When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird.
Last week I gifted myself an in-person workshop with Lisa Sonora at Catherine Anderson's Studio* here in North Carolina - as part of my 2015 self-care-plan to fill-my-own-creative-well. It was wonderful to be a participant and to spend the day remembering how moving a small creative circle can be for how we make sense of our inner and outer worlds.
That 'birdwatcher's proverb' above was one of the gem's excavated by another workshop artist. I've been loving it ever since.
Do you have a creative self-care-plan in place? One that you don't let slip through the cracks? For me, this is an ongoing work-in-process - my rhythms change with the seasons and days... and in that chaos, there is a pattern & rhythm of needs unique to me. You have one that is yours, too.
This is what came up yesterday while I painted as well (posted on Instagram yesterday):
Are you putting off the thing that makes you feel alive? Stop, ok? If you can't do it today then make a clear promise for your heart about when - put it on the calendar - and for the love of your breath and joy, keep your promise to yourself.
Start with small promises (so you can deliver), with little gestures of commitment in your heart, space and time - on your calendar! - and then, absolutely keep those creative-promise-dates to yourself (unless there is a major emergency, of course - ahem... a real one).
See, this is about Trust. Show yourself that you trust your truth - the call of your heart, and that tapping into what makes you feel alive is a top priority for your well-being and sense of wholeness. Fill yourself up with that innate sense of connection that comes from letting go on the currents of flow, curiosity and creative expression - whether it's in your own practice, out in nature, or by scheduling in a workshop or class or play-date with a creative kindred (just make sure it's someone you can be quiet with in your process, as well).
Why? Because it matters in ways way bigger than the art (though the art can be a beautiful byproduct, too).
I don't need to tell you that this world can be more than a little overwhelming - just in the day-to-day getting-by, let alone with the social, political, environmental, economical and humanitarian issues. There is a lot of stuff that is hard to look at, talk about, admit, help with, be a part of, be part of the change for... and yet, so many of us feel that call to get involved in ways we haven't before, and we don't always know how.
But as creatives, we have this wonderful gift, right at our expressive fingertips - a gift to keep nourishing our creative bellies with - that we might be able to discern where, what and how much we are capable of taking in and contributing to, in ways that are in alignment with our core values and positive energy.
We create the better world by discovering ways of being better ourselves. We begin the healing work within our own perception and lives.
You don't have to try to save the world. But you are capable of shifting moods, focus and intention - and touching other hearts.
And if your creative practice helps center you, so that you can be an open messenger of a vision that gives you hope in this world (just by being you) - then it is of the utmost, detrimental importance, as far as I can tell.
If it fuels and strengthens the courage within you to engage with people different than you (as well as the like-minded ones), and have conversations you never thought you would, or do something totally out of your usual routine - then it is fundamental to your quality of life and sense of purpose & fulfillment.
So, please, make your art. Whatever that looks like today. Make the art that makes you feel alive, honest and connected. Then, just trust that you will carry that energy out into the world with you. That part is inevitable.
And, always... when you feel conflicted about what you've read, been told, or heard someone say - about art or anything at all in how to create your life - please take a moment to get quiet inside - then, go outside and listen close - and always believe the bird.
[This post was written for the Holistic Creative Connection subscribers. They get a letter like this, with updates from me about twice a month, that is different than my posts here on the blog. I thought I'd share this one as an example for a change. You can see the full email layout HERE - and be sure to Join the list if you'd like in on the monthly letters. ALSO - Lisa and Catherine are two of the 25 contributors for Spectrum this year - you can still join us for the holistic creative fun in Spectrum as well.]