we connect to our Source when we get alone. I think we are very affected by our surroundings. It’s important to have a space where meaningful things live. Objects such as books and artwork, music, and things we like to help connect ourselves to inspiration.
The last part of the chapter talked about creating rituals. I like the idea of rituals. There is something about getting centered that helps creativity to flow. I know when I’m getting ready to do something creative like painting, designing, or working on my field guide, I like to get my space cleared, have a hot beverage and prepare my materials. There’s a preparation time that is actually part of the creation process.
I encourage you to look at your own life and see where you can incorporate these things into your life. You’ll find that the hardest part is giving yourself permission to take the time. So, go ahead and realize that these things are important to live a creative life.
This last week I joined an online blogging book club where a group of creative individuals read a book and comment on it on their blogs. The book I’m reading is called The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and I’m pretty excited about it. I’m always looking for an excuse to read more about living a creative life.
Chapter One is called Acknowledging our Creative Self.
The thing that really stood out to me in this opening chapter one was how familiar the story was. When Gail said “Like so many other midlife women, I was burned out from too much care-taking. I yearned for a gentler, slower pace and wanted to express my creativity more directly,” I thought about how many times I’ve heard people tell me that same thing at Art Village. Because our purpose is to give people permission to make art, I’m very sensitive when it comes to encouraging people to express themselves creatively.
Many people have some painful past experience that has lodged itself into their heart and that experience creates a fear of expression. I think it is important to acknowledge that everyone, (yes, that includes you) has a creative voice that needs to be expressed. Whether you have always wanted to paint, draw, write, make music, garden, cook or dance, now is the time to give your self permission to do it.
Gail also talked about the “positive power of mistakes, and our self-imposed limtations on the creative process.” Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our imaginations of failing, it paralyzes us and keeps us from doing and being who we were created to be. What if we were allowed to fail without being judged? What risks would we take? We may find that the real risk is the not stepping out. Once we can let go of that fear of looking foolish, we can relax and actually enjoy the process of creating something new.
So if there is that gnawing in your soul, that thing you’ve wanted to try, that art you’ve wanted to make, make it! Don’t be afraid. You are creative.
The days are getting longer. I’m sure spring will be here soon. Well, I know it will show up eventually. This is a great time to infuse our lives with creativity. I am doing this by keeping an artist field guide. In it I document creative ideas and images that I come across. My field guide is not organized and it’s getting filled with scraps of doodles, little paintings, random notes and photos.
I think by noticing the art in our lives, our lives become more creative. I usually carry around a notebook or five with me at all times to take notes of things that inspire me. Now I’m carrying a little case of markers, glue, colored pencils, pens, and scissors. Everything is fair game to put into my field guide. I’m having a great time collecting artifacts to put into my field guide. My niece and nephew have been contributing to my guide by making drawings for me as well.
If you want to bring a little inspiration into your winter, grab a notebook, journal or sketchbook and start your own artist field guide. You find that keeping track of the small inspirations makes the days a little springier.