autobiography and creating…

I’ve had a few days away from blogging during this month’s September blogging challenge as my energy has been taken up with weather and family and personal happenings.

As soon as it became obvious Hurricane Irma would mean evacuations for some of my family members – including my 88-year-old mother who lives in an assisted living facility on an island off the Atlantic coast – weather once again became a focus for me.

These days I give myself a lot of room, a lot of space, a lot of permission, a lot of grace, to release things, or back away from things, when that’s what I need to do for my self-care, my joy, my well-being, and/or my life-stuff-happenings.

Before deciding to do the blogging challenge, I gave myself lots of gentle permission to skip days if needed, or stop altogether… just taking it day-by-day for myself. And that’s what I’m doing.

Today I’m still texting and talking with family and friends who are in the path of, or being impacted by, the storm. I’m still keeping an eye on the weather news. I’m still wondering how our weather here will be effected. We don’t get hurricanes where I live, but our weather can be impacted by them (with rain, high winds, tornadoes) and sometimes we’ll end up with a tropical storm or tropical depression from a once-hurricane… and that’s looking increasingly possible for us with Irma.

What’s going on with the weather is very much on my mind and in my heart.

But I’m back to the blog (at least for today), and I’m posting something about today’s nudge/prompt:

Share something you’ve created that feels like it’s a part of your autobiography.

There are several different things that fall into this category for me – things I’ve written, things I’ve painted, things I’ve made – but the first two things that immediately jumped to my mind are two particular paintings. I couldn’t quickly find a photo of the full canvas for the first one, so I’m going to share a bit about the other one.

This one…

The photo was taken at the beginning of February 2015. Some of the painting was done in the weeks of January and first few days of February that year, but most of the many layers and components of the painting were painted in 2014 over a period that spanned much of that year.

That year was a year of dealing with the grief of my father’s death in 2013, and the change and grief of my mother’s move several hundred miles away and her entry into the world of an assisted living facility, and the grief of the changes in some family relationships.

That year was a year of a long physical recovery after a fall in January 2014 injured my right hand (and I’m right-handed) and my leg.

That year was a year of facing more losses-to-come as my beloved brother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. (He passed away 14 months ago.)

Painting, and especially painting on canvas as I stood in front of my table-top easel, was (as it continues to be) solace for me and joy for me… even though sometimes there were so many emotions and tears spilling from me that didn’t exactly feel joyful. Still, though, painting was where I turned. Painting was one of the main things helping me keep myself together.

There was a period of time that year when I couldn’t do much painting because of my hand injury. During that time, I tried to paint with my left hand, or tried to find some way to hold my brush for at least a little while, or sometimes just painted with my fingers.

It was a few months before I could actually wrap my fingers around a brush (or pen or pencil) again, but still I found a way to paint. And once my hand was recovered enough to hold objects like paintbrushes again, I painted more and more.

This painting is autobiographical for me because it encompasses all of that for me: the memories, the grief, the injury, the tears, the trying to heal (emotionally and physically), the processing of all the feelings, the trying to be okay in the midst of everything, the giving myself permission to paint just because I love it and no matter how it looks, and the wanting to believe that all will be well.

The paintings I do on the canvases at my table-top easel are intuitive paintings, and I just let myself do whatever comes. Whatever color seems to want to be painted. However and whichever way the brush (or my fingers or whatever) seem to want to move.

I don’t paint at the canvas for the painting to look a certain way.

I paint at the canvas for the process of it, for the doing of it, and for joy of it (even if I’m releasing some tough emotions at the time).

This painting holds the energy of that time, that year, in my life. It holds my energy. It holds my tears and my hopes.

And that’s why it feels like it’s part of my autobiography.

you will have created something…

 

 

Creativity matters. Making art matters.

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s any good or not. It doesn’t matter if you make money at it or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s something big or something small.
It’s part of soul-nourishment and self-care.

It’s part of living a fulfilling life and connecting to your inner self.

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”   ~Kurt Vonnegut
 

Create something. Anything.

Do it for your soul.

 

if you have restless creativity…

 

 

 

Sometimes I just want to create.

I might have an inner itch to write some fiction. Or it might be a nudge to pick up a paintbrush. Or to pull out some crystals and beads and craft something, anything
But I feel stalled.
Not stalled in the sense of feeling inertia.
It feels more like I’m restless.

My creativity feels restless.

The creativity is there (sometimes so close it’s just right-there) but I can’t seem to settle down, I can’t decide which project to work on, I can’t focus.

And then it’s as though I pace restlessly.

This pacing isn’t literally pacing a room, but it’s mental pacing.

My thoughts jump around as I wonder what creative project to do, or I distract myself online or on Netflix, or I tackle the laundry.

Does this ever happen to you?

This creative restless can actually be part of the creative process.

There are times, of course, when the restless feeling itself can become a way to distract yourself from creating. And there are times when the restless feeling is the signal that it’s time to stop mentally (or otherwise) pacing and get to work.
Being aware of exactly what the restlessness means – and when it might signal a shift needs to take place – is important… and the awareness comes the more you look at and understand your own process.

So how do you know the difference? And what can you do when you’re experiencing restless creativity?

 

Here are a few things to try…

Do an internal check-in with yourself. Is the restlessness really procrastination in disguise? Or is it part of your creative process that, in the big picture, moves you closer to creating what’s wanting to be birthed? Is there something that honestly needs to get taken care of (scheduling an appointment, dealing with a problematic situation, etc.) before you get to work on a creative project?

Get grounded. Take some time to ground yourself and ground your energy. Close your eyes and just breathe quietly for a few minutes. Go outside and touch the earth. Hold one or two grounding crystals (black tourmaline, smokey quartz, red jasper, garnet, and snowflake obsidian are a few). Ground and center your energy so that you feel less restless in general. And then see where your creative energy leads you.

Ask your body. If you’re trying to decide between one or more creative projects to work on, pick one of them and see how your body feels. Do you feel constricted inside, does your body feel pulled-in too much, does your heart sink a bit because you really wish you were working on “that other project over there”? If so, that can be a clue to devote your time and energy to one of the other creative ideas calling for your attention at this time. (But it’s also possible that the feeling could be a form of resistance instead of true guidance – so, again, awareness and honesty with yourself is key.)

Just start. Give yourself a mental push or physical shake, pick up your pen or paintbrush (or put fingers to the keyboard or sit down with crafting/creating supplies) and simply start doing something. You can tell yourself that you’ll this for for just 5 minutes – sometimes putting a (short) time limit on the activity can help your mind overcome the restlessness long enough to start… and then if you continue past that time, it’s icing on the cake! Sometimes starting can be the most difficult step when it comes to creating.


These are just a few things to try – the important thing is to find what works for you.