Journey 298: The Path of Creativity

This has been a delightful Sunday, spent doing the things that I love to do. I went shopping with my sister and we chatted and had fun. I stopped by my granddaughter’s birthday party that her mom had for her at the park today. I appreciated Brittany’s gracious invitation and enjoyed the festive atmosphere and watching that gorgeous little girl. Most of the day I practiced one form or another of creativity, which caused me to reflect. 

 

My favorite place for reflection. 

Sometimes it’s helpful to look back, even though I’m not traveling in that direction, and see how my path has wound through the landscape of my life. Although I can’t see ahead, I can see where I’ve been and see how everything connects together, how directed my journey is. 

From the precipice of Now, I can distinctly see where my path shifted recently. I stepped onto a fresh new trail almost two years ago, in January 2014, when I began my year of firsts, and started blogging. Oh, I didn’t know at the beginning of that year how my life would open up and change. I just knew I was ready to break out of my comfort zone, ready to create the discipline of writing daily. I had tried writing every day during the summer of 2013. I wrote for four days and quit, unfocused and unsure what to write about. 

The blog provided the necessary focus and, connected to experiencing daily firsts, I had fresh topics to write about. As of today, I’ve written for 663 consecutive days, without missing a single day. That’s a major accomplishment for one who quit after only  four days before. 

However, here’s the truly amazing thing that has occurred. That daily habit of writing, coupled with the desire to open to more opportunities and possibilities, has awakened creativity within me. My symbol for this year is an open door and that has been very appropriate. It’s as if the door to my creative side has been thrown wide open. 

  
I began to combine planting and tending flowers and herbs with creative expressions such as using metal containers, wooden chairs and even a vintage screen door in my garden. Indoors I found I loved creating vignettes, dragging out family heirlooms and treasures and finding new ways to use them and display them. Recently I’ve begun to color again, discovering colored pencils and coloring books for adults. 

That seemingly simple activity has changed the way I view the world. I notice the way light and shadows fall across the field as I drive by, the many shades of green in a forest, the browns and oranges and yellows in the grasses waving beside the road. My artist’s eye is open again and observing, considering, figuring out how to duplicate what I am seeing. 

 

   
Today I did free sketching with my colored pencils, experimenting with techniques and coloring outside the lines, literally. My first attempts weren’t astounding but it’s a beginning and something I will pursue because I enjoy laying color onto paper. 

And then there’s Liz Gilbert. I placed her on my vision board in January of this year and sat in an enthralled audience two weeks ago, in Wichita, listening as she spoke about her new book. And what did she write about, speak about? Creativity. Big Magic. Creative living beyond fear. I was meant to be there. I’m reading her book now, and enjoyed the section titled Enchantment today. These events are much more than coincidences. They are the paving stones of the path that has been laid at my feet…and I am invited to journey, to explore. 

  
When Liz spoke, she recommended a book called The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I’ve held this book in my hands several times in the past few years and always returned it to the shelf. The time was not right. Apparently Now is the time. I bought the book and I’m working through it. Author Julia Cameron offers a twelve week journey to discover the link between the spiritual and creative selves. Considered a revolutionary program for artistic renewal, The Artist’s Way helps to overcome limiting beliefs and fears. I’m excited about this book. 

Liz also shared that creativity must trust us in order to offer us her ideas. When we open to creativity and begin to practice it, in whatever way brings us joy, then we are sending out the message, “Entrust me with your gifts. I will accept them. I will develop them. I am open to receive ideas and I will DO something with them. ”  After hearing her words, I realized this is what is occurring in my life. As I opened to creativity, by writing, by embracing new things, more creativity came. And then more. 

My life is continuing to shift as creativity is finding me trustworthy. I am drawn to deeper writing, and drawing, and open to new endeavors that beckon. I truly don’t know what’s around the bend. I don’t need to know. I’ll just keep journeying…with creativity as my companion. 

  

 

Journey 287: Bits of Fall

Most of my day revolved around showing property and follow up work on the computer. In between shutting down the lap top and dinner, I had a burst of energy and creativity, and added a bit more fall d├ęcor to my home. Redoing the chippy entry table was quick and fun and satisfied my urge to create. 

 

I loved this little project for three reasons:

1) Other than the purchased gourds, I created this table vignette using items I already had on hand. It’s great fun, for me, and expands my creativity, when I pull pieces that I own together in new ways. All my decor gets reused and combined in endless ways. 
  
2) The stack of mini pumpkin-like gourds in the metal cloche was a happy accident. When I created the vignette in the vintage wooden sieve, I had one white gourd left over. I popped it into the cloche, so it had a temporary home. A few days later, I stood studying that cloche and visualized a stack of orange and white gourds, rising in decreasing sizes within the wire cover. Would that work? Only one way to find out. I purchased more mini pumpkins, paying attention to the sizes of the gourds. My idea came together perfectly and became the focal point of the table top. 

 

3) On the bottom shelf is a favorite quote on a plate with autumnal colors. “A friends knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” I cherish my friendships. How amazing it is to share the journey with those who know my heart so well. And nestled there in the front, is a little marble owl from Italy. That treasure came to me from my Aunt Annie, who passed earlier this year. He seems right at home as part of my vignette. 

I enjoyed listening to Liz Gilbert speak Monday evening, on creative living. I’m reading her book on the subject, Big Magic. One of the things she shared was that it’s important for creativity to be able to trust us. She explained that creativity is set free in us by being creative, every day, in big or small ways, wonderfully or imperfectly, for a few minutes or for hours. By expressing our creativity, consistently, joyfully, doing what we love to do, we send out the message that creativity is fostered by us, appreciated, honored. I so agree.  As with so many things, the more we express and explore creativity, the more creativity flows to us. I love spending even a few minutes allowing my soul to hum with that vibrancy that being creative brings. And those days when I can spend hours in the creative process, then my soul opens wide and energy flows, and anything is possible. 
  

Journey 285: Liz Gilbert Offers Big Magic

I’ve been a fan of Liz, ever since I read her best selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, and saw the film adapted from that true story. Her authenticity, her sometimes painful growth as a result of the challenges in her life, and the transformations that she shared as she journeyed, spoke deeply to me. I connected with Liz on her Facebook page and read her posts daily, drawing inspiration from her often humorous and always spot on observations of life.   

  
In January of this year, as I was creating my vision board for 2015 with my mom and sister, I talked about Liz and the impact she has had on my life. I consider her my mentor, my teacher, even though she doesn’t know that. She is, nonetheless. A few minutes later, my mom found a photo of Liz in a magazine. What are the odds of that? Chatting about a woman I greatly appreciate, and there she is, moments later, smiling from a magazine page. I cut out that pic and added it to my board, creating the intention to hear Liz speak, in person, or meet her. How or when that happened was not up to me. 

 

In September, Liz’s newest book, titled Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear,  released. I saw on her Facebook page that Liz was doing a book tour, across the US and in several countries. I checked her tour schedule, thinking she might be in Dallas or Kansas City. I knew if she was speaking within 300 miles of me, I’d do my best to be there. I was so excited to see Wichita, KS on the list. The time and place had been decided. I could accept the invitation or not, my choice. You know what I decided. 

Tonight I joined 400 – 500 other people in a church auditorium in Wichita. As I waited for Liz to appear, I read the first two chapters in Big Magic. I am going to love this book. In her open and honest style, Liz invites the reader to move past the fears that keep creative living at bay. In the first section, called Courage, she asks this question: ” Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” She goes on to say, “The hunt to uncover those jewels…that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place…that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. ”  I was already captivated. 
  
Liz arrived, amid cheers and applause, and for the next hour and a half, shared about courage, and overcoming fear (she presented a long list of fears and excuses that hinder us) and living the creative life. Her energy was amazing.  I laughed. I nodded in agreement. I teared up. My heart expanded in my chest and my beliefs expanded as well. With her characteristic transparency, Liz spoke from her own experiences of dealing with crippling fear and feelings of inadequacy, about learning extreme self care and how she won the trust of her creativity, and how she said no to things that stole her time and instead engaged joyfully in creative pursuits. I have such a full and overflowing heart tonight, that I need to process it all for a time, and perhaps share insights and ahas later in future blog posts. I left the event encouraged and inspired, my own creative life calling sweetly to me. 

  
I am eager to embrace that calling. And I am not immune to fear. As I pondered Liz’s powerful words, the movie Home, that I watched last night, rose in my mind. The Boov ran away from danger, and also from opportunity and life and growth. Oh, the hero of the story, learned to run toward danger. Doing as Liz encourages, and following my curiosity, I looked up the word danger to discover its origins. Danger originates from the Latin word dominus, which birthed such English words as domain and dominion. Its common meaning was “power of a lord” and was used to mean one was in someone’s power. It later included the meaning of someone’s power to hurt. 

What if, in running from perceived “danger”, I am running from someone’s power and domain? What if that power and domain are my own? I am done with running away. Like Oh, like Liz, I am moving beyond fear, and running toward danger, running toward my own power, regardless of risks, running headlong  into a creative life. This is Big Magic, indeed. Liz Gilbert, I am grateful. 

  
This ticket is going on my Vision Board, next to the photo of Liz, to remind me to dream big, stay open and let go of outcomes. 

Journey 263: The Art of Living

During this quiet, soulful Sunday, as I have relaxed at home, I have thought about creativity and art. Perhaps being creative is on my mind because I’ve returned to a favorite activity that I enjoyed as a child….coloring. I have loved unwinding in the evenings by grabbing my Crayola Colored Pencils and spending time on a coloring page, unhurried, at peace, coloring for the simple enjoyment the activity brings. Although I have no qualms with being an adult, I love this meme that I found:

art of living meme

And I believe I am seeing with more creative eyes because of Elizabeth Gilbert, whose new book, Big Magic releases this week. Liz’s posts on her Facebook page have been geared toward creativity and art and the blocks that keep us from expressing them, as teasers for her book, which has the tagline “Creative living beyond fear.” I’m looking forward to reading her new book, and to an exciting possibility in October, that I’ll share later. Liz shared a meme this week that sparked the most thought for me, around this subject:

art of living

I love the part that reads “…no matter how well or badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” That’s what expressing creativity is all about, soul growth, and genuine pleasure and art for the sake of art, not fame or fortune. As I have spent time with various family members this week, I’ve realized that art and creativity are so much more than an ability to draw or sing or play a musical instrument, although many of my family members do these things well. There are so many others ways to be artistic.

art of living chocolate pie

There’s my mom’s writing and story telling….and also her skill with a sewing machine and her ability to bake scrumptious chocolate cream pie. And my sister Debbie and niece Ashley can take ordinary objects and transform them into works of art…or horror, depending on the occasion. Those two can throw a party like no one else can!

halloween party 18

My sister Linda, who thinks she isn’t very creative at all, expresses her creativity in the way she bonds with the kids in the family, and opens her home in hospitality for game nights and birthday parties. My son is gifted in drawing and music, but he also expresses his artistic side when he is creating an amazing Storm Trooper costume from hot glue and plastic. Megan pours her creativity and love into cooking. Elissa, who is an exceptional cartoonist, also creates handmade gift tags. Adriel, my Pinterest Queen, holds the hand of a dying patient and offers her presence. Dayan plays the tuba….and knows about every country in the world. Jonathan, who can sing and act, is also a technology whiz. Aubrey leaves notes for waitresses on the table, praising their service. Joey excels at throwing a football. Oliver does daring stunts on his bike. Greg can fix anything, and create something new out of something old. I call it MacGyverizing. Many of the backyard garden projects are his creations. All of these are beautiful, creative expressions of Life, that go way beyond categories of regular art. They are, indeed, expressions of the heart and soul.

brick patio

There is no limit to what can be expressed, artistically and soulfully. I enjoy writing, gardening and creating vignettes, decorating and making my own teas and potpourri. And yes, the coloring. However, I love that my perceptions of art are expanding to include anything that is done joyfully, purposefully, and with passion. My knack for puttering, which is defined as “to occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks or not concentrating on anything particular”, has been raised to a form of art, and one that I thoroughly enjoy. It is beautiful to recognize the artist in everyone, and learn to see beyond the expected to the unique giftedness within each soul. When a person can’t draw or sing, it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t indicate a lack of creativity. It means that spark is being exhibited in another way. What an interesting and amazing world we all create, together.

art of living coloring page