14 November 2010

A Dreamer's World

I love to be alone. I never found the companion
that was so companionable as solitude.
~ Henry David Thoreau

I am a dreamer and an introvert, through and through.

Though I enjoy being with people and if I am by myself too often I become restless and lonely, I deeply treasure my alone time. I truly enjoy sitting with myself in silence, writing, internet-ing, and creating when I can find the time. I take myself on walks every now and then, and try to foster a still, peaceful mind.

My journey to being comfortable with myself has not been an easy one; over the past few years I have struggled, fought, and tried to change who I am, but with time and a huge amount of effort and patience I have come closer to loving myself exactly for who I am, accepting the flaws and imperfections and celebrating (not hiding) the things I like. I must always remind myself to be gentle, kind, and loving towards myself - because that is what I and every one of you deserve.

Yet this habit of mine, of wanting to spend quiet time with myself, tends to push people away. I have difficulty making and keeping friends, for so many of the people I meet are far more active and social than I. How I wish I were able to find those quiet imaginative folk who would be perfectly content to write, paint, or dream the day away! And how grateful I am to meet many of you here in this lovely space.

Oh, I wish that we could go on a walk together! We could wonder about the changing leaves and the soaring birds; we could drink tea and play soft music; we could draw each other and laugh at the silly way I drew your nose. We could imagine what tomorrow would be like, and dream about whom we want to become in the years that lie ahead...

My loves, if you feel the same as I do - a daydreamer separate from the world - know that you are not in the least bit alone. There are individuals all over the world wishing for someone just like you to come play and explore and imagine. Be patient, my loves; we'll find each other some day.

12 November 2010

The Artist's Way

In September, I was instructed by one of my professors to choose and read one of several books. I first picked up one that was small and aged, but I soon put it down and instead picked one that said something about creativity and spirituality on the cover, two subjects that always hook me. Amazingly, it happened to be a book I knew well, though I'd never actually read it - after four pages I realized with a quite start that this book was The Artist's Way, written by Julia Cameron, the creator of morning pages. I had been wanting to read it for quite some time.

I first came across the idea of morning pages much earlier in the year. Morning pages are the daily practice of writing three pages by hand; the catch is that, once one begins, one is not allowed to stop the pen until the three pages are complete. I tried them for a month or two, then life distracted me and I moved on to new projects. I still mean to do them, yet, as so often happens, forget in the fast-paced flow of the day.

This book inspired me so much that I purchased it for myself before I had even finished reading it. Though it was written as a structured, twelve week long course on nurturing your inner artist, it is in fact quite readable and easily done on one's own or in an informal group. The pages are chalk full of exercises, ideas, meditations, insights, quotes, and so, so much more. It is perfectly appropriate both for those who have never felt comfortable with calling themselves an artist and have never laid brush to a page or put a story on a page, and those who are familiar with or long time participants of the art world.

I first read the book all the way through, skipping the exercises. I will go back through my own copy and work my way through its pages with a pencil in hand. The Artist's Way is a resource you will go to again and again when the inner critic starts to whisper, friends or family doubt your abilities, you struggle with justifying your passion, or need a dose of inspiration.

It must be mentioned that Julia uses the words like "God" and "spirituality" quite often during the book. This is what she says in the introduction about her use of these words:
"When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. What we are talking about is a creative energy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power .... The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it."
If you can keep an open mind, you are sure to enjoy what insight she has to offer.

If you'd like to find out more about this book, you can check it out on Amazon - at the moment it's on sale for $10! You can also visit Julia Cameron's website here.

07 November 2010

Note to Self

Dear Self,

Hello, lovely. I've been neglecting you. Sometimes with all the bustle and stress of everyday life, I forget that you are the very most important thing, and for this I am deeply sorry. You deserve so much better than that.

I take you for granted all too often, and I desperately want to change this. I promise that I will try harder to treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I will allow you the sleep you need. I will feed you well. I will give you more time to be creative and I will I will allow you to fear and dream and hope and to be sad; I won't pretend that those feelings don't exist. I will tell you that I love you - often. I will dance with you and sing with you and I will do my best to make you feel beautiful and enchanting.

You deserve that.
We deserve that.

With so much love,

01 November 2010

Summer, Good Night

Dear November,

You arrived this morning with a rush of cold air, and I wore my winter coat all day for the first time this year. It is now the midst of autumn and I can ignore that fact no longer! October's leaves are absolutely beautiful, most still clinging to the trees and many floating enchantingly down to cover the chilly earth. Nights are frigid and the frost will come soon. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year wait around the corner, much closer than we think.

Last month was a bit of a challenge for me as I began and continue to relearn how to balance work and play. I must admit that I did not work on a single page of my art journal last month. My creative endeavors, in fact, were limited to a knitted circular scarf, currently waiting for a finishing crochet border; a homemade Halloween costume; and painted fabric waiting to be made into art dolls. Of course, many doodles were made among my class notes, and now happily dance with my handwriting when the pages are closed. I wrote a ten page play for a class as well.

Are you, perhaps in a similar situation? Darling, if your free time to paint or creative inklings ebb and flow, I must gently remind you that this means that you are no less of an artist than if you were sewing, drawing, sculpting, writing, or painting every hour of every day. Everyday life is something that happens, well, everyday - to every single one of us. It is natural and it is inevitable, and you have no need to be ashamed. Being an artist does in no way mean you must give up life as you know it, but it is true also that life as you know it should not prevent you from being an artist. You must never give up trying to follow your passions, even if you only spend a few minutes each day or week on them!

I believe the noun perseverance is the appropriate for the new word of the month - the long trek through the dark winter months can be difficult and disheartening, yet we must remember and dream of the beautiful, luscious spring that awaits on the other side. The only thing to do is persevere. Here I come!


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