‘Droughts are a necessity’

Dearest reader – I’m back! Thanks for waiting. It’s been nearly 3 months since my last posting (crikey!) and I’ve had to ask myself “have I simply gone off the boil – forever? Maybe the blogging mojo has just evaporated (inexplicably) and I need to move on?” But something inside of me said ‘No – this is temporary – stick with it.’ I know to listen to my instincts but I have to say it was a weird feeling, suddenly switching from weekly posting to nothing, zero, zilch. What was with that?

To be frank, I don’t have clue why I dried up. I was busy but that’s not been a problem before. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and believe that this was meant to be.

We’ve all heard of the metaphor of a field that needs to lie fallow for a growing season in order to replenish itself. Maybe that was what was going on?

My friend Nancy told me today that she saw these times as a gift – an opportunity for silence and to go deep within ourselves.

Julia Cameron (she of  The Artist’s Way) talks about it in terms of a drought. “Droughts are a necessity,” she says. “The time in the desert brings us clarity and charity.’ She adds:

… as painful as they are, they deepen us. When we feel we have “nothing to say” as artists, we are grappling with what it is we do want to say. In struggling to find our sources of inspiration, we find ourselves.

Another thing: drought doesn’t disqualify you as an artist. Rather, it is a rite of passage, an initiation period that while it pains us also makes us better…  we experience a deepened gratitude for those times when art comes to us more easily.

In other words, droughts make us appreciate times of flow. As much as anything else, droughts teach us compassion for ourselves and others. Can this be anything but a blessing?

It’s true – I do feel renewed. Renewed inside of the ‘Why?’ of this blog and what the writing of it gifts me with – conciousness, connection, curiousity and celebration.

I’ll leave you with a couple of snowy pictures from the Stroud Valleys taken today. Just because… !

Edge in the Snow 1 Randwick Woods2

Meeting ourselves, meeting our self-expression

I’m rather proud of this photo I took yesterday down by the canal in Frampton-on-Severn.

It reminds me of what Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way) says about paying attention to the details in our life:

People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined…. it is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. [Creativity] lies in the moment of encounter; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression.

 

How to be creative

Just came across this from Neale Donald Walsch about creativity and consciousness – very apropos at the moment!

Creation is the highest form of Divinity, and your birthright. Truth is, you are creating all the time. The central question in your life is whether you are doing this consciously or unconsciously.
I’m enjoying my new Artist’s Way workshop immensely. Just by being on the course we are all paying more attention to how creative we are allowing ourselves to be.
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Here’s another wonderful piece on creativity this time by Sark. I’ll be handing out copies of this to my participants tomorrow.
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HOW TO BE CREATIVE

 Stay loose.

Learn to watch snails.

Plant impossible gardens.

Invite someone dangerous to tea.

Make little signs that say YES and post them all over your house.

 Make friends with freedom and uncertainty.

Dare to dream. Cry during movies.

Swing as high as you can on a swing.

Cultivate moods.

Refuse to be responsible for a day.

Do something for love.

Take a nap in the sun. Give money away.

Believe in magic.

Laugh. Celebrate every gorgeous moment.

Take moonbaths. Have wild imaginings.

Draw on the walls.

Giggle.

Open up.

Bless yourself.

 Get wet.

Hug a tree.

Write a love letter: to yourself.

-Sark-

www.planetsark.com

Keep your loved-one on a pedestal

Now that I’ve started running my Artist’s Way workshops again I’m going to be much more conscious about doing Artist’s Dates. These are basically about taking yourself off for about an hour a week just to have fun with you and you. They are meant to be playful, nurturing and fun – as if you were taking a child out on an outing.

My Artist’s Date today is probably no surprise for many of you – I took myself to the cinema – my favourite ‘me’ thing to do! The movie was “Hope Springs” and it struck me how well my new consciousness theme is embodied in it. The story basically follows a couple going through hard times and having therapy. (It’s a real testament to the screenwriter and the actors that they could make such a potentially agonising situation so poignant and funny). But the point is it highlights that the trouble with this older couple, who have been married for 31 years is that they have become UNCONSCIOUS of each other. Here’s a clip:

 

Long ago I realised something in my marriage: I must always do my damndest to keep Guy on a pedestal. What I mean by this is that I must do what it takes to take my gaze off the strange bathroom habits, the forgetfulness of conversations held only an hour ago, the constant losing of keys etc. etc. and focus resolutely on what makes him special – his handsome face, his humour, his love of his family, all the hard work he does on our behalf and so on. I know his faults (as he knows mine) so it’s not about ignoring them so much as saying: “that’s part of the package but I choose to make a conscious effort to keep my line of vision on the pedestal – because if I don’t, then smelly socks can take on way more significance than they should!

 

How conscious do I dare to be?

So, it’s now Year Two of this Happiness blog and, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve taken on the fresh challenge (hence my new tagline) of daring to be more conscious. This is why….

Reality – the ‘what’s-so’ of things has always appeared to me as a bit of an inconvenience – something to be tolerated whilst I get on with the more serious business of dreaming my life into existence. I’ve shied away from anything that smacks of that ghastly word ‘discipline’ because I have a rebellious-child’s resistance to it. Why should I do anything that feels like a ‘should’  – surely I’m the one in charge of my own life?

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron’s work ‘The Artist’s Way(and in fact I run workshops on it). Well now she has a new book out called ‘The Prosperous Heart‘ and in it she asks you to count evey penny you spend and receive in a little book. “What? No way! I don’t want to be wading around in the mud of my finances. And surely that’s all rather anal and sad?” I’ve also thought that in Law of Attraction terms this kind of attention to the minutae of things is misdirected – keeping your life small.

I’m realising now that I may have been missing a trick or two.

  • My weight and health have always been best when I’ve been counting what I eat and how I exercise.
  • I am very disciplined around organising my children’s school life, feeding the family, running my workshops, working with my clients etc. – it’s just I dont see it as discipline.

Abraham-Hicks talk about the importance of “loving what-is whilst reaching for more”. I’ve always read this as being OK with things not going the way I want whilst dreaming big. Not quite. I see now it’s about really meeting my reality honestly – i.e. not avoiding it – interacting with it, whilst maintaining a full expectation of growing into my desired future.

By avoiding the tricky subject of money and body weight in the name of attracting better things I was in fact only keeping resistance in place.

So now I am resolved to spend a year exploring this new concept of consciousness – being with what-is – even though I sometimes want to fight it in the name of positive thinking.

The name of the game is to ENJOY being with how things really are. I’m not embarking on this exercise of counting everything I eat and every penny I spend as a way of wallowing in lack and self-loathing – on the contrary I’m doing it to say: “This is worth paying attention to. This matters to me and I value my relationship with it.”

My very wise friend and coach Karen Hood-Caddy said to me this week: “It’s all about understanding how things work and then working inside of that.”

Yes! I think I’m starting to get it. Money, body weight etc. operate in a certain way. When I pay attention to that and work inside the parameters of that I, paradoxically, experience much greater control and therefore greater freedom.

I’m reminded of Stephen Fry’s great descripton of poetry. It is not, he argues, a restrictive form. When you write a novel you have so much choice about how you structure and shape it, it can be utterly overwhelming to begin; but with a poem the rules (mostly) are laid out and, now that you don’t have to worry about the structure of it, you can enjoy the freedom of playing with it as you will.

So constriction, discipline – whatever you want to call it – can be freeing. Yet more evidence of the Universe’s love of Paradox – (my favourite being: in order to have something you have to let it go). Paradox is everywhere and that makes being a human being so fascinating and wondrous.

I embark on this year’s challenge with excitement!