Tag Archives: creativity

Daily Intention: Be in Action

3 May

((So I didn’t check off everything on my finishing list yesterday.  But because of the things I did do… I walked into the living room this morning, and felt like I could finally breathe in there.  Thanks to my newly freed space.))

Be in action… is not necessarily how it sounds.  I don’t plan to be a hyper productive, task oriented ball of constantly moving energy today.

I’m reading this book by Osho called “Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within” (Insights for a New Way of Living).  I love this way of looking at creativity, because it’s not talking about just creativity in making art… but in living life.  In the first chapter, he makes a distinction between action and activity.  It rings so true for me and I know I’ve written about something similar before here.

He says that activity is compulsive.  Has almost a mindless, thoughtless quality to it.  Where you move from task to task, event to event, activity to activity without premeditation.  This includes productive things, this includes “relaxing” things.  For instance; going from putting the baby down for a nap, to warming up soup, to eating & writing simultaneously, to watching a show, to making tea… one right after the other, sometimes multiple things at one time.  Not really giving each activity your full attention because you’re thinking of what’s going to come next.  As if remaining in activity is more important than the activity itself.

But in action, action arises out of a need.  You are hungry, so you eat.  Your body aches, so you stretch.  You notice that the plants need watering, so you grab the hose.  You feel the urge to draw… so you do.  Action has a spontaneity and a thoughtfulness to it, rather than a compulsiveness.  So that’s my intention today.  To remain in action.  It’s only 8:30am… and it’s already causing me a little anxiety to be stripped of activity for the sake of activity.  Interesting, huh?

That’s the way it is with dreams…

10 Jan

“That’s the way it is with dreams.  They scratch at your door.  You see them through the peep hold: A stray dream looking for a home.  You think it might go away if you ignore it.  Wrong.  It’s still there when you open the door, smiling.  Wagging it’s tail.”

It’s rather amusing to me that this is the quote on the cover of the notebook I pulled out the other day to start brainstorming about this.  Because I have, for so long, maybe even always, wanted to have work that is based in creativity.  A dancer, a writer, a singer, an illustrator, someone who makes pretty things that others will buy…

I’ve wanted to be all of these things at one point or another… and the truth is, if I had a chance to do any or all of those things now… I’d jump at it (then of course, I’d pause and evaluate what would actually be possible with a husband and a 3-month old baby).  My problem has been that I’ve been too scared to go after these dreams.  To grab them by the tail and pull them back into me before they scamper away to find some more serious… or more daring individual.

And it’s such a hard time to decide to try and do one of these things… because my time to spend independently is so choppy (new baby, and all).  But here I am.  Suddenly re-inspired.  It’s been such a crafty couple of months, and I’ve enjoyed them so.

And I was thinking earlier… why isn’t that just enough?  Knitting and crafting and cooking little things for myself or for the baby or Mark or as gifts… writing for myself or to share on the baby blog

I wondered if having my creations monetized made them feel worth more to me… but that didn’t sound completely true.  I wondered if having others acknowledge that my work and my efforts and my thoughts and beliefs have value is some kind of validation for me… and while, of course, it’s lovely and gratifying to see that others value things you create… that doesn’t seem to be the driving force either…

And I started to unravel it on the way to do my last massage of the day on Sunday.  It’s about valuing my own creative expression.  It’s about saying something, writing something, showing something… just so that more of me can be seen and heard.  Yes, I’m thrilled whenever I see a page visit, a comment, or someone says, “Wow, you made that?!”  And of course, I wouldn’t be able to start a business without that kind of outside appreciation.  But what I’ve realized is that even putting something of yourself out for the world to see. To hear and touch and wear and taste… whether they accept it… embrace it… or ignore it.  There’s something magical in the delivery.  In having made the statement, I have something that the world needs to experience.

And we all do.

I’m just making a pact with myself, today, to step up and join the ones that aren’t afraid to say it.

And live it.

biggest mistake

TED Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert, a new way to look at creativity

10 Jan

Deep breath and…. Artist’s Way – Week Two

7 Nov

         Yes, I just realized I’ve taken about a month and a half hiatus from my poor little blog.  And while my Artist’s Way update may not be the most fascinating thing to read… it’s the only way I really have of keeping myself accountable to the project that I’ve long since slacked on.
         I don’t know what it is about this book, and why it’s so difficult for me to get through.  Week 2 could more accurately be called Week 2 over the course of seven actual weeks… but here I am. Actually ready to move on to week three despite some very confusing and irritating hesitation and near anxiety over the idea.

         Now I most definitely did not do my morning pages every morning.  I could blame it on the busy month of October, which it was… and I could blame it on the unpredictability of my work schedule, which it is… but really, if I don’t write immediately upon waking up, before leaving my bedroom… then there’s a very slim chance that I will write them at all (Although the thought of them will loom over me all day).  So while my writing has been spotty, and even though I hate it half of the time when I am in the middle of it, I really truly can breathe better when I am writing them on a regular basis, so I’m putting more effort into making this a habit.  I’ve actually noticed that the times when I stop writing so often… are generally the times when I’m trying to avoid acknowledging a feeling.. or seeing the truth behind a thought that I’m trying to claim is something else.  Morning pages are like a conversation with myself I guess.  It’s hard to write a sentence that isn’t entirely accurate without being immediately aware of it.

         The exercises this week though, are always some of my favorite and I finish them quickly when I actually sit down to do them.  The time exercise always kills me, but always prompts me to make some immediate changes.  In fact, maybe I should do that one on a monthly basis, just to check-in.  I had to sketch out a break-down of the 5 activities I spend the most time on.  I spend an unnecessary amount of time sleeping… and while I’ve gotten better at not spending hours upon hours tooling around on the internet, I’ve replaced that with watching old episodes of either the Office, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Glee (no judgment please).  So, several weeks ago, I started limiting my time spent on both those activities, but I’ve since slipped a bit…

I listed ten tiny changes I’d like to make and I did make one of them.

I drew a little life pie, as she calls it, and rated my satisfaction in various areas of my life.  While I’m feeling fabulously about the Romance & Adventure, Friends, Work and Spirituality areas of my life… the unsurprising appearance of Exercise on the low satisfaction scale and the more suprising Play area are suffering.

One thing I thought was interesting… kind of sad… and perhaps explains the unsatisfactory rating of the existence of “Play” in my life was the last exercise that I did.  List 20 things I enjoy doing.  Easy, breezy, right?  Except it took me a while… I didn’t just bang out twenty things like i expected to.. I got stuck a few times and had to sit and think… and think… and think… That made me feel a little underexpended in the fun department.  When did this happen?!  I don’t know if it’s because things start to get so busy that even the fun things don’t always register as play? So I picked one, “reading for fun”, and started doing much more of that.  Not monumental, but a first step.

20 Things

So that’s that. Week two finished. It was called recovering your identity… but I think it was more of a navigational status report. A look at where you are, what you do with your time and what you’d prefer to be doing with it. Interesting results, to say the least.

AND…. This will be my first time every starting Week Three! I’m kind of excited. And for the record, I did do a couple versions of artist dates over the past seven weeks.  Here’s a couple photos of them.

Carpinteria Beach
A morning at the Carpinteria Beach


Painting Workshop
Painting workshop in Oakland


Park
Reading under the trees in Alameda Park

The Artist’s Way – Week One

19 Sep

         I have tried to do the Artist’s Way dozens of time for about the past three and a half years.  I’ve tried to do it solo and I’ve recruited friends… I have yet to make it past the second week.  The morning pages are something I’ve managed to keep, however sporadically, and remain one of my little source of sanity.
         So here I am, once again, at the beginning of the twelve weeks.  Mary and Megan! I’m keeping an eye out for your posts!


Week One.
         I actually do not like this chapter one bit. The reading is interesting, but the exercises… the monster hall of fame and writing a letter in my defense are not in any way appealing to me.  Nor is drawing a villanizing picture of one of my past jerks.  I know that she says that the things you resist are supposed to be the ones that are really cathartic for you… but really, I just can’t think of people in my history who have been particularly discouraging to any budding creativity.  You know, besides myself. If I reach… I could say a couple art teachers.  Only because if you turn work in late,  and my work was always late, it gets completely discounted. Other than that, I’m at a loss.
         The Champions were a cinch, two of my lovely college professors and a former boss. And actually, they stand out to me more so because they were supportive and encouraging of me as a person, in creative endeavors as well as most other things.
And of course… who doesn’t love the imagining 5 different lives exercise?! Always one of my favorites. (btw I was a writer, a professional dancer, a model, a teacher and a full-time mom. I want to know what you were!)


         My artist’s date… I always feel like I have to pack a bunch of really amazing things into a couple of hours… but I tried to start “feeding the well” slowly this time.  So, I spent an hour in an art store. Art Essentials is conveniently located two doors down from one of my jobs. I didn’t buy anything… I just looked, and touched, and read descriptions of tools I didn’t recognize, and entertained a variety of potential projects in my head as I walked through the aisles.  Simple, yes. But I had a blast. I didn’t even realize an hour had passed until I was out.  I flipped through books, looked at the phases of painting sunsets, different drawing techniques, metal art pieces and suggested camera angles.  I picked out the kinds of portfolios I would want to have, should I ever have a need to fill a portfolio.  I looked at dye, clay, woodworking tools, walnut oil based paint, canvases, composition books, and rows and rows of gorgeous papers and textures.  Did I mention I had a blast? And of course, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos with my phone too (at the top)… literally a feast for the eyes, hands and imagination.


         As for my morning pages. I did miss one day. But I decided to go easy on myself because I’ve been pretty damn good with them otherwise.  I even got so caught up in complaining one morning… that I went straight through to the fourth page.  Is that something to brag about?


Okay girls, passing the torch! And I’m far more excited for Week Two’s exercises.

Art Hopes

20 Aug

I saw this and loved it immediately.

Reinventing the Dog Walk

20 Aug

         Okay, I’m about to admit something that I’ve never admitted to anyone for fear of sounding like a beast of a human being, a spoiled brat, or at the very least a bad pet owner… but I do not enjoy walking the dog.

         I feel terrible saying that! But it’s true.  And I adore my dog, love to cuddle, love to rough house with her, love her crazy noises and stubborn sneak attacks to crawl into bed with us after she thinks we’ve fallen asleep.  And I envy those people who list long walks with their dog among their most favorite activities… but I’ve tried to love it, I’ve pretended I love it… I do not. I get bored.  I make frequent pleas to her as we walk to do her dog business as quickly as possible so that we can head back home (sometimes I even read a magazine as I’m walking).  I’m sorry! I really am… but it’s also something that had started to believe just isn’t going to change.

And then one day, the sun was in my eyes…
         On one of our trips outside, I brought my sunglasses.  And WHAT a difference!  You have no idea what a little tint and color did to change my whole neighborhood into a brand new eye candy filled place!  It sparked a little memory in me… followed by a little idea…

         Whenever I come back from a vacation… I swear that I’m going to treat the town that I live like a foreign city.  It’s not hard to imagine really, old Mediterranean style tiles and buildings, views of the water and hills, bricked pathways, parks galore.  And when I’m traveling, my favorite thing to do is walk.  I walk for miles, eating up the architecture, the scattering of leaves colored for the season, people watching to no end and lingering whenever I think something deserves a little more attention.  I only succeed in this in Santa Barbara when I have friends or family in town.  A little excuse to play tourist. But who needs an excuse to do something that will give their eyes a little feast and perk up a sadly unbeloved event!

         So I pulled down the leash, rallied the little dog leaping in excitement, grabbed my sunglasses and a camera, and went off to pay attention as I walked.

The Result Follows…

         Oh! I almost forgot to add. Yesterday I also came across a site with a challenge… to imbue intentional creativity into every day. I like this because it refers to creativity in a really broad sense.  Meaning I don’t have to be specifically creating a piece of art… but creativity can be brought to doodling, cooking, playing, or as in my first day, walking.  Yes, this was intended for the year of 2010 and yes it’s halfway through August of that year.. but hell. I’m in. The (optional) theme this month is fire.  And since I’m feeling like my attempts at creativity are needing a little jump-start… “fire” for me is being translated into anything that sparks my creative fire again.

         My first day involved the reinvention process of the dog walk, and resulted in a handful of photos, most taken through the lens of my sunglasses because it had the coloring and provided the shadows that I loved.  Today… I uploaded them to flickr and meant to just write mini descriptions to each one… and ended up getting so enchanted by my walk all over again that my descriptions ended up taking the form of a rambling traveling kind of poem.  It might not make as much sense to someone outside of my head… but it was really a lot of fun!

So really this time…

Walking Ruby:

A Different View
Led by anticipation and whatever smells new
Intent on seeing things through a different hue



Lights and webs
When the colors tint and shift and fade
The light shines through webs and tangles
that deserve to be noticed,



Hearty Arrangement
Romanticized by a passerby.



Still Truckin'
With each step and a quick catch of breath,



Glancing Back
pausing to glance back,
the realization hits me
that as lovely as the image
of what was planned might be,
It’s just not yet for me.



Keep Up
So we keep moving down the path we’re on
led by the steps and spurred on
by the occasional sweet jaunt of blissful contentment.



Flowers in My Heart
Holding the small blooming in my heart
amongst shadows and light.



Firegazing
Rekindling that firey red inside



Violet Eyes
and the violet blue that was and
(I’m finding) still is my creativity.



Still With Me?
Stopping to play along the way
Because isn’t that what we say
that we’re missing most days?



Living the Dream
A moment to contemplate
the clash of free thinking schemes
with the big shuttered house dreams.
And realizing that maybe its not a conflict to be solved.



Fenced in Wildflowers
That maybe its the juxtaposition that creates the beauty.
That not only have the white picket fences learned to live with and be enlivened by wildflowers,
but also that the wildflowers are enhanced and supported by that white picket fence.



Hidden Rainbows
Ah, the crossroads we come to,
the hidden rainbows we’ve climbed.
The ease we find after redesigning the stories in our mind.
The alluring and reassuring play of colors right above
the path that leads to home.

Love,
Me

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