Step-Through-The-Day with Intention

I do find it is hard to keep ‘managing life’: I guess that’s what you call it. For example, getting up, doing yoga or exercise, meditation, morning journals and then the day begins, usually work. Then trying to fit creativity in at the end of it all, and sometimes in the weekend, then there’s family and friend commitments and just life-jobs.

I’ve been putting that morning routine in place so I can manage my own life. Sometimes, of course, I don’t do them, or not all of them anyway. I do enjoy most of it most of the time – but when I’m low it’s hard to manage doing the things that help me “manage life”. Ha Ha. Gosh – Yeah.

I’m guessing we are all in the same boat with that one, we all have our own routines that make daily life – make sense, or bearable, or at least give us a chance to step-through-the-day.

There is always the things that need to be done. All the bits and pieces that need attention. For me, like I said it starts with the body and mind. So, stepping the body into the day with yoga, and for the mind it is meditation and journaling.

Step Through with Intention

However, this is just the morning. What about the rest of the day?

What I have found, especially in lockdown and working from home, is to segment my day off with intention. I break my day up into clear segments, like my morning routine. If I can use intention my mind and body switch into the different activities, projects or tasks that need to get done. If I have everything open, emails, slack, text, FB…. then my intention (and focus) can easily slip away during that period.

It is difficult to actively follow through everyday – every time, but the more I do this the better I get at it, just like anything else I suppose. Also tasks come up, usually from others, that are seemingly urgent – but to be honest (and I’m learning this over time) most things are not so urgent that I should allow it to affect my intended time.

If I have lots of bits and pieces to get done I try to pull them together – calling it a ‘bits and pieces’ morning. I do all those little things with intention. Having intention does not mean that every chink of time is working on some amazing project, most of my time is spent with work and family and other life happenings… However, putting time into segments, for me, has been helpful.

Of course you want to chuck in ‘the no plan-plan-days‘, where you do whatever the hell you wanna do – that has to happen!

Just to add in here, I heard from someone at sometime… and I don’t know who said this or how convoluted it has become, but our energy decreases by half 3x over the day. So for example our energy is at max for about 3 hours, then for the next 3 hours it has decreased by half, and then for the next 3 hours it has decreased by half again. So, if you are implementing tasks, what I have found is to prioritise the time. Put your most important task of the day first. It works for me, so thought I’d share.

Anyway that’s it for me. I know you will also have strategies that keep you focused and use that precious time yours, so, please share.

I hope you are all well. Catch you next time. xx

Being Thankful

If you don’t know what to do and you’re feeling overwhelmed saying ‘thank you’ might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it works. I recently listened to a spiritual leader called Mooji who said just saying ‘thank you’ is enough to change or shift your mood or position on the day.

If you just repeat those simple words, “thank you… thank you… thank you…” and keep repeating. After a while a peace settles in and then you will start to see all the people and things in your life that you are thankful for.

Some Tulips I quickly sketched just for you…

I’m writing this because I’ve had to do this exact exercise this week a couple of times already. I’ve let my mind become a monster. It is so easy to do and the mind seems ready to jump into that character pretty quickly. Allowing myself to over worry, overthink and imagine fictitious fear mongering scenarios, all which keep me overwhelmed and anxious. It’s hard to stop a habitual way of thinking, and it will take some work, but in the end to carry a sense of peace is worth the effort.

So , when I learn of little things, like repeating the words ‘thank you’ and find that it actually works, I’m happy, actually excited, to share with you. Because, for me, 2021 has probably been one of the hardest years I’ve ever experienced. Any form of peace I can hold for myself these days is precious.

This quote seems to fit where I’m at right now.

The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.

W. H. Auden

Well I trust the unconscious mind knows, because most days I certainly don’t. I did make a short Vlog this week that discusses value and holding on to our unique creative ability. If you want to watch that, click here.

Hope you have a peace-fueled week. Catch you next time xx

What I’m making in Lockdown

Kia ora, welcome, I hope you are all well.

I just want to share with you what I’ve been creating over the last few weeks. It is not something I have done before, so it is a good challenge while we are in lock down in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland. I have made short films before, experimental films, short documentaries, but I’ve never made a poetry film.

Poetry films have become quite popular, especially on YouTube and there are also film festivals world wide that only screen this genre. The Zebra Poetry Film Festival is one that comes to mind. Go and check out some of the films they have on their site – they are amazing!!

I love how language and visuals have to circle around each other, and there are so many interpretations and areas you could go down. Interpreting poetry has endless possibilities. I have documented my process in making my poetry film on my YouTube Channel, (which I have only just started this year).

Hopefully I will have it finished over the next couple of weeks. It was a struggle to come up with visuals to connect with the poem at first, but I’m now moving steadily forward.

I’ve been mainly looking at the natural landscape around me and colour, especially using colour in paints. Still got a bit of testing and work to go, however I’m loving the process. It’s good to be actively creating in a number of mediums at the moment. Trying to keep my creative muscle flexible and resilient, especially in the times we are living.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” 

Maya Angelou

Love this quote, I think I sometimes fall into this idea that if I put my creative energy into a project I wont have any worthwhile ideas for another project, but of course that is not the case. The more I make, the more creative energy I have.

I will link to the final film when it is up on YouTube, but just wanted to let you know what I’ve been creating lately.

Let me know how your own creativity is going…. or not going. Catch you next time

Juby xx

Committing to Ones’ Self

  • I am committed to calling myself a “creative”, and leaving any other definition at the door.
  • I am committed to finding my way in life through my creativity.
  • I am committed to allowing intuition to be my guide in all things.
  • I am committed to working to live, not living to work.
  • I am committed to walking towards difficulty and using those places in which to create and connect.
  • I am committed to sharing my creative process.
  • I am committed to sharing my creativity, without personal judgement or social gate-keepers influence over me.
  • I am committed to inspiring others to find their voice.
  • I am committed to opening space for other creatives to reveal who they are.
  • And, overall, I am committed to getting up when I fall over.

Now it’s your turn: Write down “I am committed to…” 10 times. You can’t get this wrong. The only wrong thing to do, is not committing to yourself. You are worth committing to! You don’t have to be a creative to do this, you can simply do this about; life, values, family… whatever brings your heart joy. Let Joy lead you.

Love & Light
Catch you next time
Juby xxx

Art, come and find me.

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’m working my way through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. This week is chapter 8, Recovering a Sense of Strength. So, over the week I’ve been contemplating how to gain strength as an artist, which is difficult, because I feel so weak. Trying to find a path, or something to hold onto, is so tenuous. I find something, open a door, head that way only to find I’ve suddenly lost interest, or it’s not what I thought it would be.

But I’m determined.

So, this week I started a free online course called “Follow the Breadcrumbs”, which is run by Nicholas Wilton from Art2Life. The course only takes about 30 – 40mins a day for 5 days, where participants are asked to follow clues (breadcrumbs), and learn about creativity in art, how it makes you feel, where you want to take it and so forth.

As I write this I’m only on day 2 but finding the process very emotional.

A recent abstract painting I’ve been working on.

Several years ago I finished the biggest project I’d ever worked on, it took about 10 years to complete and since then I haven’t been able to commit to anything major. I’ve done bits and pieces, and all of those smaller projects have been beautiful in their own way, but I haven’t been able to strive or push into a project like I use to. I haven’t been able to risk myself to my creativity – which I did in the past. I believed it was the only way to be creative.

Maybe, it was youth, or naivety that pushed me that far and now I’m older and wiser – but since finishing that project, honestly, I’ve just felt lost.

So I try drawing and painting, I write prose and poetry, I try experimental filmmaking, I try writing this blog.. and find some enjoyment, some motivation and purpose, but there still seems to be something missing.

I don’t think I’ve opened up in this way on the blog before, because I haven’t until this moment realised that I need art to find me –

I really need, art to just come and find me again.

Today on the “Breadcrumbs” challenge we draw/painted/wrote – expressions of what made us happy or joyful as a child, and what I painted – was joyful but also painful, which woke me up. It woke me up because art needs to reflect myself personally to make sense. The striving, and risk taking I did before – worked because that was where art was finding me, that was where I personally was, and I’ve been believing I always had to be in that place.

But I’m not there anymore – so, art can’t find me there.

Of course art can find me when I’m weak too, I just didn’t realise that till now.

Maybe this is a prayer, or a meditation, that I’m sending the universe. Art please come and find me – because I need you more than ever, in this weak vulnerable state.

Please let me know where you are at, with art or life in general.

xx

Connect to your Creativity

Connection – how to feel connected. Not to others, (although that is important), but to ourselves, so our creativity isn’t something we are striving for. This is what I’m getting out of Week 6 in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Last year I started The Artist’s Way – and only got to Week 6, out of the 12 Week course. You can read the beginning of last years attempts here, is you so wish. This time I’m going to get to the end!!! Haha, that is my mission. This time through I’m finding out new things about being creative and I’m discovering my artist blocks more readily.

My new messy creative space

For me, connection is about letting the process take on a journey, rather than controlling everything I do. Just allowing myself to create, free from judgement, or comparison. I’ve been reading a little bit from Alan Watts lately and appreciate his take on good/bad, right/wrong and that these supposed opposites are just sides of the same thing.

Thinking about creativity, this idea helps me to let go of making ‘bad art’, as art is art. Good or bad is a judgement, that doesn’t relate to my creativity, my process, or my connection with myself in order to create. If we can let go of the outcome, I think connection is much more available to us.

I love this quote:

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dali

Part of Week 6 in The Artist’s Way is about perfectionism and how it stifles creativity. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, I’m more messy and seem to be happy in my mess and not bothered if people see me in it – however, and it’s a BIG HOWEVER: I do still care what people think – and I can put that ahead of my process. Many times I’ve changed tack because of what was expected, or what I thought people wanted, rather than staying true to myself. And, I just caught myself doing that again recently. So, obviously something or some fear I have, I’m holding onto.

I guess creativity is a process, just as we are a process. Makes sense if we can connect to it then.

Hope you are all well. Let me know about your artist endeavours.

Catch you next time xx

How you value YOUR creativity.

Standing at the display I see a number of branded tubes of paint. I’m looking for black. It’s a colour I use a lot and my small one has run out. There are a few options available. A couple of tubes priced around $8, (just the very small tubes), and one brand I haven’t seen before that is $4. I have enough money to purchase either.

I sway.

I tell myself the better quality will be the higher price, “You get what you pay for”. but then $4… So, I take the cheap one.

And, guess what? “You get what you pay for”.

The paint has no coverage, I can’t get a good black no matter how hard I try. Finally I mix it with a good quality dark blue, and I get a somewhat useable blue-black.

So, why?

Why did I not spend the extra $$? I would spend that on a coffee without even thinking about it. So why be a miser to my own creativity?

This made me realise a few things:

  • I tend not to spend on myself believing I’m not really worth it?
  • I don’t VALUE my creativity like I want to.

I’m just beginning on my journey into painting. I have done bits and pieces in the past but this time I want to take it a lot more seriously. But looking back, I’ve been a miser to myself in other areas of my creative endeavours. I hold myself back in this area. I, possibly, don’t fully value the investment I am making – I still think it as being selfish.

Or maybe it is how I see money? Do I see it in a positive or negative light? Are there issues I have around money that I haven’t let myself look at? Do I have/need to be the “struggling artist?” Do I think money is for security and creativity is somewhat lesser in value??

I don’t have any fast answers. But next time I’M GONNA BLOODY WELL BUY THE PAINT I WANT!!!

Maybe I just have to force myself to do that until I change my perception of self-value. I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Do you do this too?

Any feedback or advice would be most appreciated. I’m feeling like a lost artist, but one with determination.

Hope you are well. Catch you next time xx

2021: Art in Process: Making a U-Turn

Art in process. Well it certainly has been that. A couple of posts back I discussed letting the process lead…haha, and how you have to be brave to do that, yada yada yada.

Well, my process has taken a complete U-Turn. I’ve been happily blogging and vlogging away about making an experimental film while at my residency at RM Gallery and at the same time letting the process lead me. However, unknowingly I had already decided the outcome… an experimental film. So, while I was letting the process ‘go with the flow’ I had already put ‘a stake in the ground’ so to speak by saying the outcome will be an experimental film. (How is that letting the process lead)???

I guess I didn’t really think about the outcome being defined by the process, only the content of the mode chosen. So, woke up this morning and my process led project must have been talking this through with my unconscious as the project is no longer an experimental film… I know? What the!

Putting this into context, I was trying to fit the characters into a linear timeline, I had been struggling on this for a week or two, how to transition from one to the next. I had started thinking about the edit and how this would, or could work. But now I’ve realised, that the characters can’t be on the same screen.

So, what I now have is an audio-visual INSTALLATION.

You might ask, “what’s the difference between an experimental film and an installation?”… and all I can say is, (with a sigh), … so many things. Yep they are so different.

I was chuffed working towards my experimental film. I was thinking about editing it, sound editing it, exporting it to a nice small movie file and then sending this piece off to experimental film festivals. That would be where the work would be viewed. It would be simple – or at least more simple than the idea I have now.

But the process has spoken. And it makes complete sense.

Whenever I make an audio-visual work, regardless of it being narrative, documentary, experimental or even installation, and regardless of the way in which it is experienced, for example on a big screen, TV, small screen or in a gallery, I create a world. And in the logic of this particular world the characters never meet. They can’t meet. They are the same person from nature, but all five have been nurtured very differently and from that nurture constructed their-self and how they represent themselves in the world. They, for a better explanation, are on parallel worlds. And for that reason the characters need to physically have their own screens. Well it makes sense to me.

Making a U-Turn is hard to do. Not only having to admit that you are heading the wrong way – but to share with everyone else as well. I mean in one way, it’s no big deal, it is my project and people will take into consideration the ups, downs and turns a creative project can have. But for myself, it seems to be more difficult this time. I mean I wanted to make a experimental film, it was – maybe is, caught up in my own identity as a ‘filmmaker’…

But I’ve had to let that go, I know this U-Turn is in the best interests of the project and that has to come first. My pride can take the back seat. Ha ha.

Let me know about your U-Turns.

Juby

What if breath was my buffer

Hi Everyone, I hope you are all well. I’m making great progress with the experimental film and creative project. Pretty happy with where I’m at. I haven’t started shooting footage, however I’m busy testing the camera and location hunting.

Today I’d like to share some prose. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling very overwhelmed and reading it over made me feel lighter – so this is for anyone out there needing to breathe.

Read a couple times through – like a mantra. For me the words ‘wish’ allowed me to think on things differently.

I wish my head was not so clouded.
I wish my thoughts were clear and light,
Like crystal water seeping through my system.
I wish I walked with ease - a slight smile on my face,
And a hum of a tune behind my lips.

My feet moved across the earth in a dance.

I wish my shoulders carried no weight, time seemed filled with possibilities and potential,
And I enjoyed filling this time with purpose.
But this purpose was not a striving, or an obligation.
This purpose was simple, carefree, easy.

Every moment had magic and I stayed in that moment, never thinking ahead or behind, never worried or concerned, just breathing in fresh, light life. 

Usually I buffer with screen-time or sleeping. I wish I could buffer with lightness.
What if light and life was what I turned to.
Image from the Hamilton Gardens, Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hope you all have a good week. Catch you next time xx.

2021 – Art in Process: Leading the Blind

If I were blind I’d rather have another blind person leading me around because they know what I’m dealing with and they’re experiencing the same things. 

Augusten Burroughs

Been a while since I wrote a post, so a bit of a catch-up needed. I started my residency at RM Gallery a couple of weeks ago. My experimental film idea is making huge leaps and bounds now that I have more time to put into it. The space itself is peaceful to work in and the city vibe outside the door keeps my interests up.

At the same time though life has been particularly stressful. Not the art making – but everything else. And I think that is why I haven’t posted a lot. I did a YouTube clip about mental health and creativity, which I will link here. This kinda sums up how I’ve been. Very up and down, and just taking one day at a time.

What I want to briefly discuss in this weeks post is ‘process-led creativity.’ The process of this particular project has led the work and is leading the work. I did not, have not, and still do not know the exact outcome, instead I’m letting the process take me into the unknown.

Every creative project is different, every creative journey unique. I usually make work where I do know the outcome, for example; I am writing a web series, or I am painting a landscape… So letting the process lead is extremely challenging. When I began I looked towards nature to find and create the structure of the work, and somehow that process led me into ‘nurture’ – as in nurture vs nature, which I would have never imagined. So the content and themes are much more about nurture, and if it does finish as an experimental film, the viewer may never guess that nature had a part, so my creativity around being inspired by nature to create structure is somewhat hidden.

But, if we think of buildings, foundations and footings probably aren’t the first things you think about. I’ve spent time looking at patterns in nature to be inspired to create a structure but then moved onto thinking about nurture for the content. It seems understandable, but I didn’t know this when I started.

I would say not to be afraid to take this approach, but be prepared for radical shifts to happen. You will probably have a starting point but then allow the process to lead. You will get to the end – just not one you imagined at the beginning.

It’s a bit like writing a novel without chapter planning. It’s not for everyone – but it’s a hell-of-a-ride.

Catch you next time xx