Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Creative Confidence & Creative Pilgrimage Book Review

Anyone who has spent time with children will tell you they are always surprised by their creativity. They don't say, "This one is just SO creative, but that one...Oh, she doesn't have a creative bone in her body!" Yet we describe ourselves as adults in exactly these words. We say, "Sorry. I'm just not very creative." Why? Did something happen between childhood and becoming an adult?

It sure did. As children we were proud of whatever we made. We said, "Look at this!" But as we got older and more aware, we started looking around at what everyone else was doing, and said to ourselves, "I like their project more than mine. Their work is better than mine. I could never make that. They are so creative. I must not be creative." That's pretty ugly self talk, but also realistic, if you're truthful. I don't know many of us who haven't done it at one time or another.

If you want to change your creativity, you have to change your language. How you talk to yourself is the most important place you can begin. Start with something simple you can believe in. I have relied on Leah Day's post many times: I Am Enough and Other Positive Words. If that's not what you need, there are plenty of sites that list inspirational quotes.

Find something that speaks to you, and put it where you can see it often. Share As Image is the site I used above to create the picture. I can share it in online places like I did here, or print it out from my saved images. It's personal, and reminds me to treat myself with kindness. The version I use is free.

The other thing I have been doing is reading about other artists' journeys, and how they keep the creative spark lit. This is one of the books on my book pile at the moment, and I'm enjoying the text as much as the techniques.

The book is focused on artful gatherings. You're given insight into many workshops and retreats with guest artists. That in itself is enough for me to ask why I hadn't been to one. The projects that follow each of these is a specialty of one or more artists. They range from free motion quilted ornaments, mixed media art, painting, and printing. 

Each section shares a different view as to how people are promoting awareness, and encouraging a creative environment. They talk about the roadblocks we encounter, and how to shake them. I've had many moments where I've said, "Oh! Yep, that's me!" Yet the language is light, and the ideas are infused with joy. One antidote I have appreciated more than any so far, is this.

"She Laughs: On the first day of a class I was teaching at Squam Art Workshops, I noticed that one of the participants was late. I feared that she may have gotten lost on the forest trails, so I decided to venture out to see if I could spot her. I quickly saw her beaming face through the trees. Out of breath, she gasped and giggled, saying "I was lost in the woods with my sewing machine...when will that ever happen again?" We couldn't stop laughing as we made our way back to the group."

--Creative Pilgrimage, Jenny Doh, p.42, copyright 2012, Quarry Books

When you pick up this book, expect to feel insprired. It makes me feel good. I'm not through the whole book yet, but eating it slowly like salted chocolate. You're left with a good aftertaste.

I'm a Better Listener 

Paying closer attention to how I speak to myself is also helping me to pay attention to those flashes that go through my mind as I'm falling asleep. To not disregard my feelings I get when I look at a quilt or art. To laugh out loud, make messes and be okay with flubbing it up, and to love the little quirks about myself. In other words, my self talk sounds a lot better than it used to. I'm less critical. And that's not being egotisitical or proud or full of myself. It's being my own best cheerleader inside, privately, where no one else has to hear it. My creativity is flourishing, and yours can, too. Start today by nurturing your child inside. Show yourself some kindness.

Come on, you beautiful Doxie girls.
Let's go make something gorgeous!

See how much better that sounds?

Linking up today with~
Sew Fresh Quilts
Freshly Pieced


Stitchin At Home said...

'What gorgeous thing will I create today' is a great quote to start the day. Giving one's self permission to play and be creative without fear of doing wrong.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

Our own inner dialogue matters a lot; kindness really should start at home: with ourselves. Thanks for the reminder. Have a great week!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the reminder,something to ponder and pass on.

Sandra Walker said...

You're playing my song, Julie! This post is one of my favourites you've written. So much yoga philosophy in here. Basically you've described to a T the idea of Metta. I often say when I'm teaching to be non-judgmental of ourselves, to let go, to be content as we are...so true, so simple, and yet towards ourselves, as you said, we often do not have positive self-talk at all. Oh I love that story of being lost in the woods with a sewing machine! Bahaha.

Barb Neiwert said...

It's so sad that many of us go through life belittling ourselves for one thing or another. It's good to change that tune, mix it up, and replace those negative thoughts with lots of positive input. I'm one who believed, from way back in those childhood days, that I was not the creative sort whatsoever. It's only been in the past few years that the creative side of my brain has been able to flourish, thanks to quilting! What an excellent way to live the rest of my life :)