Thoughts On the Book-Part I

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   In my last post, I explained how I had come to obtain a copy of Cat Bennett’s, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and the Mind. I also included five quotes from the book that paralleled thoughts I had written about in earlier posts. I moved away from my usual posts in that I was using something besides my own brain and suggestions for enticing you to drop into your creativity. I’m going to stick with this book for a while, but will expand by adding some suggestions for how you, the artist, might use the author’s words to sway gently, or romp raucously, with your muse.

1) So many principles of yoga: one-pointed focus, observing the mind, allowing ourselves to be where we are without forcing; these were things I knew through drawing. I saw that drawing too was yoga- that it could connect us with our true creative selves and with Spirit.

   As a yoga practitioner, I can completely understand this! In fact, I have spoken of the yogic connection and creativity several times in previous posts. Even if you are not a student of yoga, there is something to the level of concentration needed to create. If we dive inside, then we are offered an opportunity to observe our thoughts, what works for us and what doesn’t, and how our habits may be hindering our creative and/or spiritual progress. When you are involved in your art project, how do you feel? Connected? Do you lose track of time? Does it appear as if you have disappeared and only the medium-the paint, the musical notes, the words, the light and the shadows reflecting on the film-remains? If you haven’t thought about these questions before, take along a journal the next time you give in to the poking and prodding of your muse, and record what answers your learn.

2) The urge can appear in many forms: a vague dissatisfaction, a deep longing, an itch, a visceral sense of excitement, even. It comes when we’re ready to explore.

   The biggest issue standing between the urge and the manifestation of it, is whether or not we’re listening, and how strong our will is to resist. The dissatisfaction we can perhaps blame on our job or our relationships (or lack of) or our schedules or the price of groceries. The deep longing might be felt as regret or a mid-life crisis. An itch or sense of excitement might be explained away by a need for a vacation or change in routine. It does come when part of us is ready to explore. The question remains, will we listen? Will we heed the vague sense that something is missing, something feels a little off? Or will we placate the ego with a material object that muffles, rather than uncovers, that which is speaking to us? Only you can answer this question, and I’m betting it may not come to you in words, but rather a poke or a push or a burning, as if you don’t find an outlet that it will consume you. And it will, whether you turn to embrace that call, or run away from it.

3) Here we are, with this longing for something good, for something as wondrous and elemental as drawing. We can just say yes and begin. We don’t need to think much about it. Our minds will present a hundred reasons why we should begin, and perhaps a thousand more why we shouldn’t. None of them matter. The only thing that matters is that something is calling us, and we have the feeling that if we answered that call, we might walk on clouds. To that kind of call, we say yes.

   I’ve written about this before, both in my creativity blog and my yoga blog. It doesn’t matter where we are, we just begin. Pick up the pen, the paintbrush, the drumsticks, colorful vegetables, or the camera. Start from where you are right now. Whether you have been to art school in Paris or if you are self-taught, even if you’ve never heeded the call, begin today. Procrastination takes determination (I wrote a blog about this!). If you had the choice between that itch, that nudge that keeps you slightly distracted from your job, makes you toss and turn at night, and interrupts your other activities or a feeling of joy, a sense of fulfillment, which would you choose? Answering the call is not all roses and warm fuzzies, I’ll be honest. It can be hard work sometimes, and it can be just as disruptive as ignoring the incessant buzzing to create. But the potential for happiness and untold rewards (simply because it is different for each artist) far outweighs ignoring or silencing that soft whisper of the muse.

   We’re only on page 16. Cat Bennett and I certainly share a lot of the same sentiments when it comes to art! And to prove that I practice what I suggest, I’ll invite you to visit my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com My thoughts on yoga are posted there, as are short stories and poems and introductions of my novels. If you’re up to leaving a comment, I’d love to read your answers to any of the above questions.

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