“It's amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.” - John Guare
It has been a challenging winter, one of little rest, twists, grief and changes. Eyes heavy and mind racing does nothing to nurture inspiration. I know enough to wait out the delays and struggles, and remember that with all change come new opportunities. As I try to capture images of subjects during that time, as I see and feel them, I realize it is a way to have some sense of control through chaos - offering a way to return to an energy or beauty when inspiration reappears. It is a way to practice and an exercise in hope. And it returns, just like spring.
Those days of wandering in a creative desert feel dismal and dry. Add the co-conspirators of low energy, frustration, and the proverbial, ever pressing time crunch, and that void is encouraged to feel even more cavernous. Now one feels uncomfortable, itchy, pushing to accomplish or fearing that there may be too little to show for our efforts. In reality, neither the push nor goal lines are evidence of inspiration.
Accomplishment is an objective, creating is a practice. Having material evidence of creative work is of course valuable, yet we cannot really discover what may inspire without showing up. So just do something to keep a pulse. Play around with no agenda. Take a slice of time to take a few pictures, write two sentences, doodle, strum, review a past work, whatever. Then again later, or tomorrow, take another few minutes to do it again. Just a few moments of practice is movement, and a playful challenge to that annoying chirping cricket who still wants serenade in the background for a while.
Our creativity is a relationship with our inner selves and our flashes of inspiration. Most days we quickly move through tasks, because we have to, because we are on deadline, because someone is waiting. So much to do, so little time. Rather than experiencing that deeper dimension, we view the thing, place or person, at the surface level, as if it is one dimensional. We are paying attention to what we must at the moment.
Yet, inspirations are funny things, and may be glimpsed right in front of our eyes, like shiny things or reflections. How amusing it is that creative spirit may grab you when looking at the sky, while totally losing sight of the shopping cart careening toward that parked car.
To rethink oneself into a quiet place, setting aside our rushing for just a while, is a plan of granting space, permission and even a calculated risk which can help one to manifest. Of course, it all depends on what one is paying attention to.
My all time favorite sneakers. The ones that my daughter wishes I wouldn't wear. The ones that bring teasing comments from guys. Yet, the ones I wear often, because they always make me smile.
Albert Einstein said "Creativity is intelligence having fun". Standing in your own space, be it unique, imperfect (as nothing is perfect) and even a little off center, is at best the heart of creating. It is the where the heart's intelligence lies, and where the soul speaks. While it is true that challenges and turmoil can propel one to express, there is a sweeter, silent power in favorite things.
Begin exactly where you are. Whether the muse arrives in music, movement, food, nature, or funky sneakers, let it move you forward.
"How do you know you're an artist? You need to create as much as you need to breathe."
Images by tmb / tmbdesign
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