We all have stories to tell and art to make, and it's so very easy to let the voices inside and outside of our heads stop us.
But these stories, these pieces of art...collages, paintings, batik, potholders, and more...well, each and every one deserves to come into to being. And, yet if we listen to the naysayers, to the "let's be practical" folks, to everyone who wants us to toe the line in some way, well, most of what lives inside our heads and hearts never comes into fruition.
Last weekend, I listened to Jon Katz and Tom Atkins talk about creativity, most especially writing. Commonalities emerged, and they emerged when I listened to Maria Wulf and Carol Law Conklin as both worked with fabric in some way. These precious bits we need to internalize run right across the spectrum of living creative, not substitute lives.
We need to remember to create for ourselves and to keep creating whether folks approve or disapprove. We are gathering the bits and pieces of our lives for us, to make ourselves whole, and a part of us ends up in anything we create. How could it not?
What we create is important; we need to acknowledge this - well, more than acknowledge it. We need to honor it, make it central to our days. It doesn't need to be huge, it might just be 20 minutes as we can grab them.
It doesn't need to be a huge finished project, but we need to do it, to trust what we have to say. We might go astray, even produce something we think should never see the light of day. (Although, others might just disagree!)
So many of us, myself included, find all sorts of reasons to not sit down and write, make art, sew, etc. Sometimes we're afraid of those external voices judging us, judging what create, or judging how we spend our time. They create so much noise in our head, that we just want to clap our hands over our eyes and give up.
More importantly, it's really the internal voices that stop us. Maybe we don't feel that what we have to say or create is anything new. All of it seems to have been done before, right? So, little old normal insignificant us - well, why bother? It's all been said and done before. I heard this over and over as our groups met.
But, as we began to listen, to talk, to share, we found out that we had unknowingly touched each others' lives in so many ways.
Sometimes, it's okay to put ourselves first, to claim what's important to us. Easier said than done, I know, because you see, I know I've apologized for taking my time to be creative.
We all need to stop this apologizing; we just need to stop. Everyone in our group love how being creative made them feel; we felt joyful and complete. Creativity nurtures our souls.
We need to push the judgemental voices, internal and external, right out of our heads. As Jon told us over and over, "The space inside your head is very very precious."
I'm lucky; I've found my safety nets, as Tom would say. I have so many supportive people in my life: a husband who understands that dinner might not make it to the table at a prescribed time because I lost all sense of time as I worked in my studio. I have Jon and Maria, who gently push, prod, and encourage me to claim my creativity, and even more so, to share it. I have Tom, who listens and then reminds me to invest in me. I have a wonderful sister, Denise, who reminds me over and over to let myself soar. I have family who tells me that what I create is pretty darn cool. I have the Creative Group, who leave positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions about what might make something better.
Plain and simple, these are the voices I need to listen to.
Photo of Mary Kellog and Jacqlyn Thorne, members of "The Creative Group at Bedlam Farm." Both ladies write beautiful poetry, and I am so grateful to know them.