I really wanted to write a post before Valentine's Day speaking to our deep need for self-love, appreciation and compassion. I thought about it a lot, had good intentions, but it never got written. What happened? My impulse to "create" just wasn't strong enough to make it a reality and then Valentine's Day passed and the urgency diminished. I still feel self kindness and compassion is important in our lives and another day I will complete a post on this. I promise.
What caught my attention in this writing process, however, was investigating the "impulse to create". What spurs me to manifest an idea, write a post, create a knitted piece or wonderful meal? I am witnessing Mother Nature here in Albuquerque beginning to surge with new growth - the rose leaves are starting to unfurl, the bulbs are swelling and sprouting leaves and the mustard plants (weeds) are soaking up the longer sunlight and proliferating everywhere! What combination of events is needed for the earth to launch full blown into spring creation? Certainly a combination of light, heat, temperature, and other rhythms unknown to me form a deep complexity of "intention to mobilize". So how do I sense that creative mobilization in myself?
My creative process is something like this: An image, idea, or feeling will flit through my consciousness a number of times. Then it seems to take hold and repeat itself more frequently. Then I get curious and chew on it a bit, then somehow it begins to flesh out. Perhaps a photo or article will fill in some of the gaps. Then, there is a "wanting" to take action, see my idea or project come into physical form. I get more excited about it and then I take the first steps, like making an outline, or jotting down some thoughts. And today, I am writing this post.
Am I at the whim of the creative flow? Can I make it happen on a timeline? I am often inspired by artists. My son will be graduating with his Bachelor's in Fine Art from an art school this May. He HAS to be creative! On a schedule, with deadlines and grades! How does he do that? (To see his work visit www.shakyhandspress.com). Another favorite local artist of mine, Diana Stetson (printmaker, calligrapher, painter extraordinaire - see her amazing work at www.DianaStetson.com) has been churning out incredible work for years. That can't be easy! (Click on the respective websites to see the talented work of these two artists).
What I have witnessed with artists, that is also applicable to a mindfulness practice, is creating space. Artists have studios, they lay out their tools, they have a workspace that provides an energy and an intention to create. And they show up in this space whether they feel creative or not! Sometimes creativity blossoms and many times it does not. But they show up regardless. And then something happens. Maybe it's not good art, maybe it is. And maybe it's a springboard to something bigger.
The important part about a mindfulness practice is the same....showing up. It works best when we have a space and the tools to practice - a room, a chair, a cushion, a consistent time, and the tools of following our breath or focusing on our body. Sometimes our practice feels scattered, our minds adrift with worry or work. And sometimes, we are graced by landing into a zone that one of my mindfulness students, Dave, deliciously described as "sinking deeply into myself". This experience comes with practice, with creating a space to show up and sitting with the intention to be aware of this moment, whether we feel like it or not.
I invite all of us to create our space and to show up. Today, tomorrow and everyday. We can create a momentum that will mold our neurons into new patterns for lasting change and beauty. How about that?!