14 February 2009

Secret #4: Surrendering to Creative Cycles

"Surrendering to the cycles instead of fighting with them is a skill of the creative warrior."

Surrender......interesting choice of words.

All I can think of is that famous scene in the Wizard of Oz - you know the one.

"Surrender Dorothy"
written in script from the tail end of the wicked witch's broomstick against a china blue sky.

Is it surrendering if I am jumping in with both feet? if I can hardly contain my enthusiasm? willing it to happen? like...now?

But perhaps that is the lesson.

"There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest."

I like this imagery.

Am I, too, going with the flow? Or am I trying to swim against the natural current of my life?
Am I planting the seeds and nurturing them to grow? Or am trampling any hope of growth by my impatience?

This image also reminds me that creative cycles have swirling tide pools where the water flows slower, or not at all. Or times when my creativity lies fallow awaiting the rays of inspiration.

So when is my fallow season?

And more importantly, what am I doing during that fallow time to ensure that my growing time will produce abundance?

For me a fallow season would be right after Christmas. In the weeks leading up to the giftiest time of the year, I can be found most nights in my studio from 8p-2a creating on demand. Amazingly, I am able to do just that. But, as you can guess, that burns me out completely. I need a break. I go fallowin January. In fact, there are weeks when I don't step foot in my studio after that mad dash to Christmas. It doesn't help that every single bead and tool I own is strewn about hindering my ability to think clearly when I go in there.

But one day I decide that my beads need me. And I need them. So I take a deep breath and charge right in. It may take a few days to rein in the chaos, to control it at a manageable level, but I do. And the creative juices start flowing again.

During this downtime I am recharging my creative energy by reading books I have purchased but not found the time to read, perused magazines and online blogs that I have been missing out on, commenting on posts and connecting with other artists. My hands may be idle, but my imagination is not. And this helps me vastly when I am ready to dig into those beads and make something new.

For my fallow cycle this year I...
....donated items to charity and made a calendar to show me the progress toward my goal of donating one ensemble per month to a charity that I believe in.
....worked on my website development. It's coming! I promise!
...."fed the pipeline" for magazine and book proposal submissions and made a chart to show my progress toward the goal of being published in an online gallery, magazine or book once per month in 2009. So far I am on track and committed through July.
....made arrangements with a new outlet for my work - at a local photographer's studio who does a lot of wedding, engagement and senior portrait work in the spring and summer.
....swapped out the high end pieces on display at a Brody Design's Custom Goldsmith gallery where I am delighted to exhibit and sell my work.
....prepared for a gallery exhibit for the local ArtsWalk event in April at Art Village.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we were each encouraged to go "on sabbatical"? I have always liked that concept. I know that I would be happier if I were encouraged to find that which moves me to study and immerse myself in for the sake of my own betterment. Imagine how we would come back to our regular lives with that new knowledge! To explore that which piques our interest or brings our soul joy...to discover who we really are or are meant to be. That would be living!

One of my goals this year is to attend an artist retreat. Last fall I stumbled upon one that is right here in the state of Wisconsin where I live...and is practically in the backyard of my sister who lives in the same city of Cedarburg (read: cheap lodging!) as this artist convergence. The RAEvN's Nest Art Retreat sounds like that perfect meeting of the minds. Artists from various media converging on this quaint and artsy town for a weekend of food, fun, conversation and getting messy with all sorts of art-ful implements. I really wanted to attend last fall when I found it, but I discovered this event the day before it was to begin and my life wasn't allowing me to be that flexible. But this year, I hope it will be different. I am also looking into flying to the Art Unraveled retreat in Phoenix over the summer (coinciding with my birthday...pinch me!). And then there is a trip to France that my friend is leading. How cool would it be to walk the French countryside with a paintbrush in hand?

My fallow moments are most fertile. They are places to dream big and project where I want my life to lead me. And maybe if I dream big enough and hope long enough (and put some plans behind the seeds of my ideas) these things will grow to an abundance such as I have never known before.

"Letting go and seeing what we're really drawn to fertilizes the creative process, and finally the next step appears."

What is the next step for you?

Check It Out:: http://www.kimraenugent.blogspot.com/

Enjoy the day!


Simply Heather said...

I love to read your posts. The Lord speaks to my heart, lifts me up, inspires me and allows me to see a deeper meaning to what He's been telling me...when I read your posts.

You are a beautiful, encouraging Woman and it's such a treat to have found you in this blogging world :o).

♥ Heather

{I have these times and get nervous with my inability to produce. I also tend to get so full of different areas of creativity that I twirl in circles, seeking The Lord so strongly and trying to pay attention to what I'm suppose to do next.)

I needed to read this today, thank you for sharing it :o)

Becci said...

I'm sending you this comment here in cyberspace via the Land of OZ...Dorothy says "hi" and she doesn't intend to surrender! :-)

I have taken the steps to gracefully exit my "fallow season" or "void" by planning a trip to California for an art class! I've heard of the retreats you mentioned and have them on my to-do list as well!

I enjoyed reading your post, thank you!

Have a great hair day! Becci in Kansas

Cindy said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your kind comments. When I wrote my post, I'd taken a bit of Vicodin and not sure anyone would relate! LOL! But even the next morning, when the drug had left my system, I knew I had written from the heart, and it had reflected my true feelings about the void/fallow times.

I was happy to read your own words, and that your time off from creativity was well spent. Can't wait to read what you write about Secrets #5 and #6!

Jenners said...

I've found that fallow times are critical to the times that follow. Whenever I have a big project or a problem, I need to "let it simmer" for a bit and let my unconscious work on it. Then, when I come back, the answers are usually waiting for me. Neat post.

tara @ kidz said...

I loved this. So glad you shared it! Thanks for stopping by.

http://afancifultwist.typepad.com said...

Oh yes, I love faloow times... Time to let everything sizzle up and bottle neck... guide me to where i need to be...

I am surrendering to everything. And believeing that that ispart of my path... I hope it works ;) ;) It has to, right? ;) ;)

YOu are such a beautiful writer, and such a beloved friend!!

If you had been in AZ you would have been to the world's largest gem show. It would have blown your mind. It takes place very year here... Come play with beads sometime!!! xoxoxo

Sacha van Straten said...

Hi Erin,

The cyclical nature of creativity certainly isn't something to be feared.

Since beginning my Master's Degree last month I have had no time to pour anything creative into my poetry. So that side of me has been put away for future use.

However, I am still managing to produce some photography. www.flickr.com/svanstraten to see the images I took in France the week before last, and over this week there'll be images of artists performing at my school's forthcoming Talent show.

At Easter I should find time to write more verse. Like the changing of the seasons, the adapting means by which we present our inner souls to the outer world metamorphose and alter, depending on external influences and internal decisions.




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