Essential To My Joy

Cat's Magic - finishJune 22nd. I’m sitting in the dining room of my new home. Windows on three sides open to the ocean of trees around us. I can see the hills and mountains across the Salish Sea, shades of blue and purple, snow on the tops of some. Clear sky and late June sun. Perfectly perfect.

I have the fan running. Noon and the air is hot already. It was officially summer this week.

Again I am writing at the camp table I mentioned in my last post. This is the last days of using camping equipment in the house. The movers are coming Saturday with the furniture, boxes and bags that were packed away in storage for the past four weeks.

Here is what I have relearned since the previous post, exactly because I was not doing it.

There are things essential to my joy.

A table and chair and quiet space with a view. Paper. Pens preferably in colours more interesting than black or navy blue. Music, soft smooth jazz, sax or piano. Coffee (iced and cream) or tea (iced please, and a lemon slice) or cold clear water in a mug.

Add to these a good book to read, a crossword puzzle book, a soft blanket for nesting and resting, and time for myself alone.

Here is my creation space. It doesn’t take much.  It’s easy to build.

This is the heart of me.

Here is a truth. Not building this space and using it daily causes me pain. I cannot ignore my need to create, my need to play in the heart of me every day. Here in this space I can breathe. I can rest. Imagine. Daydream. Write. Draw. Create. I am myself here.

I go ragged and angry when I ignore my creative self. I pay the cost, and so do those around me. I become impatient, blind, deaf. Everything is in my way, including me.

Of course everything is in my way. Of course I am blind and deaf. I’ve not opened the path to my creative heart. I am not open to life.

Drawing or writing every day, I am open. Thirty minutes given to myself. That’s all it takes. I do this, and I become patient with my life.

I do this essential thing, and I become kind to the rest of my day and the people in it (including me). The ragged anger is gone. My breath is easy in my body. I am easy in my body.

I learned this in art school, and I relearn it constantly. If I give to myself what is essential to my joy, I have space for everything else.

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On a similar note:

One of my graduating-year professors, Lisa Baldiserra, gave our class a piece of perfect advice. Make art every day, even if it’s only for five minutes. I have both used and ignored her words. This post is about using them.  Lisa is writer and artist and Senior Curator at the Contemporary Calgary gallery in Calgary, BC. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your wisdom and experience! http://www.gallerieswest.ca/blogs-and-buzz/contemporary-calgary-announces-lisa-baldissera-senior-curato/  http://www.contemporarycalgary.com/

I finished this post today, June 27th, the result of taking my own advice and building a creation space. I am sitting at my dining room table in a dining room chair. Yes, I have furniture again! My new studio is half full of boxes and bags. My writing desk, artwork table, and easel sit in pieces against the wall. It will come together, now that I am making space for myself again.

 

Creative Balance

alice
Alice and the Cheshire Cat –John Tenniel

Usually I come to my blog posts with ideas in mind.  I sit down at my studio work table, pull out pen and loose leaf paper, and begin writing.

Not today.

So, I start where I am.  I have my glass of water with a lemon slice floating in it.  I have my coffee with cream, in the white mug with Alice and the Cheshire Cat decorating the outside.  I love Alice and the Cat.  They let their imaginations run, and nothing tips either of them away from being grounded in who they know they are.   And I covet the Cat’s ability to fade away, leaving only his very toothy smile floating in the air.

My two strings of Christmas lights are on.  Does not matter that this is June and half the year away from Christmas.  Seeing them gives me joy, especially on grey days like today.  It may be officially Summer, but there is a sky full of clouds out there.  Someone forgot to shift the weather dials to ‘summer’ and ‘sun’.

My pen with the sky blue ink is in hand.  A thin stack of paper rests in front of me.  This is paper rescued from the bottom of high school lockers last June.  Unused paper abandoned by its teenage owners at the end of the school year.  Retrieved to be used for my first drafts, which are handwritten, messy, and exactly what I love.  Paper happy that its worth has been recognized.

Just now, I realize why I am empty of ideas.  I spent my week creating two workshop proposals and a coaching proposal.  I am written out.  My creative heart and mind have run full speed for five days.  It is time to rest.

Time to let my weekend be a weekend in the original sense of the word.  There is no 24/7 for me.  I am 5/2.

Five days of building and sending out my creations into the world.  Two days of my creative self receiving in.

Reading.  Reading some more.  Doing crossword puzzles.  Colouring in my colouring books (I have several).  Talking and playing with family and friends.  Walking.  Cooking and savouring the meals I and others have created.  Sitting on the front deck, listening to the birds and the wind.  Watching the clouds pass overhead.  Breathing in the green smell of the next-door neighbour’s newly cut grass.

This is balance in my life.  Giving.  Receiving.

Come Monday, my creative well will be full again.  Ideas and Inspiration will whisper to me, ‘Let’s try this, and this.  Let’s play!’

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In this post:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel, first published in 1865.  You can find images of all his illustrations for this book at http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/