Saturday, February 19, 2011

Creative Breathing

Lately, I've been obsessing over the creative process and how it manifests in my life. I always thought the creative process was one of "life/death/life" breathing, ala Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Therefore, to honor the creative process, one simply allows the life to come and the death to come and produce what one will out of that process. In other words, you create when you feel like creating or when you get an idea, you follow it and see it through to completion. Ideally.
My creating has certainly taken on that quality....only I have allowed projects to have their "spring" only to fall into a premature, indefinite "winter" and be left to die. Sometimes they are resurrected, sometimes not. Oftentimes, my work is informed by where I am in my life, not as a direct expression, but as an expression of quality. If life is too full, then my work becomes lackluster and laden with mistakes that could have been avoided had I took better care of the process. If life is too sad, I either avoid working altogether, or write angst-ridden prose in my journal that I would be ashamed for anyone to see. It has all felt rather chaotic
, and my belief that creativity is bringing chaos into order is not put into practice.
So, I have been musing about all this and searching for a picture...a metaphor I could carry with me...a "reminder picture". I was going to draw a literal reminder picture, but being starved for time lately, I am simply going to trust you to form your own inner pictures (thank you for doing that!)
Here is the thought: the chaos of going with the creative flow needs an order to it. To that end, the picture of bedrock came to mind. Bedrock, full of small stones, sometimes under a flowing stream, sometimes under a blanket of Earth, stones wrapped with roots, always a breathing, changing, yet solid presence. This bedrock is the vessel. The bedrock of my creativity are habits. The habits form the vessel for my creativity, just as the bedrock allows the stream to flow across, or for the plants to root into the earth and be nourished.  The plants and stream are, of course, the creative process....the flow and breathing of life/death/life. There is the initial life of an idea conceived, the death that happens once you let that idea go and bring it to fruition, or the death of resting the idea until it is time to bring it to completion, and the life of another idea or the birth of a project.
So, I have indeed been habit-poor. Having lots of scattered and oft-abandoned projects is not always conducive to creativity. I am going to attempt to simplify and concentrate on creating habits. What kind of habits? I already knit almost all the time. But knitting is easy and mindless for me in many ways, unless I am trying to bend it and make a pattern (which I am very much a novice at). However, in order to truly grow and stretch I want to go toward the things I feel most inept and awkward and resistant towards, which for me, are painting and writing. I believe anything you have a strong reaction toward, either with passionate embracing or passionate avoiding, is something conducive to growth. So, habits of just pushing around a color once a day, no judgments or attachments, just 10 minutes painting whatever I feel like (Life, Paint, Passion and The Artist's Way are two books that have helped me with this process in the past.) I'd like to deeply experience color (a Waldorf education would've been handy for this!) As for writing, that is why I started this blog. And that is probably why I neglect it so very often...I have issues around sharing my writing. Which is exactly why I should do it anyway. No runner ran a mile without first running a yard. My habits will inform other aspects of my creativity: making felt, making animals, sewing, even singing.
To sum up, I form the bedrock with habits of creativity, and allow the ideas to form and take root and live in various stages of being. Through it all, the water...the wind...the spirit flow is the creative process...the birthing and inspiration and dying and letting go and manifesting.
Now, if only I could find the time....and that will be another post!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Angie. My intent for 2011 was to be creative everyday, but it hasn't happened each day, at least that I am aware of. It just helps to know that there is someone else in the area wrestling with similar dreams/goals/ideas. I did some cleaning up in my studio today and that felt good even though for me it was a blue Sunday. Maybe I can finish up one little project each day this week to clear off the table! Thanks for the help! Peace, Ida

  2. I can see threads of our conversation running through your post. Thanks so much for sharing this post with us. I think you are right about the habits. I like that and I have no longer have any excuse regarding time. I will keep you posted on my creation of some new habits. Right now the one I am working on involves increasing physically activity and eating healthier.

  3. Too many have's... lol I should learn to proof before I post!

  4. Hi Angie, I am awarding you The Stylish Blogger Award! It's over here:

    Lovin' your stylish blogs!


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