The other day in yoga class, my teacher, Aaron, spoke some simple, yet profoundly resonating words. He said, “The hardest part of the practice is simply showing up.” And boy, did he hit the nail on the head with that one. It's that hot yoga variety, and you’re doing things with your body under sweltering conditions that you would never do left up to your own devices. Or rather, I would never do, left up to mine. Which is why I have to show up for the dang class. Not only am I exerting myself physically in intense heat, I’m also being called to be with my body, mind and breath in a really intentional way: a perfect recipe for all degrees of resistance.
Though something happens when I simply show up, and every time it surprises me-- once I'm in that hot room, stretched out on that turquoise mat, there exists no other option but to flow with it. I move in the ways that I'm guided to, excited by where my body can go, while honoring where it can’t. And the immediate return of those blissed-out, mind+body sensations makes the challenge of it b-e-y-o-n-d worth it.
Being such a prominent feature of the human experience, I think about resistance a lot. And not just in terms of sweaty yoga practices, but in relation to creativity as well. Simply showing up to the page or the canvas or the keyboard beyond the initial excitement of starting a new project can be the most excruciating aspect to living a creatively inspired life. Though it is by far, as I’m sure we can all agree, the most important part. Because without it, ain’t nothing is getting created.
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to get to know a lot of very creatively active and committed people-- the kind who show up for their creativity day in and day out. Because I know how hard it is, and because the goal of this blog is to be a source of collective creative nurturing, the only thing that makes sense for this first post is to look into how we work through our resistance and show up for our creativity.
To give you a diverse array of perspectives on the matter, I’ve consulted my personal crew of creativity gurus and goddesses:
Rosaura Unangst | pigmentandparchment.com - I show up for my creativity by practicing self care. In the past I let go of self care completely and that was detrimental to my artistic life. How I show up for my creativity is by getting sleep, eating regularly, and being kind to myself so that I am energized and ready to go when it's time to dive into my art world.
Sofia Lacin | lcstudiotutto.com - I show up for my creativity with an energetic physical power and open eyes. I try to pretend I am doing it all for the first time. I work in my habitual practice to lead me to the freedom of fluid and open work. It's always the most beautiful.
Janna Marlies Maron | www.jannamarlies.com - The hard part for me to articulate is that I don’t know how consciously I think about “showing up for creativity,” because I have trained myself to incorporate it in as much of my life as possible. From big things like creating habits around getting up early to give myself 30 min-1hr of writing every day to little things like using colored pens when I write by hand, I try to surround myself with things that will foster a new and fresh perspective every day, even in the little things like writing a to-do list. This also includes constantly learning and seeking input from others as much as possible. I know that my ideas and my work always have room for improvement and they are only enhanced when others contribute.
Trista Dymond | tristadymond.com - How do I show up for my creativity... with a mixture or resistance, anxiety, anticipation and excitement. A part of me is convinced I shouldn't do it. A deeper pert of me tells me it's the only thing worth doing. And so.. the build up is the worst as both sides battle it out. If I were to dissect the split section of decision-making, it could be summed up as: Should I create or should I find something else to fill my time and convince myself that it was a better choice to not create? Once I do actually show up, the hard part is over. Slowly and then quite quickly I fall into my creativity and am healed. When I'm done I walk away thinking "there, that wasn't so bad, now was it?" and ruefully I answer myself with a sheepish smile and a simple "..no."
Jack Craig | jackpcraig.com - Try it. See what happens. Try again.
Dana Rader | stripedesigngroup.com - I show up for my creativity to feed my soul. My soul longs to create and when I provide it with creative projects I am truly happy. It relieve stress and opens the window of opportunity to achieve goals in the arts as well as every other avenue in my life.
Michelle Kolososki | adorabellaceramics.bigcartel.com - It is my belief that we are all gifted by a greater energy. My gift is my art, it is the greater expression of self that I have the pleasure of sharing with others. For that I am incredibly grateful. Not a day goes by that I don't feel full of thanks that I get to share the divine aspect of myself with others by making for them. I believe that every piece I make has a connection to someone and it will find them once it is released. So, I pray when I make, after I make and before it leaves me. I ask for its owner to be found and that the vessel will bring this person it is meant for joy, happiness, health and prosperity. That is how I show up for creativity, by acknowledging that it is divine and every day I desire to do my job as thoughtful as possible.
Mandy Lechner - I keep my art supplies handy. I try to keep a project out, waiting for me. If I'm not feeling it, I do something else. I start another project or pick up one that I've laid aside. So I usually have four or five projects going. I think five is a good number. And I don't wait for some kind of mood to come. To refer back to a quote I heard a long time that has stuck with with me,"Write [or in my case, paint] at once and don't wait 'for the mood' The mood comes, in writing [in painting]." (Vivien Eliot to Henry Eliot)."
Ahhhhh. This honest, raw, soulfulness is why surrounding myself with creative folks has been my most consistent good choice in life so far. There are many ways to feed the soul. While creative expression is a very potent and illuminating way, so are things like gardening, volunteering, climbing trees, meditation practices, reading books, and deep human-to-human connection. I don't have to tell you. You know what does it for you. Though whatever it is, and however you do it, here's this important reminder: when you show up for yourself and feed your soul, you simultaneously feed the collective good of humankind. It's never selfish to show up for yourself in a way that enlivens and invigorates. Never, ever, ever. My highest hope is that when you finish reading this, you show up for you. And please don't be shy.... share with us your unique way of doing so.