To express myself, I sometimes write, I often paint (collage, draw, etc), and many times I just stare… out a window, at a blank canvas or a partially completed piece. Staring seems pointless to many people. Staring is a vital and crucial part of my creative process. The judge-y critic in me, whose voice is very strong, says I’m wasting my time, wasting the ONE DAY I HAVE THIS WEEK WITHOUT KIDS, and, in my most melodramatic moments (so many of those!), wasting my life.
Ugh, that’s so much pressure. There is nothing so effective as pressure to stifle development, to stamp down fresh work and new ideas.
Lately, I have been making very mindful, thoughtful efforts to be kinder to myself, to take things less seriously, to lighten my spirit, and to just enjoy life more. I am trying to recognize that what’s happening is enough right now, that who I am is enough just as I am.
I am trying not to try.
It’s hard but it’s full of peace and trust that everything will be ok. It will all work out.
So when I stare out the window, in the garden at the fig tree, at a speck on the floor, my kinder, higher self knows that while my body is still, the part of me where creativity resides is doing some serious sweaty grunt work. I am turning compost, checking for new growth, planting seeds, nurturing my creative spirit. I may look unproductive, but as a creative, as an artist, stillness is an incredibly profound part of work.
I would argue with anyone that stillness encourages productivity more than pressures of time crunches and negative self-talk. I am far more able to meet a deadline or paint quickly when I’ve let myself rest and compost and experiment and play… all that stored energy, like in the garden, encourages inspiration and a rush of new growth. I am creating only for myself, to make myself happy and to follow where my instincts guide me. Then I create the work that I am happiest with, that is the most meaningful to me, and that is often most well-received by others.
And look what’s been coming out of that stillnesss… so many faces! Who are these people? I think they are my muses. My strange, peculiar muses full of the spirit of nature, animals, and sacred symbolism, from deep in my imagination, deep in the compost.
(The top painting and the simple drawing it’s based on further down are very literally my rendition of my muse. I painted them in a wonderful class taught locally by Asia Morgenthaler, a lovely earth mama artist with the most generous spirit, that I had the pleasure to meet recently. Check her out at www.asiamorgenthaler.com )