Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Creative Process Need Processing?

They say, “just begin at the beginning”, unfortunately it’s not always that easy. Frankly, we don’t always know where to begin, and how to move forward. For example, I wasn’t sure what to write about today. I knew I wanted to talk about my experience of being creative and in "process" over the last two weeks, but I struggle with knowing what I want to say about it.

So, let me just start in the middle. I’m in process, my space is a mess, ideas emerge with fits and starts, I find myself elated, frustrated and filled with doubt from moment to moment; each laying of a color or collage takes me through an emotional roller coaster. The sad part is that I’m only working on a piece that’s 2’x3’, and made solely for my own edification and “movement through” a previously turbulent two weeks. WTF?

International Soul Art Day work in progress

It’s amazing to me how connected and committed I can be to “creative expression” and “process” while simultaneously embracing doubt, fear, resistance and an inner struggle. What’s up with that? Does it ever stop? *Sigh… I don’t know.

Sometimes I wonder why creating can feel painful and sad, and yet such tremendous wisdom can be gleaned during and after the process. And then there's the shear joy and elation that comes with a product that pleases – it's the proverbial “cherry” or “icing”.

“Hallalujah!” I shout, triumphant over my creative passage; it’s done – until the next blank canvas, music score, or journal page beckons. “Why do I do this to myself?“ I wonder.

I know the answer, I just don’t want to admit it.

I like the emotion-filled, unpredictable, “getting my hands dirty” feeling that comes from being fully engaged and committed to “playing” and expressing myself creatively – even if it means being deeply moved and impacted in unexpected ways – even if it means experiencing profound feelings that I can’t articulate, and sometimes have trouble sitting with. Does that make me a masochist?

I also struggle with the frivolity of it all – how can I rationalize cutting, pasting, gluing, coloring, and playing with Styrofoam, buttons, glitter, mosaic tiles, affirmations, and whatever else crosses my path? “Seriously? That’s how you spent your day?” my critic roars, incredulous.

Whoa Nelly…
my messy workspace

I find myself repeatedly taking deep breaths, holding onto the armrests of my chair for dear life. "Can I do this?" I ask myself. "I can do this." I tell myself.  I LOVE to do this!  (despite appearances). I feel better when I do this. My life is more meaningful because of doing this.

Ok… (deep breath) now let’s continue, I’m not done. I’m still in the middle of it, scrap papers strewn haphazardly around me, paint brushes floating in dirty water, creative ideas that I haven’t glued down yet, but keep assessing for their “artistic” contribution. My art supplies lie splayed out, scattered in a frenzied whirlwind of possibility. And me, I sit as the eye of the storm, pleased to be in the middle of it!

How about you? What’s your creative process like?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Colorful Path to Inner Wisdom

Happy May!  No matter where you live, the colors are changing; in the northern hemisphere from the cool shades of winter to the blossoming flowers of spring and, in the southern hemisphere from the heat of summer to the rich reds, oranges, and golds of fall.

These powerful color shifts give us the opportunity to recognize how color affects our lives.  We may not think color impacts us, but look at the colors on the walls in your home or in the artwork you have hanging on your walls.  Consider why some people have to have the red car instead of the navy blue one.  You may not think about it, but color constantly impacts your life.

Color has always been important to me, from my peacock blue trench coat in a sea of black ones in New York City, to my pink spotted rain boots, I need color and I recognize its influence on me, my mood, and my energy.

In fact, color is one of three important tools - Runes, color, and writing - that I use on my path to inner wisdom.  I discussed how I use the Runes in my last post and will cover writing in my next one.  Today, it's color!

The tools that guide and support my path
Color is so important to me that I have created my own color system based entirely on the feelings that certain colors evoke in me.  I have used this system personally and with my wholeness coaching clients with great success for the past few years and it builds on my emotional attachment to color; that is to say that different colors evoke very clear emotions from me.

When I tell people that I use color for guidance and support, one of two things usually enters their minds - chakras or chromotherapy.

Although the chakras never spoke to me and do not guide my path, they provide guidance to millions of people around the world, so I would be remiss if I didn't give them a brief mention.  Chakras essentially represent life force energy centers in our bodies.  Wikipedia gives a reasonable overview of each one and I summarize them in the chart below.

Chromotherapy or color therapy is used for healing, focused on the energy a body emits in an effort to balance that energy.  I can use myself to explain this, using an idea I wrote about earlier this year - intuitive listening.  Knowing that I am a very high energy, active, and outgoing person, logic seems to dictate that I should be drawn to vivid, warm colors like red and orange.  But, I prefer dark purple and forest green.  I chose these colors intuitively, because they balance my energy.

My application of color differs from color therapy and chakras as do my color interpretations.  My scale includes roughly fifty different colors and I use them in two ways.  First, my color system is designed to balance or support an individual.  Second, when working with clients, we determine together what colors they need, then I make a totem for them, a Tied Totem.  A Tied Totem is a bracelet made from string, akin to a friendship bracelet, and some of my clients wear them as a reminder of the issues on which they are working, abilities that they have or for empowerment or encouragement.  For example, right now, I am wearing one with two colors to help with strength and focus, though I am feeling like it is time for a change.  Perhaps it's the energy of spring beckoning!

It is important to take many aspect of your world into consideration when deciding what colors will help you at a given time.  This includes everything from your state of mind to the season.  Sometimes the colors come quickly, intuitively, and at other times, they need some reasoning.  The process is important, because color can impact your well-being, profoundly and in very subtle, but important ways.

To help you explore color in you life, I'm giving you a couple of tables.  The first table shows how the three systems - chakras, chromotherapy, and my color totems -  interpret colors, each using them in slightly different ways for slightly different purposes.  The second offers a more nuanced interpretation that my color system uses.  Whichever one speaks to you, make sure you dig deeper into their meaning before applying them.

Color Totems

Crown, calm, open
Contemplation and spirituality

Third eye, balance, intuition

Devotion, intensity

Throat, understanding, communication, expression

Cool, soothing, practical

Heart, love, passion, deep emotion
Nature, peace, calm

Solar plexus, empowerment, overcoming fear
Energy, communication, curiosity
Energy from different sources

Sacral, creativity, enthusiasm
Warm, social, freeing
Creativity, passion

Root, physical pleasure, survival, primal instincts
Passion, energy, assertiveness
Passion from the heart, raw passion, empowerment

Color Totems

New life, new phase

Consistency, constant

Mourning, loss

Calm, non-confrontational

Joy, pleasure





Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom:
Have you thought about color in your life and how if affects you personally?  Using the tables above, which ones resonate with you?  Which ones do you think you could use in your life right now to help you on your path to inner wisdom?

If you're interested in learning more about my color system, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.  Now, get out and enjoy the colors of the seasons!