Thursday, July 28, 2011


Do you get messages from the universe?  Where everyone seems to be saying the same general idea and you decide you’d better listen and take it in?  Well, I do, once in a while, where everything converges and I hear a tune made out of the notes in the air, and I want to sing that tune, too, because it seems to be the Most Important Thing Happening.  The trouble is I am often in a scheduled situation with pressure to meet commitments and responsibilities and I have to put that floating musical temptress out of my mind until I get my chores done.  Whether that is nobility or avoidance, I do not know.  Discipline has always been a tough pill for me to swallow:  I want to fulfill my obligations but sometimes the cost seems so high.  Time management and dreaming seem at cross purposes….In any event, I can’t follow every fairy note I hear. So, much of these whisperings and want-to’s get put on the back burner.
I have many back burners, so many that I can’t remember them all until the familiar notes play again, or a picture or a color reminds me of what is under the lid on that saucepan on the back burner.  And sometimes I forget what was there and it just blows away in an unfulfilled state.
A few months ago I had one of these convergences.  Several people whom I admire for their creative pursuits mentioned the very same book for its helpfulness to them in understanding their creative drive.  In the space of a few days, at least 3 different people mentioned this book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  I know one of them was Sue at Mouse Notebook.  I believe one was Susan Branch who is always telling me (kindly) to get off my duff and do something creative.  And I can’t remember for sure but I think the other one was Stephanie Levy at Artists Who Blog.  I am mad at myself for forgetting what those harmonic chords were that led me to go out and buy the book.
But I did.  I acted on it and I paid money to make it a concrete plan, even though it had to go on the back burner until after camp. When everything was going to settle down.  So I have the book even though I’ve only read the Table of Contents.
It happened again.  Just this week.  A harmony of suggestions and possibilities that I heard, that got loud enough to attract my attention.  But I can’t remember what I was thinking or reading that made my mind turn the way it did.  I am so mad at myself for not being able to reconstruct the alleyway that brought me here.  Even last night at dinner I was able to tell Ron about what inspired me to sign up for an art course.
Maybe it was this from Ann Somerset Miles’ blog:
Searching for a change of vision
seeing with new eyes
adapting my usual way of working;
letting myself loose, and
not being afraid of failure.
That's what today gave me:
surprising the great leap forward -
- and I did no fall into the water,
did not drown in indecision.
Just those few short hours
with a masterful tutor
is all it has taken;
and I will never be the same again.
Such joy. A day of wonders."

Or maybe it was Stephanie Levy saying this that made me so crazy jealous to create:
12 Countries in 12 Months.
For one In just a few days, I am beginning a new art + travel project called year, I will take a trip each month to a new city in Europe where I'll be making photos and sketches, collecting ephemera, and documenting my journey by creating mixed media artwork and illustrated journals.

Or perhaps it was this course description in another blog from Stephanie that made my ears prick up and my heart beat faster:
“Topics will include:
  • believing in your creative dreams
  • pushing through your fears and developing your self-confidence
  • celebrating prosperity and earning money with your artwork
  • increasing your financial abundance by creating multiple income streams
  • using the internet as a way to stretch and grow your career as an artist
  • creating artwork without inhibition and how to avoid getting stuck
  • ditching procrastination for more creative play and practice
  • nurturing your body and soul to increase your creativity
  • avoiding burnout and promoting balance in your life
  • finding positive support for your work and building a network
  • connecting and collaborating with others to energize your creative business
  • creating daily adventure and making your life more interesting
  • expanding your horizons and finding your unique role in the world
  • developing practical strategies for time management for busy women
  • and much more!  “
Or maybe it was just a composite of everything that has come my way from all the creative blogs I read, to my own yearning for expression. 
In any event, I have decided to take a sabbatical from my normal, helter-skelter life and look seriously into my creative life.  I don’t know what it means at the moment, exactly, or if I will in fact produce anything that brings me joy or money or brings anything of consequence to the world.  The sabbatical aspect means that
1) I am not going to fill all my time with other people’s agendas.  I will not be selfish, but I will be setting boundaries (I hope) on my time and energy.
2) I will set aside hours for the purpose of addressing back burner ideas and impulses.
3) We will not have international students living here this year, not so that I can be lazy but so I can give concentrated time to producing.
4)I will actually thoughtfully read The Artist’s Way and do the exercises it prescribes at the pace it recommends.  I will journal, sketch, and pay attention to this drive in me.
5) I will follow through on my ideas, even if they don’t work.  I hope I will keep following past the point of discouragement to the breakthrough of success.
6) I will take the e-course on Creative Courage and see where that leads me. 
7) I will address all the stockpiled back burner issues for which I have already purchased paints, fabrics, patterns, or taken up storage space in my basement or craft room.
8) I will find that listening to the music of my life will bring me a quietness and satisfaction that I am missing currently.
9) I will plan little field trips to enjoy nature and art forms which will refresh and energize me, even if it’s just down the road or to a garden or toward the beach.
10) I will not sacrifice other significant relationships for this cause, such as my husband or my children or my God.  I will also have time with them.
I am very excited about this turning point.  Calling it a sabbatical gives me the sense of permission I need to do things a little differently.  I hope I am able to maintain my purpose; being in a class will help.
We are going camping this next week.  I am taking my camera and a sketch pad to be ready for what comes! 


Anonymous said...

Go for it - it will change your life; little steps at a time. I thoroughly recommend The Artist's Way which I followed religiously twelve years ago, and then other books in her series. My husband just thought I was playing at writing but I persevered and it ha led me far beyond what I would have imagined I could do. The most important aspect is 'morning pages', no matter what, (even when you are camping!)

I shall follow your new journey with interest and wish you all the luck in the world. (And thanks for quoting my poem; I'm glad it helped to spur you onwards.)

stephanie levy said...

Thank you and you are wonderful! Good for you and I am so happy that you will take part in my e-course :) What a beautiful post and a testament to your taking your own creative soul seriously. Have a lovely camping trip and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Connie said...

I sincerely trust you follow through with this wonderful plan. I can already tell you are creative, so it is just a matter of you giving it direction. It will be fun following you as you blossom!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I too often hear gentle whisperings from the universe. Often the needs of family drown them out. So glad you are going forth.

French said...

Yes, if only we could listen more carefully to those whisperings, in the din of the daily activities...wishing you a lovely camping trip and some quiet time for creativity~

Gilly said...

I'm so pleased you are following those whisperings! And I would love to think it was my daughter at Mouse Notebook who was one of your inspirations!

I don't know where she got her creative gifts from, certainly not me!

You go for it, Holly - and don't let the mundane things of the world come between you and your creativity!