The Artist’s Way: Week 6

Check in: Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. However on one morning I wrote 2 pages… My creative writing, or thoughts about projects usually start to arise about 1.5 pages in each morning – before that it is all minor fears and gripes, fretting over all the nothings in life. I get that out of the way and then creativity starts to intrude. (Which is lovely)

I did my artist’s date this week. I took myself out to a second-hand book shop, that also sells amazing coffee, and sat and read. I ended up purchasing an art book on the life and work of painter Henri Matisse. Beautiful book and reading through it taught me a lot about process and dedication. It felt good to finally put some time into myself.

Again, I haven’t experienced synchronicity, but I’m not out and about doing things or having social interaction. It’s ‘lock-down’ and being in the world is a very different experience right now. I’m OK with this as my creative output has increased and I’m loving where these new ideas are going.

Reflection

Week 6 is difficult. Not gonna lie. This entire journey through ‘The Artist’s Way’ has been very up and down for me, but this week those peaks and valleys have hit a new level. With understanding why I’ve been blocked brings a sense of anger, and resentment at myself for not seeing what was right in front of me – ME.

On the other side – finally synchronicity is beginning to flow and some things are happening – all because of this course (will discuss this in next weeks blog), but very excited for it. I’m starting to find a freshness to my ideas, a curiosity and excitement I just haven’t had for SOOOO long. But with this is fear, seeing that is a good start – I know – but I also know there is some hard work to do.

Spent an evening listening to old vinyl and playing with plasticine

Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week 4 & 5

I didn’t write last week – life kind of took over and I just didn’t get to it. However, I’m now well into this course of Julia Cameron’s, so will give you the latest update.

Check in: Week 3: Recovering a sense of Power

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 morning pages. However, 2 morning I only wrote 2 pages as I was sick. The morning pages have become integral to my morning. They have become meaningful and creative. I am so grateful for starting this course and finding how incredible morning pages are.
  • Being unwell affected my week. I had planed out the artist’s date for Saturday, however woke up in excruciating pain and ending up in bed for the day.
  • I did not experience synchronicity this week but I am seeing myself and how my past has influenced how I engage with people and how I engage with creativity. A couple of things happened this week to open my eyes to this – so I guess a type of synchronicity.
  • What I have mainly learned from this week is to get out of bad habits and replace them with ones that serve me and my creativity.

Check in: Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 pages. Some of the mornings toward the end of the week became difficult – starting to feel a little scratchy.
  • I did not do my artist’s date. So haven’t been great at this exercise. Not sure why I’m finding this so challenging but will endeavour to do better.
  • Not feeling synchronicity – except in my creative writing.
  • Overall, I’m being a lot more creative. I didn’t realise how blocked I have become. The non-reading challenge has been so, so, tough and I have realised just how much time I waste on stupid stuff that is filling my brain with clutter. It’s like a dumping ground – no wonder I can’t create.

Reflection

The last couple of weeks have been very up and down. I’m absolutely creating more, but also feel at odds with myself a lot. I think it’s because I’m learning much more about how I operate, and how I create. I’ve put a lot of obstacles in my way and it has been tough to see some of them. But other times, I’m having more fun, I seem a bit lighter with myself, maybe more curious. So all in all, it is very challenging but very worth it.

Catch you next time xx.

31 July Blog

This is my last daily blog. I have missed a few days through the month, but I’m still pretty happy with my accomplishment. So instead of writing 800-1200 words once a week, I wrote just a small amount everyday during July.

It was a challenge, and more difficult than I first thought it would be. But I think challenges, whether they work out or not, are a great way to re-focus or refine what we are trying to do.

Over July I kept thinking – why am I blogging? What am I blogging for? I think because it was everyday it pushed me to hone in on the reason for starting this, and if I should keep going.

I started Kick last year, in October, as I wanted to inspire creativity, and also reflect on my own processes and thoughts when creating. My angle was to inspire the process of creativity over any product or outcome. And I’m still so passionate about this.

However, I think some of my blogs have got a bit off track – so I do need to re-focus and this challenge has taught me to stick to my initial reason for starting this.

So this is it. A little bit everyday for a month. Done.

Catch you next time.

30 July Blog

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle a lot lately and enjoying his discussions on being in the ‘Now’. To understand his idea of ego, I read this blog and it helped me a lot. It is not his blog, just a definition I found online.

I’ve been trying to stay present, and sometimes I can remain in the present, (on and off), for a time. But it is difficult, not something that is natural (yet), but I guess with more practice the discipline will become easier.

If I concentrate on my senses, it helps, and I’ve noticed I’m enjoying little moments a lot more, like; birds singing, sky, plant life, the warmth of sun through the window, texture of food – just moments. I was listening to a youtube video of Eckhart’s and he discusses his definition of gratitude – which I found so lovely. It is about 55mins along the timeline, so if you just want to hear that skip to that point. However, the whole video is worth a listen.

That’s all I want to say today. My month of blogging is almost over. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 25 Blog

Saturday falls lightly into place. My footsteps,
feel youthful. I breathe easy. 
In the distance a bird cleans its wings in the angled light.

Saturday has potential. It is spacious. Thoughts can be moved about
at an easy pace. 
The breeze curiously enters the house.

Saturday reigns supreme. Golden amongst the others. 
Clouds drift, the sea changes from green to blue.
Somewhere a dog barks.

Couldn’t post yesterday. However, today is Saturday and I have a day off. It’s been a busy week back at work and I’m already feeling the grind. I just finished planning a birthday card I want to paint tomorrow – so I will show you how that goes, also, on Tuesday night I start my drawing class. Really excited to get back into some formal art training.

That’s it for today – hope you are all well. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 19 Blog

I set myself a challenge today. I often walk along Cornwallis Beach, and post pics, like yesterdays post, and while the photos are lovely, they are always vistas. So, I decided to take more detailed micro photography and show my walk in 10 images.

I had to take more than 10 to get enough to edit into something interesting. It was really fun to notice the detail around me. You should try it.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 10 Blog

We have arrived back home from our break. I loved time away to reflect, but I also love home. Being outside of the usual routines, away from personal items and responsibilities has allowed me to have the space I wouldn’t usually have.

While away, I’ve been sketching, or doodling and I forgot how much I enjoy this form of creating. For absolutely no other reason than creating. I’ll share a couple of sketches with you here.

Even though I’ve written about creating for its own sake, I maybe, haven’t been doing it myself. So this was the perfect opportunity to put this to practice.

Hopefully I can keep this up. Catch you tomorrow xx.

Review, Reflect, Refocus

This blog is about revisiting my New Year Resolutions for 2020, taking stock, re-planning and re-focusing. Yep the year hasn’t turned out as planed but there’s only one way out of it – and that’s into it.

Reflecting on my goals I can see that some of them are now out of my control and cannot be achieved. However, there are still several I can accomplish if I refocus and put energy and time into them.

To begin with, looking at all my goals and plans for 2020 was a little bit of a downer.

My daughter and I were planning a trip to Greece and I had other adventures planned, also the interactive-experimental documentary, At The Horizon, which I have mentioned changed. Because of New Zealand’s lock-down the gallery that was to host the exhibition had to push a lot of the projects back to 2021. I wrote about this creative project in Process: A mixture of creativity and chaos – Part 1.

I’m blessed, I haven’t lost my job and I have my health and family, so these aren’t major issues. But I feel like the beginning of June is a perfect time to review, reflect and refocus.

So where to go from here?

I can’t push all projects or goals back. Some are just no longer practical in this changed world. Yes, they may happen, in a year or two, but for my own mental health and creativity I need to focus on now, on today.

In my New Year Resolutions 2020 post, I categorised all my goals; personal, health, creative, and work.

So, in review: two goals in my personal category can no longer happen, the health goals haven’t changed, and the creative goals and work goals need to be realigned

In reflection, and being honest with myself, my six personal goals were probably a few too many anyway. As stated, two can no longer happen and one has been removed, so now I have just three to focus on. The health goals haven’t changed, one of them I have maintained throughout this year, but the other has not happened at all, so I need to focus on this. I had five creative goals, one has been ticked off, YES!!!!! One I’m going to let go, which leaves three. The two work goals will still happen, but I need to develop new timelines for them.

Also, in reflection, I simply can’t ignore what is happening around the world. I’m not an island in space, I am connected to my world. I have to be honest; my mood, positivity and energy have changed. I’ve needed more time out, more rest, more down time.

So that’s they lay of the land, now I have to refocus, while giving myself a bit more time.

Years ago, my partner and I bought a property that needed a lot of work. We were both taken with how cute the house was and could see all the potential.  Some of the issues were dealt with straight away, and some were left for, “when we could get to them”… After a few years, everything began to bug me, I started to see all the flaws and it was overwhelming Then after talking with someone I realised that the house hadn’t changed, it was just how I was thinking about it. Seems cliché but that is exactly what happened, I remembered why we had bought it, my attitude changed, and I actually started doing things on the house again.

Refocusing can be tricky. But there is a reason why you do the things you do, a reason why you create in the way that you do.

You love it.

Yes, you get frustrated, you don’t have the time, you feel depleted before you begin, but you still love it. And just settling on that for a while can assist to grow motivation. I try to remember moments that I’m in the flow, times when my creativity takes over, or seeing someone impacting by work I’ve done. That is often enough to get me going again.

But that is not all it is. It can’t just be daydreaming about the good times. It is also the work. Refocusing means recommitting to the work ahead. Making timelines, breaking goals down, writing lists, putting deadlines in the calendar. You know, all the hard stuff.

I’m not going to leave it too long before a reflect again. I think I need to do this more regularly.

Well that’s it from me. Catch you next week xx.

To Choose, or not to Choose

Even though they sit in the same word family there are some differences about the words choose and choices –

Choices: is to have options

Choose: is to make a decision, it is an action word

Here are some synonyms of the word choose: select, pick, take, indicate, elect, cherry-pick, decide, all good words, all words of ‘action’.  (I especially like ‘cherry-pick’). So why is it, that with so many choices we often give up our privilege to choose.

This time last year I chose to visit my brother and his family in Australia. Great decision on my part.

With this new framework of staying at home due to covid-19, our choices have become more limited and within that I’ve began to realise the varied choices that ‘were’ available to me and reflect on why I didn’t choose to take up some of those opportunities.

When given a multitude of choices it is easier not to choose. In that way every choice is still possible, or that is what you are telling yourself. Yes, sometimes you do need to keep yourself open, but what if you do that too much, what if some doors you don’t go through because you’re always expecting a better choice to turn up, or you’re scared that going through one will rule out another.

Recently I was approached to be part of a creative collaboration. I jumped at the chance and for a time spent my creative energy on the project. I found time, I became excited by the work and once it was finished, I realised that I had not been choosing my own project. The one that means something to me, the one that I’ve been working on for a few years.

Was it because I was no longer excited by the work, or was it because I wasn’t choosing it?

The short burst of work I engaged in collaboration reminded me that I love the creative process. So, the following week, I choose to work on my project, and I’ve been actively involved ever since. My renewed decision sparked my energy and I now look forward to each time I spend on it.

So, what was happening. Over time opportunities, or things you think you want to do accumulate. Not only important things, but the small fun stuff too, the catchups with friends, the drive to a particular beach, the activity you’ve put off all summer. All the things you want to do become this long list, and how do you divide your time up between them. Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe having too many choices is actually the problem.

With time being spent at home over the last six weeks, I’ve been reminded that I don’t need a lot of things and choices cluttering up my day, week or month. Actually, less is better.

Love this quote from poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

We may be told that we can have it all, and do it all – but really, if you think about it, that’s not true, and why would you want that anyway? Your one wild precious life – keep that in your head and heart when you are making your decisions, or when you are full of indecision and fear. Life is so short, it is wild, precious, beautiful – don’t spend it on things you’re not that into, or feel obligated to do, don’t fill it with worry, that is not worth your time.

Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less states:

When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices – or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender out power to choose.

I think we also surrender our power to choose when we have too many choices. All the choices may hold interest, may be meaningful, but because you can’t have it all or do it all – YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE.

When you are walking and you put your left leg out, then your right leg out – do you ever ask yourself if you started walking on the wrong leg? No, well I don’t? So why think about choice as wrong or right, it is a step, and you need movement to get where you want to go. If you don’t know where that is, start moving and maybe you will end up where you don’t want to be and then at least you can decide where to go from there.

But if you’re not moving?? Well you know that answer.

Make choices, make decisions, move, find out, discovery what is and what isn’t for you. Don’t let too many options stall your movement – keep discovering how you want to live your one wild precious life.

Catch you next week xx

Self Mending

Over the Easter break, and due to our current lockdown situation, I decided to do some mending. I’ve been working in a stressful situation since lockdown began, so I desperately needed to take some time out and get my mind off work, and the situation the world is in.

I had bought a cardigan a couple of months ago from an op shop that had quite a few holes in it. I know, seems strange to buy something like this, but I just kind of fell in love with this old thing, and I knew it was just going to end up in landfill if I didn’t intervene. 

So, I brought it home, and have tried wearing it and just being OK with the holes, but it wasn’t really my thing, so I decided this weekend to patch it. 

I’m definitely not a knitter. But it was the only way I could see to patch up this garment. So first I knitted two elbow patches, this worked well. Took me all day – and any knitter reading this will probably laugh, as really, they are quite small. It would have been nice to shape them into ovals, but all I could do was a rectangle. 

Then I needed to patch the pockets but had to use bits of wool I had, so I made two large striped patches for these. 

Anyway, the whole time knitting, I got to thinking about mending. How often we need mending and what we do to patch things up. When I first decided to patch the cardigan, I thought about purchasing wool that was the exact same colour, so the patches would not be noticeable. I actually went into a wool shop and was going to bring the cardigan in with me, however the shutdown started, so I decided to use what I had left over from a couple of plain scarfs and some Peggy-squares I’d made into a cushion.

But like I mentioned, over this time sitting at the window and mending this cardigan, I started to think about all the mending that needs done in my own life. When things are difficult, I often hide it, or cover it up so no one can notice how I’m feeling. And now, staring at these coloured patches on my cardigan I wondered what would happen if we allowed ourselves to be patched, and we allowed our broken parts to be seen.

How many times have you hidden what is broken, thinking that if people see you in this state you are somehow lesser, or weaker?

I know from experience, that certain things that happen in life never go away. There is no ‘getting over it’. No way to fix it. It stays with you. So, what I do is try to live with it, and maybe when I’m out and about, at work or social events, I cover it up. Hide certain parts that I don’t want people to see. Thinking if they see damage, they won’t think of me in the same way. 

At the moment, with the world in turmoil, my moods have certainly been up and down. At times I spend time on creative projects, but I am also spending a lot of time lying on my bed and thinking about the world, and people’s lives. Some old hurts are also surfacing. Fears, and worries take over pretty quickly if I’m not careful. I mean, things are difficult right now, there is no easy way out of this. 

So, in this time, can I mend? Can I be brave enough to turn towards some parts of myself and see that they need a patch. And yes, it might be a big bright one, noticeable, but in the long run, more durable, sustainable. 

I don’t know how to actually go about mending. Maybe the first thing is to be honest. If you struggle with mental health, talk about it, on a level that is every day. I think that I want to be braver in this way, I want to include all of myself rather than pretend I’m able to do everything or feel a certain way. Some things will never go away, but instead of hiding them maybe it is possible to make those broken bits visible, and in time OK. 

Below is a small list of quotes I found online from artists and writers that obviously know who they are, fully, and are not afraid to show their broken bits in their creative outlet. 

Catch you next week. xx