The Secret Garden
I’m am trying something a little different for this post. In addition to a few links and recommendations, I’m going to reflect a bit on why I love being a creative person. I’ve asked artists to weigh in and you’ll find some of their replies below. I encourage you to ask yourself the same question and embrace your unique gifts.
One of my favorite books growing up was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (published in 1911). An unhappy girl is transformed by the act of revitalizing an abandoned garden and interacting with others who love nature. As Anna Clark writes, “In The Secret Garden, the orphan Mary's rightful inheritance is ultimately herself and the natural world, the ability to speak truth to others and to have it spoken back to her – to live a full life of both the body and the imagination.”
For me, this sums up the advantages of being an artist. You discover something hidden within yourself, poke at it, build it up, tear it back down. You are channeling something directly from the universe and allowing others to peer through the garden wall. When it goes well you are reveling in the blooms, at other times you are tangled in the weeds. But still you’re better off than those locked up in the tower.
And I don’t bind creativity to artists exclusively. I think of creativity in the broadest terms - as any act of problem-solving or originality. Spontaneity of thought and careful observation can benefit anyone willing to take a risk.
What is your favorite thing about being a creative person?
“My favorite thing about being an artist is the time alone in my studio creating and exploring ideas and materials. The best moments are when all the inner critics and naysayers disappear & your imagination takes you away. Those are the sweet spots in art.”
“Right now, I'd answer the unconventional opportunities to surprise myself - both in my personal studio practice, but also when I collaborate with others. Being an artist keeps me open-hearted and open-minded.”
“My favorite thing is being able to portray the world as I see it — being a channel for creative energy. I get to have my thoughts, visions, ideas and inspiration flow through me, and then visualize them for everyone to see. The process of creating is like no other, and it's exciting every time!”
“Being creative allows me to see and to connect with the universe and sharing that experience in paint I see outside the box. This provides me with unique resolutions to life‘s challenges”
“For me it is the making of the art... be it words or images. During this process I often feel outside of myself, letting the creativity flow through me like electricity. It is fantastic to interact with other creative people and really see each other’s work and inner workings.”
“Art-making is all about world-building for me. I think my whole art career has been about learning the skills to create an internal world that I’ve always envisioned, but never new how to depict. Painting keeps me sane, curious and humble all at the same time.”
“Being able to share ideas with others in ways that move them to remember, reassess, or reimagine their world. Art helps me process the world around me and digest shifts in culture and place. I get to make every day up.”
“I get to show my kids that anything is possible.”
Self-Care for Creatives
This month has been especially hectic for me, maybe for you as well. I’ve been practicing a few methods to KEEP CALM – some work better than others. Here are four things I practice daily to make sure that my mental state does not resemble a scene from the recent episode of Game of Thrones.
SLEEP – I get eight hours every night. I live for sleep and cherish every moment I can spend tapping into the subconscious mind. I wake up thoughtfully and take an inventory of imagery or messages from my dreams.
STRETCH – Because I have a bad back and a stationary job, I exercise in the morning and before bed, just to take stock of my body. Where are the aches and pains? Which parts are doing well? What do I appreciate about my current physical state? Here’s a good video to guide you.
PLAN - I try to spend the first hour of the day (including stretch time) silently taking stock of what the day holds. I’ve also tried motivational planners such as The High Performance Planner by Brendon Burchard or The Desire Map Daily Planner by Danielle LaPorte. I don’t stress about filling it out every single day, but when I do, I find it really focuses me on my priorities.
TRUST – As a creative person, your gut is more highly tuned to your environment, your relationships, the constant input of life. If your sensing something is out of whack or completely right for you, follow that feeling.
Every day I appreciate that I am a creative person. I am unique. I see the world differently from others, and I am truly thankful that I can forge ahead with that advantage. Thanks for following along!