I’ve been blogging now for nearly four (or is it five?) years, and remain eternally grateful to those who paved the way. In the good old blog days, there was a lot more cross-pollinating – guest posts and fun challenges and when the lovely and ohsotalented Kristin Noelle asked me if I’d like to join this blog hop, I couldn’t turn down a chance to join the trend of bringing those practices back to life. (Fun fact – Kristin and I, after knowing each other in the wireless world for a while, met in person at a writing retreat with Tara Mohr. So many circles in this life.)
Here we go…
1. What am I working on?
I’ve put all my eggs in one basket this year. At 52.5, I decided that if I was ever going to fully inhabit my artist self, I best focus on just that. And I have. I wound up my coaching practice, set up a mentoring relationship with the incredibly successful artist (and dear friend) Jeanne Bessette, enrolled in a fantastic Intuitive Arts teacher program with the amazing Chris Zydel and cleared out my studio. I began again, again. It’s been a whiz bang roller coaster of a year so far, and I am both incredibly grateful and really stunned at the progress I’ve made. To this point, my only real ability to focus had to do with camera lenses. I’ve been so many things in my lifetime and master of very few. It feels good, sacred, fun and paralyzingly scary, all at once.
Creativity has healed me in so many ways, and it’s an honor and a privilege to walk others along the same path. I see now that everything I have done – from teaching special ed to managing construction to being a mom and a coach and a master gardner, to say nothing of all those hours behind a camera – has led me here. And the view, going forward, fills me with awe.
Hope this explains the lack of blog posts. You’ll find me in the studio, more often than not.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I’m not writing nearly as much, for the first time in my life. I am still most definitely a storyteller, no doubt about that. I’m just using more images and fewer words these days. My hope is to share the creative life here, openly and honestly, in real time. Still noodling how. Will jump into that soon, and while I’m not sure that it differs from others, it’ll be different than what I’ve done in the past.
I spent a long time trying to put everything I see into words. At some point, I realized that using only words felt confining to me, and that led me to this point, where I’m discerning the next iteration of my blog. We all know that a picture speaks one thousand words. I love that those words come through the viewer’s lens, rather than mine. Perhaps that’s a bit different, too.
On the other, other hand, there are some words floating about. I am slowly but surely writing a book about the journey from the abused, victimized, so very shy girlhood through the disassembling and renovating woman to these early crone years that are just beyond my wildest dreams. Yes. And most of the words I write are going there. I hope it will be inspiring more than placing blame or being sensationalistic. It’s all part of the journey and it all makes sense now.
3. Why do I create what I do?
Because I cannot not create it. Art comes through me and out my hands. I never know what I’ll paint when I begin. And sometimes I’m not sure what it is when I’m done, to be honest.
I photograph just what I see, too, and the lens doesn’t just belong to me. I see beauty and power and truth everywhere, and there’s an inner drive to bring it to the world. I can’t not do it.
When I have words that feel the same way, as if the truth is within me and I have the capacity to share it, then I write.
It’s as simple and as incredibly complex as that. It’s all about transforming – myself, others, the world.
4. How does my writing process work?
Several years ago, I realized that my life (and the world in general) was lacking in ritual, in ceremony. In rhythm.
And so whenever I’m creating, whether it’s with paint or markers or a camera or keyboard, my job is to first be very grounded and centered. I use traditions from all over the world to do that, and the particular ritual depends on what I’m feeling that day. Sometimes, it’s a simple as a nap or a walking mediation. Often, I’ll journey or do work with the elements. All of it allows me to connect with my power and guidance. If I don’t, the work isn’t nearly as good or easy or impactful.
From that point, the challenge is to keep my brain out of it. To allow the magic to come through me without regard for rules or convention. I imagine it’s what many refer to as “flow”. And from there, the raw material arrives. Pure alchemy.
These days, I don’t edit so much. Perhaps that’s obvious! And there’s something to be said for the 10000 hours of practice theory. Maybe that’s part of the gift of getting older.
And now it’s my turn to pass the hop baton over to a lovely friend I’ve yet to meet in person and have admired for years. Corinne Cunningham lives life one day at a time and exquisitely beautifully. She weaves her work and her life around two gorgeous children and blogs about it in such a lovely way. Corinne is a writer, beach walker, daydreamer, and mother of two. She is passionate about stories, knitting, and the peacefulness of drinking tea. You can find her at www.Corinnenoelcunningham.com. I hope you’ll read her post along with me next week. She knows all about transformation.