I’m getting ready to lead my writing critique group and should be preparing my writing to share, but instead, I’m writing to you in my first post of 2012. As artists, writers, creative, and divergent thinkers, we can attest to being vulnerable, scared, and paralysed. Life alone can do this to us then we add, of our own volition, the stress of putting our tangible expressions out there, into the world to be viewed and judged.
Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, about the benefits of meditation. Disclaimer–I’ve been meditating for years–but it sure does help when someone else tells me how good it is! I’ve included an essay by Orna Ross here, it is so well written and inspiring too. Jane Friedman posted it on her blog and I learned of it through Facebook, ahhhhh the joys of sharing through social media.
My favorite line is:
“Meditation soothes those edges and creates a place of safety from where we can take risks.”
Creativity and wellness message for today: Claim your essential self.
P.S. Should I forego my shower and meditate instead?
French writer, poet, and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is popping up all over the place in my life right now. Recently I read The Little Prince (again) and loved the sweet, sad, and hopeful story. The author’s humble illustrations also remind me that when you draw from the heart, your images are true, and can last the test of time.
Just now, while ordering gifts online, this quote in a literary catalog, jumped out.
“It is always in the midst, in the epicenter, of your troubles that you find serenity.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I remember some of my past experiences when that statement was spot-on, accurate, and true. I think Santa just gave me my Christmas gift to last the whole year through.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Allow your heart to show you where to find peace.
Recently I entered two paintings in a local art show. Mind you, I hadn’t submitted work to an exhibit in two years. Life just got in the way. Concentrating on choosing the right framed watercolors from my studio (a clean corner of the basement), I felt my excitement mounting at the thought of showing my work again. I used to eat, sleep, and breathe art before I got a real life. Yet, every time I step back in the stream of art my pulse quickens. I’m in my element again.
The art opening was glorious, and I was thrilled when one of my watercolors sold. Validation! Joy! Connection! All those feelings mixed together into a cocktail of delight. I was still on a creative high, when one month after the show ended a second watercolor sold. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that turns into the greatest gift. The first gift of connection between artist and collector was wonderful then to have a second one follow was the tastiest icing on the cake.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Accept the gifts of recognition in honor of your creative expression, let them fill your heart.
Today I’m mourning the loss of what feels like a good friend. A local university is closing down its art gallery. For 22 years The Gallery of Contemporary Art has been a beacon for artists, collectors and art students alike. The only words that come to mind to help me through my day are from Rumi:
“Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why.”
Creativity and wellness message for today: Feel your pain, then get up and go to work.
I’m frequently asked for advice on blogging. In my programs, speeches, and recently here in the comment section of my blog, budding bloggers want to know what to do. On this Halloween day, the pumpkins are carved, candy is bought, and the costumes are complete. Today is a good day to share some new thoughts on blogging.
1. Take off your mask. Be real in what you write, authenticity is a good thing.
2. Just do it, start a blog, keep it simple, keep it fun. Don’t do it if it’s a chore.
3. Find your niche or specialty. Write from that perspective.
4. Subscribe to other blogs, learn from them. Many times it’s what you don’t like about someone else’s blog that helps you create one that is uniquely yours.
Just like a teenager going through puberty, I write in growth spurts. My rule of thumb is to publish this blog once-a-weekish or when the spirit moves me. When I don’t have anything to say, I don’t.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Risk trying something new, go out there without your mask.
At the end of my morning excercise routine I heard a little voice inside me say, “That was easy.” Smiling I realised, it was! Being on a budget currently prohibits my membership at the local Y. I miss swimming, the meditative and repetitive laps, wetness of the water enveloping my whole body, silence when I dive like a whale, hold my breath and swim very deep. What I have instead is “Mama’s Budget Stair Master and Weights.”
I live in a two-story house and being a creative-minded soul I devised a workout of going up and down the stairs and on each floor lifting hand weights as I traverse that level. I set the kitchen timer on the stove, crank up the volume on my library books on CD, and set off. It really is easy. This routine tucks nicely into my available time before work and it is right on budget.
Years ago in art school a professor commented that my rough sketches held more emotion than my finished drawings. He was right. The immediacy of my initial concept conveyed more authenticity then the ones I labored over. I’m reminded of his wise words this morning. My excerise routine came to me in a flash of inspiration. I didn’t edit or belabor it. I didn’t try to make it better.
Creativty and wellness message for today: Easy does it, let your answer to today’s problem be the one that pops up first.
I like the place my writing takes me. It’s a drug-like euphoria that literally expands my heart.
I have to gently remind myself that if my essay wins the memoir contest or not, I felt good along the way. The process is worth it. Just like in my recently drafted essay, the ending isn’t where I thought I was going.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Stay in the moment, let your heart’s journey steer you.
Today I can’t help but remember where I was almost 10 years ago on September 11, 2001. It was 8am, I had just dropped our three-year-old son at his new pre-school in a magnet school 30 minutes away from my home and office. Upon leaving, his pre-school teacher gave me a book, welcoming our family into the school community. I tucked Michele Pace Hofbauer’s Couldn’t We Make a Difference under my arm, drove down the thruway to my office, and started my day. I had not turned on the car radio.
Soon my husband called telling me of the devastating news of a plane crashing into the Twin Towers and as he was relaying this a colleague walked into his office revealing the additional traumatic event of the Pentagon’s attack. I heard his co-worker say the words through the telephone receiver before my husband had time to repeat them. What to do? We were devastated, scared, we didn’t yet know the full scope of our country’s violent attack.
Our son’s pre-school was on the way home from my husband’s office, our son would be safely picked up. I had clients scheduled, I needed to wait. What I chose to do next effected my experience of that day on a cellular level. Remembering the book I took a moment of reflection. Sitting in my cushioned, floral blue easy chair I started to read. As salty tears streamed down my face I felt an inner knowingness that we would be okay. The book healed me, it gave me the strength of hope to take the next steps toward safety and protection. It was the perfect balm at an unjust time.
I will quote from the book’s introduction,”Couldn’t We invites children of every nation, race and culture to join hands in overcoming difference. Its message is that of tolerance and acceptance, understanding and empathy, courage and hope. It suggests that children have a responsibility to themselves, to each other and to the earth. Beautifully illustrated and written in simple verse Couldn’t We offers a vision of a bright future. It opens a small window into a world where everyone lives in peace and where every child has the power to make a difference.”
Creativity and wellness message for today: Open your own small window and make a difference.
I’m back to writing this blog after taking a break from it for the summer. How was your summer? Are you feeling like it was enough?
This morning while exercising I had a revelation. I was berating myself for not doing enough writing this summer when a little voice inside me reminded me that I had. I started mentally checking off everything I created or learned in my writing world. I surprised myself at not only my endeavors but my completions.
In my summer travels, one of the high points was attending the Dale Chihuly ‘Through the Looking Glass” show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Chihuly is a glass artist extraordinaire. His show knocked my socks off in its scope and creativity. Imagine huge blown glass abstract shapes in brilliant, bright colors suspended from the ceiling all around you. Imagine a 20 foot long boat (made of blown glass) filled with exotic blown glass flowers on steroids. I was bug-eyed the entire time. The energy in the exhibit rooms was palpable. It was as if Chihuly’s immense, fragile art was playfully cutting through dead spaces in the rooms, and activating them with vitality.
Creativity and wellness message for today: Let your playful parts clear out any stagnant spaces in your life, metaphorically and practically.