Tag Archives: creative expression

On Mornings Like These

The wind picked up the seed and said, “You don’t belong stuck in the ground. Come fly with me and I will show you the wonders of the world.”

The seed planted itself back into the ground and said, “I grow best where I am planted. This is where I belong.”

Sometimes, okay most times, when I create I don’t have a ‘destination’. I simply feel the calling of something wanting to be expressed, and I go with the flow of expression until what was yearning to be brought into the world takes form in the light of creativity unleashed.

Regardless of my beginning intention, by the time I’ve drained the story of a piece, the words to express whatever has been called into creation appear. Without thought. Without effort. Without planning.

Oh sure, sometimes, (ok most times — I am a bit of a control freak, aka perfectionist at heart…) I work them out to be more poetic, to have better ‘flow’, but the original thought that was germinated throughout the creative process is always there. Planted firmly in the fertile soils of soulful creative expression.

I am grateful for the soft moments where light filters through the cracks. The gentle breezes that lift my imagination and carry me into story-lands that can only exist when I let go of thinking I know life and all its mysteries.

I am grateful for snow-filled, wintery mornings. The soft sibilant, barely audible hiss of traffic on the bridge outside my window. The sweet early morning quiet of dawn’s slow light edging into the dark.

I am grateful for moments like these and all the mysteries and wonders that flow so freely throughout my world.

 

Love Is There, where ever you are.

My “Inspiration Deck”
Hand-painted cards with words to prompt creative expression.

Sometimes, to ‘loosen the ligaments’ of my creativity, as Virginia Woolf once wrote about keeping a written diary, I pull a card from a creativity deck such as Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way art cards. Or, as I did yesterday, I pull one from the cards I recently created for the art journaling classes I am offering both here in my Wild at Heart Studio and Kensington Art Supply.

The cards I created are mostly single words meant to spark creativity through association and stimulus of non-linear thinking.

The first word I pulled yesterday was ‘Earth’. When I let myself become present in the word, I saw (in my mind’s eye) the big ball of the earth spinning through space. I also saw the sky, greenery, water.

Wanting to deepen my journal process, I pulled two additional cards: Explore. Heart.

And then… the fun began.

No matter where you go in the world, Love is there, where ever you are.

As this art journal is an example of ‘the possibilities’ for my art journaling course on Nov 19, and each two-page spread uses a different medium(s), this page was to demonstrate the possibilities of using only one medium – ink.

I dropped some yellow and blue inks on the page, squirted some water at the inks, brought the two sides of the book together and squished the pages against one another, á la Rorschach. Next, I took a damp paper towel and moved the ink out towards the edges of the pages, as well as pulled off some of the ink onto secondary sheets of paper I always keep on hand, just in case. In this case, because I had too much ink on the pages, I needed to remove some of it. (The extra sheets will become part of some other art expression.)

Left page spread

All of that was done intuitively. I had no ‘plan’ when I began. I didn’t even know the colours I’d be using, just the medium.

And that’s the point of art journaling. It’s not about ‘making art’. It’s about expression.

In this case, two things happened as I kept creating. 1. I collaged in some papers I liked.

Right page spread

2. I used a stencil of the world to connect to ‘earth’ I wanted to use orange ink but didn’t have any spray orange ink so, I sprayed it with purple ink instead.

Using a black pencil, I wrote along the outside of the map and highlighted the countries and grid with white ink.

And voilá!

My journal page is completed in under an hour.

And here’s the thing. In creating it, I didn’t ‘know’ the theme, nor what the quote would be before I began working. I let the process guide me as opposed to me directing the process.

And yes, there’s a country or two missing from my globe because the purple bled into their space when I sprayed.

It’s okay. It’s not about ‘perfection’. It’s all about expression.

And for me, the reminder that no matter where I am in the world, Love is there too, inspires me to stay with the flow of life. In that space I do not have to consciously trust that Love is underpinning everything. It is a felt relationship I experience as true.

This means, sitting at my desk, I am in relationship with the two squirrels who are making me smile as I watch them chase one another up a tree trunk outside my window while I type. They are also part of Love’s everywhere present, as is the river flowing past and the traffic driving across the bridge and the trees standing tall along the river bank and that person walking across the pedestrian bridge towards Bowness and… you get the picture.

And… I need to say “Thank you Grade 10 typing class”. Because of that experience many years ago, I can touch type today, which frees me to lift my head from my computer screen to watch the river flow past and the squirrels play without having to watch my fingers on the keyboard!)

You know. It’s kind of a magnificent day to be alive today! I’m so grateful.

Namaste.

 

I See You. I Hear You. I Am Not Afraid.

The story of life is a never-ending river flowing toward a distant sea. Every moment filled with endless Love flowing free.

When I sank into meditation yesterday, I gave myself the opportunity for my inner knowing deep within my belly to rise up in response to the question, “What are you afraid of?”

The answer surprised me.

It wasn’t death. Success. Failure. Speaking in public. Or even growing old and losing all my faculties, or not. Sometimes it feels like growing old is scary with all my faculties!

No. The answer that rose up was one near and dear and very familiar to me. You fear Letting Go and Being Present. Flow with it. Be the flow.

Playing in my studio yesterday afternoon, I breathed into my fear and painted the wind with all the colours of the rainbow.

I let go and let whatever was calling out to appear to become what was being created.

In the letting go, I discovered what the question was calling out to me to acknowledge: Writing a novel is a scary undertaking. I have written two in the past and done nothing with them even though their birthing was a painful process and advance readers really liked them.

‘Doing the work’ is not what I fear. It’s the ‘owning the work’, being responsible for its path after birthing that absolutely terrifies me. (More on this at a later date.)

For now, I need to get honest about the little bitty issue of how I become in the process that concerns me and gives me pause to procrastinate, dawdle and avoid.

See, I know what happens when I become immersed in ‘the story’. Time. Space. The world around me falls away and I turn into a ‘storyzilla!’  You know, an out of control bridezilla without the veil and white dress and all the wedding stuff going on, just the blank white page staring at me every morning.

In its presence, I swing between the polar opposites of every interruption becoming an imposition warranting sharp and nasty ‘get out of my space’ comments from me. Or, every interruption appearing like an invitation to step away from my laptop and have a coffee. Go for a walk or even, clean the toilet. Yup. When I’m writing (or more specifically, not writing) I have the cleanest toilets in town!

This is why the art journal spread that appeared is so fascinating and revealing to me.

A young girl is walking into a monstrous wind. Unafraid, undaunted she stands her ground and keeps staring the storm down. Of course, she’s got her best friend in tow to keep her company but he is walking behind her, using her as his shield. She is the warrior. The priestess. The one who will not be silenced.

Which, based on the storyline of my novel, is incredibly prescient.

But wait! There’s more.

Here’s how the subconscious really kicks in. In one scene in my story, a young five-year-old girl is playing in the woods with her mother. Her boots and winter coat are loden green, the colour her mother dyed the wool. The little girl really wanted her mother to dye the wool red.

Without consciously connecting working on my art journal page to the story I’m writing (or avoiding writing – you pick), I painted the little girl in the painting’s coat and boots red. Hmmm…. colour me blown away.

And….. the little girl also likes to pick yellow flowers and give them to her mother.

WHAT??? I painted yellow flowers and yes, their pop of colour is an important design element, but I hadn’t connected them to the story I’m writing until I awoke this morning and the answer awoke with me.

Being responsible for the birthing and caring of a story is scary. Fear is not a reason to not do it.

So, slowly, quickly, whatever speed I go, this is me facing my fears, letting go and getting busy writing it out (while being present to however I appear in the world around me with love (and a whole lot of compassion) because believe me, I ain’t funny when I’m focused.

Perhaps it’s best I do an advance apology session with my beloved so he is not surprised when storyzilla roars!

However it goes, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Namaste

Thank You Bob Dylan

Sometimes, when I dance with the muse my moves are very focused.

Sometimes, they’re a sea of motion, visuals, words, ideas streaming together to create a dance of all the elements crashing into one another, like the waves crashing into the shore.

It was those words that I wrote in my journal yesterday that inspired my studio time later in the day. That and a monoprinted sheet I’d created a few weeks ago with images of clocks and birds that I’d turned into a mini-art journal. At the time, I remember thinking of my dad who’s favourite quote from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was always,

The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly --- and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

That quote, and my own musings of time passing and life moving ever onward as well as one of my favourite folk/protest songs from ‘way back when’  inspired the story below. (Thank you Bob Dylan)

I am grateful for the muse and her ever-constant presence connecting me to my creative essence inviting me to soar with the wind and dance with abandon on the sands of time.

Blowin’ In The Wind

Time called out to the wind as it blew past,
“Take me away with you to far off places where I can forget who I am as I while away my days watching waves crash against the shore where seagulls dive from the sky and lovers dance oblivious to the sands of time passing by.”

 

Capricious and free, the wind swept up time and kept blowing, faster and faster as the hands of time kept spinning in delight of the wind’s breath fresh against its face.

Caught up in the wind,
Time kept passing
And as it passed it gathered stories
of far off places and tucked them deep into memory’s pockets
sewn into the great divide that stretched across the horizon
in every direction at the edge of day turning into night.

With its memories safely tucked away for a rainy day in the deep pockets of the horizon filled with time blowin’ in the wind, the world kept spinning as the hands of time kept turning.

In time, it came to pass that the wind grew weary and stopped to catch its breath on the shores where waves crashed and seagulls dived and lovers danced oblivious to the sands of time passing by.

Caught up in the joy of blowin’ in the wind and the who it was it could not forget, time could not stop. Without missing a beat time kept on passing by as the world kept spinning around the sun and the moon kept rising to greet the dark and the waves kept crashing as time passed by.

Colour Me Excited

Last Saturday I christened my “Wild at Heart Studio” with six lovely women who came to explore, create, play and shine.

It was wonderful!

On November 19th, I am leading my first workshop @KensingtonArtSupply – a huge step for me – to offer an art workshop outside my own safe space! In this case, it is an art journalling workshop — Art Your Heart Out!  Colour me excited!

There was a time when I said I couldn’t paint. I had no artistic ability.

And then, I discovered how wrong I’d been about something I’d told myself all my life. (I was in my mid-forties when this revelation came to me!)

Hmmm…. I wondered. If I’m wrong about that, what other limiting beliefs am I holding that might be keeping me in place, stopping me from doing things outside my comfort zone?

Delving into artistic expression has been a life-giver. It has created space for me to explore my world in all its many colours, textures, shades and shadows. And, it’s enriched my life by giving me the inspiration to create opportunities for others to find their own creative expressions.

Years ago, when I first started working in the homeless-serving sector at a large adult homeless shelter, I started an art program. A church had donated funds for art-making that had sat unused for two years. I went out, bought some supplies and then invited clients of the shelter to join me on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons for creative play.

That program connected us in ways we could not imagine. It shone a spotlight on our humanity, our shared human condition and our capacity to create even in the face of abject poverty, sadness, loss. Providing space for others to delve into their creative core in the otherwise stark and soul-crushing world of homelessness was healing, affirming, possibility-filled.

That space was an opportunity for everyone to reconnect to that which homelessness crushes down — our humanity. Rather than being identified as the label “homeless”, both participants and those who volunteered in the studio, who came to our art shows and other productions were connected through the creative process to that which makes our world more caring, kind and beautiful — the creative expression of our human condition.

That program gave me a creative outlet and an opportunity to invite people to engage with individuals experiencing homelessness in more positive and supportive ways. It also taught me about my own human condition; its frailties, blind-spots, glory.

Just as back then when I started that art program I did not know where it would lead, (it resulted in some amazing other projects and creative expressions I could not have imagined if I hadn’t simply stayed present to the possibilities), I do not know where my creativity workshops will lead me. I do know, I’ll go nowhere different if I do nothing.

Yesterday, as I reorganized my studio and then spent time playing, I felt myself coming home to myself with all my being present to the beauty and wonder of the moment.

This morning, as I sit at my desk in my studio, looking out at the snow-covered grass, the bare branches of the trees lining the river, the sun shining on the waters flowing past, I feel myself connected to the amazing ordinary grace of this moment.

I breathe deeply into the wonder and awe, revel in the ordinary and extraordinary life that flows through me and say a prayer of gratitude.

Ah yes. This is life.

Beautiful. Joyful. Filled with awe and wonder, inexplicable moments of sadness and sorrow, breath-taking moments of radiance and light.

This is life.

How blessed I am to feel it flowing through me, connecting me to this world of limitless possibility.

Namaste

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Thank you JT, JD, JR, SC, WC and BB for creating such glorious magic in this space.

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As part of the workshop I created mini art journals for each participant and then demonstrated how they could create their own. As well, eveyone painted salt dough hearts I’d prepared and spent time just playing with ink, paint, water, paper and medium. What fun!

 

 

Heart Songs and other Creative Expressions

When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.  Pablo Picasso

When I was a child, my sister and I spent hours re-enacting scenes from our favourite movies. Gone with the Wind. The Parent Trap. We knew all the characters, all the parts and we each had our favourites.

It didn’t matter that our stage was a stretch of lawn or that Tara was a sheet draped over a tree or that we each had to play three or four different parts, differentiating the characters only through our voices as we didn’t have time to change wardrobe —  we didn’t really have any wardrobe to change into anyway. This was a low budget reproduction — very creative, just not very accurate.

But none of that mattered. What mattered most was that we spent the time together. Laughing. Sharing. Creating.

When I was a child, I liked to draw. To sing and dance and to play piano. I liked to write and make up stories. To play dolls and Tag! You’re It! or Red Rover! Red Rover!

It didn’t matter to me what the game or activity. What mattered most was that I was playing and being creative. Expressing myself through arts of all nature and having fun.

And then, I grew up.

I still liked to write. To create. To make something out of nothing.

But the tone was different. There was something lacking in my creation. And the fun seemed to have evaporated with the passing of years.

I kept thinking, whatever I was doing, it needed to have ‘A Purpose.’

To create for creation sake just didn’t seem to be viable, make sense, have meaning. If I was painting, there needed to be a reason. If I was writing, there needed to be a message. And, if I was dancing, there needed to be ‘the right steps’.

I’ve grown beyond those ‘grown-up’ days of believing I need ‘A Purpose’ to my art. I’ve grown beyond thinking there are right steps, wrong moves, perfect brushstrokes or perfectly turned phrases.

I’ve grown into being me. Creatively. Expressively. Passionately.

Today, I know that at my core I am a creative being. That life is an act of creation.

Today, I express myself in ways that fulfill on my belief, and need, to create beauty in the world around me simply by being open to play and having fun being creative.

Today, I let go of the right steps and move with grace and ease into being each step I take to create beauty in the world around me through all my creative expressions.

There’s freedom in each movement. Freedom in being my creative self.

There’s joy in knowing every breath I take is an act of creation. Every step I take is an expression of the beauty I want to create in the world.

And most of all, there’s peace in being at ease with me and all my creative expressions.

What about you? Are you willing to create for no purpose other than to allow for your creative urges to be expressed?

Are you able to hear your HeartSong calling you to dance, leap, spin about and paint the world in all the colours of your soul’s expression?

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This post is an edited repost of one originally posted on my former blog, Recover Your Joy. For me, it never gets old as it serves as a good reminder (after having spent all day yesterday in bed easing a fluish bug out of my system) to immerse myself in creative expression today, just for the fun of it!

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If you’re interested in joining me for an afternoon of fun and creative play, please check out the half day workshop I’m offering October 26th in the Wild At Heart Studio. Come Play! Come discover Your Heart Song!   (Space is limited and the workshop is almost full)

In the meantime… I got this.

I got busy yesterday.

Okay. So I’ve actually been pretty busy since leaving the formal workplace at the end of May this year. I have a list of ‘To Do’s’ to get to in our home and am slowly, yet certainly, checking off my list.

I know. I know. I was going to do the summer unplanned. But a list isn’t really a plan now is it?

And with my list slowly growing shorter, (and I’m not adding to it every day btw) I am feeling the pulsing, vibrant power of creative space opening up within me, calling me to GROW.

Growth is important in life, yet it is not an inevitable or inescapable part of living. We age, but sometimes, we can age without growing deeper into ourselves. Sometimes, we can continue to do what we’re doing, and as we age, shrink our horizons to a tiny box where dreams and possibility lay dormant as we spin stories of ‘what we used to do’ and lose sight of our power to create stories of all we can do, still, no matter our age.

In this space into which I am expanding and evolving I am alive with the muse calling me to delve into my creative essence and to create space for others to come alive to their creative possibilities, artist and non-artist alike.

I am falling in love all over again with me, my life and all its possibilities.

What a wild and wonderful place to find myself expanding and evolving into!

Which brings me to what I got up to yesterday.

Yesterday, I worked on our lower deck. It’s a place that sat ignored since moving into this home almost a year and a half ago. Our contractor has been using it to cut wood, to store unused materials (he’s still working on some renovations). It wasn’t that it was filled with junk. More that it was just kind of discarded; a place of sadness and ennui.

I changed all of that yesterday.

I hauled out the garbage. Piled the wood and other paraphenalia into one corner and swept it clear of debris.

And then, I set up a table with bright red chairs and a little seating area right outside my studio doors.

In the clearing up I created space for ideas and thoughts and possibilities to run wild in my heart and mind. I started getting excited about what ‘will be’ when I get clear of my fears.

‘Cause fear has been my silent, stealthy companion for a few weeks now. Fear of ‘what’s next’, what now, what if…

What I fear I create, and, because I was fearing an uncertain future I was creating feelings of uncertainty within me.

Yesterday, as I hauled out the garbage, Fear and I had a long chat about what its been up to.

“Listen Fear,” I said to it. “I see you and I know you’re really just trying to keep me safe by helping me avoid doing what my heart is calling me to do. You don’t want me to experience disappointment, rejection, and any other emotions you deem painful to my heart. But seriously Fear, I got this. I’m okay. No matter what happens, I am happiest when I am stepping outside my comfort zone, taking risks that aren’t really risks because ultimately, they’re opportunities for me to learn and grow and expand. And isn’t that what life is all about? Constantly expanding and growing deeper into knowing of who I am and all I am when I let go of fearing I will fall every time I leave the safe places of my known limitations?”

Fear was not as convinced of my capacity to weather every storm, to fly instead of fall, to take risks and put myself out there without feeling the slings and arrows of life on the exploratory journey of my life.

“But you know what happens when people see you living your dream,” Fear replied in his cautious way. “They judge you. Criticize you. Maybe even try to knock you down.”

I smiled lovingly at Fear, embraced him with Love and replied, “That’s not true Fear. Remember, other people’s opinions of me are not my business. My opinion of me counts. And, when I am living life fearlessly, taking risks and doing the things my heart yearns to experience, the only way I get hurt is by believing failure is a measure of who I am. The measure of who I am is found deep in my soul, in that place where I know I am worthy, of joy, happiness, peace, Love, just the way I am, where ever I am because I am enough.”

It was a long chat (there was a fair amount of garbage to haul out) and eventually, Fear and I came to an agreement. If he spies a Sabre Tooth Tiger or speeding train or out of control city bus racing towards me, he’ll let me know. Pronto!

In the meantime, I got this.