“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”
~ Ernest Hemingway
I absorbed so much from my time and travels in Italy but nothing more precious perhaps than the value of the journey itself…the rich reward of being present…mind, body and soul….in the moment.
I talk a lot about this in my online courses. Enjoying the actual painting process as compared to focusing on the end product yields two totally different experiences. Can you guess which one I prefer?
It has taken me…cough, cough…YEARS to finally understand that my feel good moments, my peace, the sheer JOY of life is hanging out in those actual painting moments. They are NOT lurking about at some perceived glorious moment when the painting is finished and being fawned over by the most important art critic/gallery owner/art competition on the planet.
Nope, the real substance, the real ‘food’, resides within the actual painting time itself. Also known as the present moment 😉
I had so much pleasure in painting this Tuscan scene.
The painting was left behind.
The experience was not.
The pleasure is in the moment, in the painting, in the journey.
Thank you Hemingway 🙂
Enjoy the journey.
Feeling a bit spent? Maybe put off when it comes to walking away from your creative stuff for a break?
I know the feeling and have some thoughts on this that might just be what you need to hear 😉
For starters, with a ‘regular job’, it’s usually clearly defined how much time a year one has to unplug.
It’s simple. 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months—whatever it is, there are definite parameters to plan one’s time away.
This will not be news to you. There is though a hidden something that comes with time off from a ‘regular job’. Something that escapes most of us doing creative work on our own time.
It is this…Vacation/time off equals guilt free time away from our work. Someone else has mandated the what, where, when…the ‘how long’ of it!
It is absent of fear of loss (if I’m not working will I be replaced, forgotten? Will I lose my creative mojo? Am I losing my creative mojo??)
For artists, writers, anyone doing creative work at any time, there is a fear that lurks below the surface of time off, time away…that great beyond of non-creative time.
We fear what it means, what it might be leading too, where it might end.
We concern over coming to a complete stop…we are wary that we may never arise again.
Taking a break makes us uncomfortable in our own skin. Even though we may be drowning in a sea of non-inspiration, just stopping seems like the worst thing to do!
Logically we understand that creativity needs to be fed. It can’t endlessly produce without having space to replenish. This is somehow relatable in the ‘real job’ world, but seems all wrong when it comes to our creativity.
Sometimes it’s hard to discern between a challenge and a need for down time. Sometimes we are avoiding our work out of fear of failure (which is another topic for another day) but sometimes we have overlooked the fact that we need FED!
We need deep breaths and no agendas and time to absorb and ponder what ifs.
We need space.
We need to not do for awhile so that when we DO show up we are thinking clear.
It is at this point that I find my inner self stirring itself with a knowing. An understanding that there is a defined road for our lives. A new one, built in every moment, just for you, just for me.
It takes a bit (or a lot) of faith to believe and trust in this part.
That we are hardwired to stop and BE.
To do some stuff that has nothing to do with ‘being creative’. Maybe even the chop wood/carry water variety of stuff.
How much time do we allow ourselves to step away from our ‘job’? Who decides what is enough?
In our innermost being the truth rings out to us from every corner, every turn in the path but it seems at odds with what we have come to believe about how this life works.
We were made to walk, to rest, to take time away.
There is replenishment and inspiration in the non-doing.
If you’re feeling like you need time away from your creative work, it’s okay to give in. In the letting go is where we are restored.
I have a penchant for journals, I can’t deny it 🙂
Particularly those filled with handmade paper and bound in ‘soft as butter’ leather.
It may be because reading has always been a love of mine and I dream of what can find voice in these empty ‘books’. They are THE book that has yet to be written. Holding more possibility, adventure and mystery than the books that now exist!
I have often wondered why we buy beautiful journals but often end up never using them (tell the truth, you know you have a ‘good’ one stuck back, saving it for…what?!). Why that when it comes time to write, we opt for a ninety-nine cent notebook.
Could it be that we aren’t sure if our thoughts are worthy of being captured in a thing so lovely? That our thoughts, our ways of being in the world, are neither profound nor remarkable?
I suspect that the reason we do allow ourselves to get a magnificent little journal from time to time is this…we are hopeful that one day we’ll have some rich, page worthy thoughts.
But..and this is a big but…we decide that until that time arrives we will not fill it with our mundane, ordinary, run of the mill life.
Beautiful truths and wisdoms are within the folds of our regular days.
Hiding in plain sight, in ordinary-run-of-the-mill moments.
The secret is the allowing of your natural self, your nature—to be expressed as it is. What and who we are is to be honored by us at every turn of the path.
Every twisting and turning are intricate parts that complete this beautiful life mystery.
This truth is evident for all forms of creativity.
Don’t ‘save’ the dress, the canvas, the vintage dinnerware or the handmade journal.
Use them each day to fully express that day of living.
Profoundness, truth and beauty come through living our ordinary lives.
Which closer inspection reveals are anything but ordinary 🙂
Write (and paint) your life.
“Normal day, Let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may.”
~Mary Jean Irion
And now a big thank you is in order!
(Note: If you enjoy quote stuff like I do you can find the above ‘normal day’ quote at Sugarboo and Co!)
Stillness and Creativity:
You Need the One to Get to the Other
“Creativity flourishes in solitude.
With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.”
It is only in the moments we attempt to still the mind that one becomes aware of the frantic pace with which it is moving. Repetitive thinking, worries, and to do lists expanding. Taking up every square inch of real estate in the head, 24/7, 365 days of the year.
It actually becomes quite the arduous task to “drop” the busy and enter into stillness. Bringing the mind to a place of stillness seems to verge on the impossible and yet we know…
Stillness and creativity are partners in our creative process.
The one definitely leading to the other.
Problem is, there’s this crazy little thing called time…
and we tell ourselves that with all the stuff we HAVE to do, there simply isn’t time.
No time to do that “get quiet” and “be still” stuff. Which of course is perhaps THE biggest lie we tell ourselves in the course of our art lives. And you KNOW we tell ourselves many. Those lies of no talent, too old, too young, no education, wrong education, too rich, too poor, no support, too much pressure to perform.
We say it loud and long. Long enough until the habit of living life devoid of time spent in stillness seems normal, in a really not fun way.
We live in this place of busy mind, no stillness, and our North star starts to dim. Everything seems demanding and important. The more lost we become, the louder the drum of beat of no time, no time, can seem!
Hear me now—the “not enough time part” is a lie!
Here’s what really takes precious time that you don’t have:
- stressing to meet deadlines only to realize later, it didn’t really matter
- delaying making choices because of indecision, not knowing
- running in circles
- wondering about your self-worth
- feeling creatively blocked
Making/taking time for stillness, even 10 minutes a day, tends to:
- clear the thinking mind
- set our priorities in order
- open doors of creativity and peace
In stillness, we find ourselves beginning to listen.
And as Eckart Tolle so eloquently put it, stillness speaks.
It speaks of truth. It speaks of things the chaotic mind has no awareness of. Out of that stillness comes your clarity, your knowing, and your inspiration.
Clarity which beams the light of wisdom onto what our life is about.
The knowing of which road to take, what truly needs us and what truly will never matter.
And ahh…that breath of inspiration! For those of us so desirous of plunging into deep waters of creation, it becomes a surety that this is our calling. The words to write, the thing to paint, the song to sing.
Stillness and your creativity are fellow sojourners. Introduce them to each other once again and take delight in what appears!
“Let stillness direct your words and actions.” ~ Eckart Tolle
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