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

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

2021 Art in Process: Having Faith

What is it to have faith? Faith is about believing in something you can’t prove. I can’t prove that when I start a creative project I’m going to see it through, that I’m going to create something I’m proud of, or that I’m going to have success.

When a writer starts a novel, when a musician starts a song, when a sculptor starts a new project there is no way of knowing what the results will be. But they start anyway.

Yep. It’s frightening even terrifying at times and without faith in the process creatives may not make a start at all.

When I started to prepare for my upcoming residency at RM Gallery I only had a vague idea of a starting point – no idea how the process would go let alone the outcome. And it is nerve racking, part of me is constantly criticising the process and sabotaging my faith in my ability. And, that’s absolutely normal.

Creativity isn’t always easy, and it’s not always fun. I love being a creative but sometimes it’s just bloody hard work, and most of that is inner-work for me, combatting fears and overcoming my own insecurities. But, with all that I have faith in the process.

Faith isn’t completely blind. This is where we need to remember the things we have done before. Even though they may not be the same, the process may differ, the creative project may be completely different, we have accomplished things before. We’ve done stuff!! When in doubt try to take your mind back and remember that thing you did… at the time you also didn’t think you could do it, or didn’t know how your were going to do it – but you did it! You did that thing! Whatever it was, you did it! So faith in the process is not completely blind.

Below is a recent Vlog I did, where I comment on my process and admit that I don’t know exactly where this project is taking me – but that’s OK, as I believe in the process.

Remember to keep going. Have faith. You can do it.

Catch you next time xx

2021 Art in Process: Is it too late?

Is it too late? Am I too old? Am I too young? Do I know enough about this topic? Do I have enough experience? Am I too jaded? What will people think? What will my family think? I can’t start something new now! How do I start? There are already so many people doing it. There’s so many talented people out there. No one would care about it. People will think it’s stupid…

And on and on it goes. You know what I’m talking about.

What the hell! Really? Stop it! How on earth can you let creativity be part of your life if you are starting on this note?

It’s not too late. Your not too young or too old. And experience comes with doing, so if you want it, you have to do it. You are your best friend, you are your own ally. Creativity isn’t for those ‘arty’ ones, it’s for everyone.

I’ve been creating stuff… songs, poetry, films for over 2 decades for myself and professionally and I still have all those insecure thoughts. I still get nervous and doubt myself, we all do, it’s not just you. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. But those people who can get past the thoughts and push through are the ones that achieve some sort of creative progress.

I went to an abstract painting class for the first time – this is not great art, it’s me making creative progress.

Thoughts really get in the way. But they’re just thoughts. Yep, just thoughts. Say it 10 times. They’re just thoughts.

Ask yourself, what is the worse thing that could happen if I take that pottery class, or learn photoshop skills online? You could find that it’s not for you, OR you could find some joy.

I’ve gone through the creative process a few times now, and if something is nerve racking I’m probably on the right path. Creativity isn’t cookie cutter, it’s part exploration part expression; it opens us up to see the world differently. It gives us confidence to fail and succeed- both as important as the other.

So don’t believe those thoughts of yours because they’re just thoughts.

Catch you next time xx.