Calling Inspiration

banffwall.13.blog
Cat’s World–come and play!

Where do ideas come from?

I’m reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Just past halfway through. I love this book. A conversation about creativity and creating and living a creative life. There are parts of this book I wish I had written. I didn’t because they did not come to me. I am glad they came to Elizabeth, and glad she has shared them.

Elizabeth says let yourself live a creative life. She gives you permission, if you need it, on page 90. What she is really saying—you do not need anyone’s permission. Just create a life for yourself out of what you love.

How do you make a creative life?

You let inspiration and ideas in.

And where do ideas and inspiration come from?

Elizabeth’s ideas visit and stay if she is ready and available. Inspiration, looking for a partner who is ready to play. If she isn’t ready or available, inspiration moves on to someone else. So, not really her ideas. Rather, ideas and inspiration moving in the air around her, around all of us, all the time.

Natalie Goldberg says the same thing in a different way. Inspiration and capability as the water table below the surface of the earth. It’s always there and we tap into it through our effort and action.

Julia Cameron talks of dropping down the well when she is engaged in listening through writing. Moving below normal consciousness into the stream of ideas that live below the surface and flow through all of us. Alternatively, Julia describes inspiration and ideas as radio waves, always being broadcast on all frequencies.

This is where my ideas come from. Inspiration Radio. I can tune in any time. It is always broadcasting. 24/7, as my son describes it.

I love this. Ideas and inspiration are always available to all of us. Always flowing, always moving around and beneath us.

How do we connect with this flow?

Elizabeth’s words: ready and available.

Natalie’s words: effort and action.

Julia’s words: engaged in listening through writing.

Action. We connect through our action. I am writing and drawing, and my action is an invitation to inspiration to connect with me. I am open, ready, available, tapped in, listening. I am saying, come and play with me.

I am not waiting for inspiration to show up first, and then acting on it. I am acting first, and this opens a space for the ideas to come in.

There is something else going on as well.

When I am writing and drawing, I am fully present. I’m not in my mind, thinking over yesterday or planning tomorrow. I am right here, right now, with the words and lines and colours. With the feel of the pen and the pastel in my hand, and the sound they make as I move them across the paper. I am in my senses and my body, and in my heart too, because I am doing what I love.

I am sure that love is an equal part of this. I’d much rather spend time with someone who loves me, and I will bet that Ideas and Inspiration feel the same way.

There is another piece, before the action and the listening and the loving.

Give yourself big permission. Elizabeth says we don’t need anyone else’s permission to create. Absolutely totally true. We don’t. But most of us need to give ourselves permission.

Give ourselves big permission to play. To waste time and materials. To make ugly art and bad writing and sing out of tune. Give ourselves big permission to hear the crazy idea and the huge inspiration, and big permission to say this is mine and I know we can create this. And then do it.

Ideas and inspiration are always here for us. Learning how to connect with them, partner them, play together and create something from what looks like nothing–this is the magic. And we are all magicians. A creative life is ours for the making.

Say it out loud and with love.

I am a creator. I am a magician.

Inspiration is listening, and she knows an invitation when she hears one.

_______________________

In this post, books full of inspiration and ideas (and don’t just read about creativity, do creativity—it’s actually a verb, not a noun.):

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, Riverhead Books, 2015   http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones, Shambhala, 1986 and 2005, and Wild Mind, Bantam Books, 1990   http://nataliegoldberg.com/

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Tarcher/Putnam, 1992 and 2002, and Walking In This World, Tarcher/Putnam, 2002, and Finding Water, Tarcher/Putnam, 2006   http://juliacameronlive.com/

Falling Down, Getting Up, Part 2

tigger.totoro.crop
Totoro and Tigger–Go Play!

So, what happened after my tantrum last Thursday?

The tantrum continued. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Then, Monday afternoon, for no apparent reason, it faded away.

I can feel echoes of it today. A ghost in the background. My desire to write and create is stronger. I sit down at my studio table and begin. The ghost vanishes. Gone.

As I write these words, I have not figured out what pushed me into this cranky, unwilling mood last week, or why it hung on through Monday. My mind longs to have this figured out so it can prevent it from happening again. My mind has judged this full-on-tantrum mode as something bad. Especially since I felt really uncomfortable when I was in the middle of it.

My mind is doing its job, trying to understand so it can protect me from what hurts.

Except, I need to feel everything, even when it feels bad. My heart knows that feelings are information. They might be painful, but they are not bad. The feelings tell me something if I pay attention, open my heart, and listen.

I need to do this right now. Ask about last week, listen with my heart. What do I hear?

I am trying to push the river.

That might sound odd, but I know exactly what it means.

I’ve been stepping outside of my natural flow. I’ve been pushing myself too hard, and not playing enough.

Ah. I get it.

I played on Saturday. I read. Did crossword puzzles. Coloured with all fifty of my Crayola felt pens. Watched a 1940’s pirate movie with my husband.

I played on Sunday too. In between three laundry loads and making dinner, I watched the movie Mary Poppins. How many times have I seen this movie? A dozen, at least. It makes me laugh. I love the songs. I love the idea that I can jump into a drawing and wander around the landscape, meet whoever lives there. I love the idea that if I laugh hard enough, I’ll float up to the ceiling, turn somersaults in the air if I wish.

Play. Imagination. Laughter.

Magic, all.

I pushed myself, pushed the river so hard, that I left play and imagination and laughter behind. Left my magic behind.

Bad idea.

Which resulted in the five day tantrum. Resistant. Unwilling. Grouchy.

I played on Saturday and Sunday, despite the tantrum.  Good idea.  Which resulted in the tantrum fading away on Monday.

Thank you, my heart, for feeling and talking with me. Thank you, tantrum, for yelling at me to stop and notice what is happening. Thank you, my mind, for trying to understand and protect me from what felt painful.

I have my magic back. It never really left me. It just felt like it, because I had forgotten to play.

_______________________

In this post:

Mary Poppins, movie, Walt Disney Productions, 1964, based on the book of the same name by P. L. Travers   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Poppins_(film)

Falling Down, Getting Up

I dreamed for my children.detail

I’m in resistance mode today. Unwilling. Grouchy. I am a two-year-old in tantrum. Don’t wanna.

What don’t I want to do? Anything that my mind decides feels like work, like writing this blog post, paying the bills due today, doing up the grocery list for tomorrow’s shopping. Don’t wanna, my mind keeps saying.

What do I want to do? Lay on the couch and read all afternoon. I am on page 221 of The Peripheral by William Gibson. Bought it during Christmas holidays and started reading it this week. Yes, it’s GOOD, and that’s why I want to read all afternoon. Find out what happens next—the hallmark of a well-written book. Thank you for sharing this, William.

So what am I going to do about all this ‘don’t wanna’?

I am bribing myself. I have a big mug of cocoa at my side, one of my last candy canes melted into it. I have music on, a combination of melody and the sound of ocean waves running against a rocky beach. I have my Minions standing guard atop the unruly pile of papers on my work table. Kevin with his banana and black English bowler hat. Stuart in his blue vampire cape, showing off his spikey teeth. They make me laugh. And they are cheering me on.

Bribery and a cheering section. This works.

So I sit myself at my studio work table. Pick up my purple BIC pen. Lay in front of me a stack of loose leaf paper. I have a blog post to create. What do I write?

I start here, where I am. Unwilling. Crabby. Bad mood. Resisting everything. And I write exactly this. How I feel. Struggling to not struggle.

I learned this from both Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron. Begin where I am. Become present to my life just as it is in this moment, bad mood and all, says Natalie.

Accept it, and write anyways. Place my tantrum on the page, put the drama where it belongs, says Julia.

The page accepts everything. Holds it for me so I don’t have to. Tells me it is alright and I am alright. The mood I am in will shift and change and fade to something else. Let it. I know it fades quicker when I let myself create.

Am I feeling better? Yes. Is the ‘don’t wanna’ still hanging around? Yes, but not as loud. I’ll get through and past this tantrum.

Sitting here writing, I suddenly know why I am grouchy. Yesterday I wrote for four-plus hours, material for a creativity course I am teaching in the Fall. Felt awesome while I was deep in creation. Excited, inspired, energized. Ideas and words flowing. Unstoppable.

And now today, the water level in my creative well is low. Almost drained. I need to refill it. Julia taught me to understand this, too.

I know what to do. Play. Lay on the couch and read William’s book. Do a crossword puzzle or two with my pink BIC pen. Colour in my new colouring book with my set of fifty Crayola felt pens scattered across the table top. Watch one of the animated movies I have collected, and laugh. Marvel at the collective imagination of those who created the movie characters and the story. Laugh more.

And then love myself. Love and celebrate what I created yesterday. Love and celebrate what I create today. Just love myself, resistance and bad mood and writer and artist and all.

I am who I am in each moment. Love this, and allow, and accept. Create from exactly where I am, especially if it requires some bribery to get to the studio and pick up my pen.

Love my unwillingness. It gives me a place to begin today. It gives me a blog post to write and share. It reminds me to love myself, whatever is happening.

Just love myself.

________________________________

In this post:

The Peripheral by William Gibson, Berkley Books, NY, 2015, www.williamgibsonbooks.com/

Natalie Goldberg, http://nataliegoldberg.com/

Julia Cameron, http://juliacameronlive.com/

Voice

Coyote Calls to the Protectors (war dress)
Coyote Calls to the Protectors (war dress)

This is my voice–imagination, experience, emotion, and action becoming colour and mark and word. Energy into tangible object. Magic.

I am here before you, offering my heart, spirit, mind, and body as one, shaped into the marks on this page, paper, screen. Touch my drawing, touch my writing, and you touch me.

Here is the process of my seeing, the tracing of my thoughts. A conversation begun and passed to you. Here is my voice reaching to hear yours. Will you answer?

This is who I am. The translation of love into creativity.

This is who I am. Artist. Writer. Creator. Magician.

Let me hear your voice. Let the world hear your voice, the unique creative force that you are. A silent voice is no voice at all. A silent voice is a loss to all the world. Speak, draw, act, dance, write, compose, play, sing. Imagine. Create.

Show me who you are. Show the world who you are.

Talk with me.

________________________________

The Cheshire Cat talks to me.

Crowgirl, it names me.

Artist, it says.

Ghosts and magic drip from your fingers,

pulled from the pages of your heart.

Crowgirl words, the only language.

Use them if you dare.

Incantations

speaking to that which is not there,

rubbing away all

except the smile.

________________________

Happy Birthday, Lyle!  I Love You. xo