A Practice in Presence: 28 days

creative practice art journal, Hali Karla A daily creative practice can keep us grounded within our dynamic life experiences - an anchor to our truth and what we love.

And still, like all activities, over time, we may reach a point where we notice we are simply going through the motions - bringing to it less presence as it becomes more of an unconscious habit of repetition. Before we know it, it has slipped into a much looser thing-we-do, rather than a space-we-be.

I want more from my daily rituals and how I spend my time.

I want to inhabit my daily creative practice. Listen, respond and invite it into inquiry and new explorations. Engage it as if it has breath. Dance with its spirit.

Sometimes keeping the spark alive in my daily practice looks like loosening up and getting a little wild.

Or it might look like trying on a structure, approach or technique for awhile - going through the discomfort and discovery only limitations and studies can provide.

Both ways can feel fresh and liberating if things have gotten a little stale, or if my practice has fallen down the rungs of daily priorities. Both ways can show us new perspectives and next-steps.

I get cranky, impatient and inflexible in all parts of my life when I'm not tending the relationship of my practice as one of my fundamental needs. When I notice that, I know it's time to switch it up with an intention or an assignment for myself to bring me back into presence.

Well, I had been noticing a bit of that creeping in, and that I wasn't painting as much as I like to or want to. Moving my practice back to first thing in the morning is the first step in making sure I get to it... I can still come back to it in my beloved dark hours if there's time for an evening rendezvous.

This past week, I started a new daily practice for the next 28 days to help re-align my anchor for this season.

It will be art journaling - which is nothing new - but this time it will be in my first handmade, spiral-bound journal, which contains an assortment of pages made from fodder, old paintings, calendars, books, etc. (I was inspired by Alisa Burke's recent art journals, but put my own spin on it)

handmade art journal bound with upcycled and recycled papers and art, Hali Karla

The pages already have something on them to start - images, words, scribbles, photos, patterns, etc - and I am showing up to them each day to begin my morning.

The size is not so big that it's overwhelming or takes too long (6"x 8") - and with something already there to greet me, the interaction is different than if I showed up to a blank page. More like visual dialogue.

I'm calling it my Practice in Presence.

Four days in, and already I feel better, more like me, grateful and awake to the life within again.

I'll be sharing updates of the pages here on the blog once a week on Wednesdays and process shots from time to time over on Instagram.