Dare boldly

Inspiring acts of grace in everyday living


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Honouring times of fallow

 

No 25. #ShePersisted
Winds of Change
Mixed Media on art paper

My friend Kerry Parsons recently gifted me a set of “Soulful Woman Guidance Cards.”

It is no accident the card I pulled today is called Time of Fallow — Creative manifestation occurs more easily when I have nurtured myself and honoured my time of fallow.

Nature understands the meaning of honouring its time of fallow. Spring fields produce healthier bounty when they have had a time of fallow.

I have been considering this blank page for a while this morning. Wondering what do I feel calling within, yearning to come out.

And the muse quietly rests, calling me to honour my creative urgings through a time of fallow.

I have been so consumed by the creation of the #ShePersisted series, I feel my creative energies calling out for a rest, a respite, a reprieve.

Life is ebb and flow. We breathe in. We breathe out. We step forward. We step back. We repeat.

On another level, my immersion into the #ShePersisted series is an honouring of my time of fallow.

It has given me space to gently and effortlessly explore my desire to stand up and step up to be heard. To clarify my voice, my gift, my offerings to the world.

It has given me beautiful guidance on what I want to do to create a world of difference.

If I change my glasses, shift my lens, I can see this time of creating the #ShePersisted series as my journey into my soul where I delve into exploration of our human condition through wonder and awe for all we do collectively to create war and peace, discord and harmony, walls and bridges, abuse and comfort, deception and truth, hatred and love.

As the images and words for this series have flowed, and continue to flow (I’ve still got a list of over 10 quotes that have popped into my head at random times), I have been enthralled by the experience of giving into the creative process, fearfully and fearlessly, haltingly and effortlessly.

It is the yin/yang of creativity.

To be afraid of a blank page. To dive hopefully into the open space calling itself into being.

And in that realization, I am overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. Joy. Knowing.

There are no blank pages. Just beautiful wide open spaces calling out to me to breathe into my creative essence and with every exhale, blow away my fear of being the change I want to see in the world.

Namaste.

 

To view the whole #ShePersisted series, please visit my website.

 

 


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When failure is not an option.

badge-1-copyIt is a commonly used phrase. “Failure is not an option.”

Challenge is, when failure is not an option, we risk not learning from our mistakes, because in failure is not an option thinking, mistakes are not possible. In that space, we limit our capacity to think outside the box — or to even see, there is no box.

Our thinking becomes so focussed on doing the things that will guarantee success, we can’t allow space for ‘mistakes’ to lead the way to greatness.

In front of the easel I meet myself.

It is one of the many things I learn standing in front of the easel, leaning into the unknown.

Again and again, as I dig into the creative process, I see myself staring back at me with every brushstroke, with every layering of colour and texture and moment of wanting to wash it all over with white paint to begin again.

The creative process has expanded my understanding of the phrase, “Failure is not an option.”

I used to believe it meant, there is only one choice, come hell or high water, you will not fall down, you will not give in, you will persevere and rise above — at all costs.

It was the unspoken, at all costs, that had me in its grip.

At all costs meant, no matter how tired, how broken, how lost I was, I could never give into letting go of the need to appear ‘successful’. I could never let go of my pride.

“Failure” is just another cloud floating by

In front of the easel, I am constantly reminded that as long as I allow the urge to create to lead me into the unknown, as long as I give into the flow and trust in the process, without buying into my ego’s insistence it knows best, failure is just a thought that flows through and out, like clouds floating by on a summer’s day.

Ultimately, the fleeting thought of failure becomes part of the outcome. And, as long as my thinking stays expansive enough to allow for curiosity and experimentation, for happenstance and unexpected developments to appear, success isn’t measured in the beauty of the final piece (because believe me, I can always find flaws in the final piece if I really want to). Success is measured in the whole-heartedness of my experience of creation and the entirety of the final product – not the individual brushstrokes, but the entirety.

Moving through the fear of the well drying up

As I have been delving into the #ShePersisted series, I keep coming up against my fear of ‘the well’ drying up — which is just another term for fear of failure. Thus far, I have created 18 different images and quotes for the series. My original intent was to create 12.

Some I really like. Some, I’m curious about because they don’t resonate quite the same way as others. All are an expression of my creative essence.

Is that success or failure? Is 12, 18, 32 the number I will measure my success by? Or, is it simply a trusting in the process knowing that when I stay open to the muse, creativity flows freely and expresses itself through me without any expectation of success or failure?

Staying open and free of self-judgement/criticism requires a letting go of my need to ‘achieve’ and produce. It requires my breathing into my desire to be in harmony with the world around me through allowing the expression of my creative essence to flow freely.

The mystery of creativity is exposed in the unknown

I am fascinated by how the #ShePersisted series is appearing in my life. Several people have asked, how do you do it? How do the ideas keep coming?

It’s a mystery to me.

And I love that part of the creative process.

I trust in the process of letting go of my fear of creating into the unknown, so that the unknown can appear through my creative process.

Every time I stand in front of the easel, I don’t know what will appear. I don’t know how it will manifest itself. I do know that something magic happens when I let go of ‘directing’ the process and let it be the process of delving into the mystery.

Often, most times in fact, I start with the quote — and let the painting appear in concert with the words I want to use.

Often, most times in fact, the words I begin with give way to the words that appear through the mystery of being part of, into and of, the creative process.

As I mentioned, it’s a mystery — and part of the teachings of the creative process. Give into the mystery and let go of the need to direct the outcome by controlling the process every step of the way.

In that space, failure isn’t an option because, failure and success are simply part of the joy of being willing to take the journey.

 

 

 

 


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Lessons from in front of the easel.

They said climb too high, you will fall. She fell, again and again, and learned how to fly.

They said climb too high, you will fall.
She fell, again and again, and learned how to fly.

I painted and glazed and used my Gelli pad (a rubbery pad used for print making — I love it!) and splashed some more paint and really, really was into the moment, just diving into the creative process, letting the muse have her way when… who should appear? That nasty little voice in my head, (you know that critter guy who likes to interfere with joyful pursuits just to make sure you’re not getting too full of savouring and loving life)… Yeah him… well he piped in and said, “You think you know what you’re doing. You don’t. You’re going to mess it up. You’re just kidding yourself. You haven’t got a clue about what you’re doing…”

That was to have been the theme for the 13th painting in my #ShePersisted series. “They said she didn’t know what she was doing. She turned their world upside down.”

Which is why, the woman who is falling in the painting was actually turning a cartwheel originally.

And then, the birds appeared.

And then, I remembered a couple of ideas two friends shared with me on FB for a quote for one of the paintings, and suddenly, cartwheels turned to a woman falling and learning to fly. (Thank you Sheila K. and Sandra R)

And that is how the creative process works.

Two ideas became one, emerging out of another.

It is what is continuing to compel me to create this series. I am not in control. I am not the ‘creator’. I am simply the conduit for the muse to express herself through me.

And it can be tiring. Or so I tell myself until I recognize that thought as the critter’s subtle attempt to get me to stop. “You really don’t know what you’re doing,” he hisses. “Stop it.”

No. I won’t.

I will not give into the critter, even when he is stomping his feet and telling me to stop painting. Stop creating. Like he tried last night.

And that is the lesson I found waiting for me in front of the easel last night.

The critter is just a voice in my head. He is not real. He is a creation of my reptilian mind, rising up out of the ages. Carrying generations of familial messages, trauma, hurts and pains.

Sure, in a not so nice way, he’s trying to keep me safe. He’s trying to protect me.

He forgets. I am no longer foraging for grains, living in a cave, peering into a fire that I keep burning all night to ward off animals and evil spirits.

I have evolved. I am here, right now, a powerful woman capable of expressing myself fearlessly. I have my own voice. My own opinions. My own thoughts. And, I am powerful beyond my own imaginings!

Once upon a time, the critter and I were one. He was important to my survival.

I survived the dark ages. It’s time for both of us to come into the light.

 

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The series #ShePersisted can be viewed on my website, HERE.

 


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Lost in the woods, I wanted to quit #ShePersisted

Lost in the woods, I wanted to quit but carried on

Lost in the woods, I wanted to quit but carried on

She still has me. Is still gripping me in her velvet gloves, massaging my creative muscles and inspiring words and images to flow.

The muse and I had quite the affair last night.

Last night, I tried to defy her.

I wanted to give up on this particular image. It just wasn’t coming.

I was painting to a different quote and this image was not measuring up. It was messy. Disconnected. Chaotic. I hated it.

I told her I was done. That this piece I was working on just wasn’t working. It was over.

She lovingly held me, soothed my wounded ego, my defeatist attitude and said, “When you’re lost in the woods, keep going towards the light.”

I threw caution to the wind and dug back in.

 

 

At the point of turning back.

At the point of turning back.

I was already painting over another piece I’d created last year that wasn’t particularly pleasing.

What did I have to lose? Leave it in a state of dissatisfaction? Or let go, carry on and be open to whatever happened?

That’s the thing about the #ShePersisted series I’ve been working on — they are nearly all created on old pieces that were not completed — I just didn’t know it at the time of originally painting them!

In most of them, the past informs the present. It shows through in pieces of colour, texture, design and even those sections you can’s see, they are lying under the topcoat, informing the context.

Like life. We can’t actually see the past, yet, it’s always there. Informing. Contextualizing. Shadowing. The present is a statement of the past. And sometimes, even when we think we’re done with what was,, if we haven’t created beauty and value from it, it will come back into the present allowing us another opportunity to create better.

Last night, while working on the 12th painting for the #ShePersisted series, I wanted to give up.

What a mess I thought.

And then the muse whispered into my heart, “Keep going,” she said. “You’re not done yet.”

I’m glad I listened. I persisted.

 

The quote became:  “They said to be careful. She threw caution to the wind.”

The finished piece is on my website HERE.