For an indeterminable amount of time, I have abandoned my writing life. Sure, there were sporadic fits of creativity. An hour here, a day there, when I felt ‘inspired’ enough to pick up my pen or chalks or turn on the radio to hear something besides the silence of the interior of my truck or my own chaotic thoughts. I have attended the writers group on Tuesday afternoons as a feeble qualification to continue to consider myself a writer. It has been over a year since I published a book and I refuse to check the date on the last blog I posted. However, my Muse has begun speaking loudly enough that I can hear over the roar of the tornado that has been life. On a recent trip to Colorado, I completed a few sketches with my chalks. Juvenile in their artistry, but I was awed at the sense of play that I felt as the colors stretched across the page. The scenery I encountered while driving through the area inspired a few paragraphs of our connection to Mother Earth, which I posted on my Facebook page for my friends’ thoughtful reading.
You see, a tremendous shift occurred in my personal life on May 25: I officially ended my 21-year career as a public school teacher. The ‘abandonment’ began well before then, and due to other unforeseen-and unwanted-changes the plan to devote the summer months to stepping fulling into my writing career was postponed. However, here it is, August 4, and I’m posting the second to last installment of “Thoughts On The Book”, my interpretation and sharing of Cat Bennett’s The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind. I’m of the belief that there are no coincidences, so imagine the smile that spread across my face as I opened the book to where I left off, p. 101, and she is discussing quantum physics and electrons jumping orbit, as she writes, “So, what is it that allows us to make a quantum leap into a higher orbit? Scientific evidence suggests the more positive energy we absorb, the freer, clearer, and more assured we are. The more action we take, the higher our energy will be.” And so, finally, here I am, freer, clearer, and more assured that my creativity is alive and well and my Muse was only waiting, albeit impatiently, for me to return again to the positive energy It provides (as well as time in Nature and reconnecting with people who offer their support), and away from the black hole my career had become.
Not by coincidence, she goes on to mention twelve (note the title of this post) ways that we can take that quantum leap into our creativity.
- Work Big: Shed the shyness and step boldly into the abyss. On May 25, I took my step.
- Exaggerate: Do this to push your art to the next level-darker, lighter, distorted, more clear/detailed.
- Buy Pricey Paper: Paper, pen, chalks, paint, $500 cooking pan, $1,000 camera lens; we think we can’t make a mistake or it is too expensive to use. Posh! Step into confidence and make big, bold marks across the paper, write until the ink is gone, use up your favorite color, create something that tells the world you’re not afraid.
- Rip It Up: If something isn’t working, if it seems we’re going nowhere, try something else. Not everything written is meant to be published, or even shared. Not every photograph should grace the walls of homes or galleries. Not every dish created in a kitchen is palatable enough to eat. There is a line between the inner critic’s dialog that perhaps nothing we create is worthy and thinking that my childlike sketches should be displayed in a museum. With practice, we improve and refine our art. There’s no rule that we must keep our earlier attempts, or even a current one when it goes awry.
- Kiss Perfection Goodbye: Part of exploration is leaving perfection behind. Just play. As I’ve stated numerous times before, start from where you are!
- Let Go of Control: After hours of practice, we know our skill, our level of creativity. By letting go, will we be surprised? Will we make that quantum leap? And what might we discover if we do? By leaving the structured world of public education, I’ve discovered the freedom I’ve longed for. What might I discover as I allow my creativity to build and fill my life?
- Say Farewell to Intimidation: How often we compare our work to those of the greats and find such a contrast? Creativity, like life, is a journey (for some, it is one and the same), and each one is unique. If the comparison sparks an interest or a drive to work differently, okay. If not, drop it.
- Breathe Deeply: As a yoga instructor, I know that “breath is energy”. To breathe deeply is to live deeply, and to connect with the stillness from which all art arises.
- Be Honest: “We don’t need to puff ourselves up or tear ourselves down; we just tell the truth and show up as we are.” Thank you, Cat, for encouraging artists to just ‘be’ who they are, and embody their Truth. “… we are as we are-just here, naked, vulnerable, open, a little rough around the edges or very rough, brilliant in a thousand ways or more.”
- Love: Love the seeming mistakes and the great attempts, the first experiences and the disappointments; “We are human, after all. If we just love ourselves, it’s easy to keep moving forward.”
- Be Foolish: Try new things, step upon a million paths, be present in each experience. “We’re here to explore something vital and to do something true.” Many would consider me leaving my career ‘foolish’. For me, staying would be.
- Courage: This is the theme of life! Can we do what we haven’t done? Are we playing it safe or are we stepping out boldly, in trust and faith, to walk every step of this journey as confidently as we can? Be positive! Hold a positive vision in your mind, knowing that fear and negative outcomes hold hands. “Explore, make a mess, discover, and never be afraid.”
And so concludes Part 12. I look at these choices and I can see myself applying each one to my life and to my art. I’ve committed myself to fulling living my creativity, to taking that ‘quantum leap’. There is much work to be done, but it will be joyful as I heed the calling of my Muse. Before my website is changed, check out the short stories, poems, and chapters of my novels, if you haven’t visited: www.myjoyenterprises.com In what ways will you take the leap?