Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Stepping through and past stuck-ness.

I remember taking Intro to Drawing in college. I went to a college with a block plan, which meant I took one class intensively for three and a half weeks. That meant my mornings were filled with instruction and demonstrations, and I spent my afternoons and evenings doing homework.

At some point in the middle of the course, as we were working on drawing boxes with dimensions, shading, and foreshortening, I began to feel stuck. I wasn’t the only one; the professor commented that many of us seemed stuck within the technique. We weren’t necessarily having fun. I know that I was focused on getting it “right,” and there wasn’t a lot of joy in it.

So my professor gave us a creative assignment, to draw whatever we liked, to draw without a subject, be abstract, whatever we needed to be. For me, it had the effect of shaking off the previous weight and allowing me learn the techniques while being a little less attached to the final result, and most of all, enjoying the process of working with the materials, such as ink and charcoal.

Sometimes, as I continue to deepen my practice of Nia and learn how to teach, I get caught in getting in wanting to be accurate, precise. I’ll get some feedback, I’ll think about it, I’ll take it into my movements. And maybe, as I practice, my movements will become more precise. But sometimes in this process, I lose the sense of pleasure in my movement. And since White Belt Principle #1 in Nia is the Joy of Movement, and Nia is something I genuinely enjoy, this feels problematic and counterproductive. During these times, I feel stuck in a similar way that I did in my college drawing class — in short, creatively stymied.

The other night, I went searching through emails from Nia Headquarters, trying to find a specific phrase that another teacher had referenced. Instead, I found this, a section from a newsletter written by Debbie Rosas, co-founder of Nia:

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know this – feeling overwhelmed comes from believing that you have to perform a certain way and at a certain time….Learning Nia has never been about performing. It is about connecting, relationships, joy, meaning, purpose, health, and well-being. And about saying what you sense and know. The result of doing Nia has always been the gift of self-healing and conditioning.

“I’m here to tell you: I don’t care if you miss the music cue or you cue between the three and the six. It is okay if you can’t do all the moves perfectly. It is okay if you can’t find the beat. What is not okay is if you deny what you know and don’t know. That keeps you down and stops you from getting where you want to go and be…”

I read this and felt relieved almost instantly. Yes, it’s important that I continue to learn and improve. It is absolutely essential that I continue to play, be creative, and enjoy what I do. Yesterday, I danced through a routine and focused only on finding and sharing what I sense. I gave myself permission to Free Dance through parts of it, too.  Afterward, I felt both more grounded and more joyful. It was good reminder for myself that I don’t have to tackle a bunch of approaches at once; one or two at a time can be more than enough, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to look a certain way.

And some more encouragement for me: Today, I talked to a studio owner about teaching Nia there, and I’m planning to teach a series (likely in April!) to try it out. So here’s to taking steps towards what I want to do.

 

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Evolving perspective (stream-of-consciousness poem)

I began this soon after the election in November, and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a while. I finished it this past weekend.

**
We categorize and decide what is and should be
these broad sweeping labels cross borders and state lines
dividing this from that, us from them,
and we find ourselves pointing our fingers at each other

We go on defense
I’m not like that, I’m not like them,
It’s you who is pointing the finger, not me

Maybe all our fingers are pointing at someone
Maybe we want an explanation, a rationale,
someone to applaud, someone to blame

When we generalize,
we can cut others down to

less than life-size.

It’s hard to be part of the problem and
part of the solution,
our cells are divided and our selves are
torn and
our communities are split into
many
different

pieces.

Sometimes, we turn away from
each other even
when we literally stand
side-by-side.

I don’t know
if i can tell you that
it’s always best to turn to each other
when we’ve got our boxing gloves on

I want to say:
Put the gloves down first, then listen.

What if we aren’t really fighting each other
but a system
that keeps us separate, apart
the words unify and compromise
don’t go very deep
when they’re used to
pacify, console,
cajole, silence.

We are a nation of many people,
interests, and opinions.

We are a nation of many communities,
individuals, identities.

Perhaps we have many definitions of what
freedom means,
whether freedom opens doors for free thought
or guarantees security
and safety from what?
the world outside our neighborhoods
an existential threat
a real life danger
the story changes with each teller

I want to be realistic without losing
my idealism, but it’s hard to live the
everyday reality where rights are
peeled away, day by day.

I tell myself to breathe,
take care,
take small steps.

Another day, another headline, with
more fears brought to light.
I watch the protests, the brave souls
on the front lines

I want to say
I am ready and willing to fight.
I see people comment about
the best way to stand up:
what and when and how and where…

I pick my battles, follow my own rhythm.
I pick up my pen
and begin.

Friday link roundup 6/10

Actress Kristen Bell discusses her depression.

A sexual assault survivor eloquently addressed her attacker in the form of a letter.  (Contains graphic description of assault).

How often has someone told you to smile for a picture or any other reason? Various cultures may value smiling differently.

Are self-sustaining farmpods the future of food? The owners of a pod in Santa Fe, New Mexico discuss their process and outlook.

France declares all new rooftops must be topped with plants or solar panels.

Creativity expert and author Julia Cameron reminds us that there is no age limit for creativity.

Love letter: Magic

magic

Sense of magic necklace from my word pendant series.

Dear magic,

When I was a child, so much seemed magical.  I thought half-constructed houses were in danger of being destroyed by the big bad wolf.  I believed in Santa Claus.  I found magic in nature as the wind blew through my hair, whispering to me.  My dreams were magical creations, wild and unpredictable.

I kept you in mind throughout the years, even if I became more skeptical, reluctant to believe as strongly.  Yet I kept reading about you in fantasy novels.  Magic, you are in the pages of books with wizards and wands, other lands, powerful beings.  In those books, you are often external, explicit, sometimes even tangible.  In the world I inhabit, you are often more internal and implicit.  My inner world has remained magical in many ways throughout the years, but I longed for you in a way I could touch and feel.

Then I found a community of women who called themselves priestesses; who taught classes about life and healing; performed rituals; taught me about my gifts with energy and empathy.  Now that I have left that community, I miss feeling like I could journey into other dimensions, be a powerful empath, energy mover, community leader.  I miss the feeling part of a movement, that I was magical and nearly unstoppable.  I recognize that I am still some of those things, but my perspective is much different now.  In retrospect, I did find a lot of my own magic there and then, but it was mainly through others’ eyes and with others’ purposeful guidance.  Now, I want to continue to seek and source you in my own way, through my own choices and means.

Magic, I am skeptical when I hear words and phrases like “manifestation,” and “magical [or positive] thinking,” or using you to turn thought into reality by the power of desire alone.  I think you are more than a simple belief or the power of calling in a desire of a dream.  To me, you are the fire in passion, in the playful and curious spirit of a child, in the deciding to get up after falling down. To me, you are energy, you are spirit, you are intuition, you are imagination.

When I am dancing, I sometimes feel you in the space between my hands, vibrating with warmth, and sometimes in the room when the class resonates deeply with the music and the movement. During my Nia White Belt, someone who spoke skeptically of energy and related things sensed me as I moved around her, and she’d never knowingly felt that before. The times I’ve taught, as I took my place at the front of the room, it was like being the wielder of movement magic.

Magic, you require faith and attention to details.  You play a vivid role in my creative life as I draw, paint, and make jewelry.  You are in my love’s smile, in the warmth between us, in the electric sensations that remind me I have a body and am also so much more.

I sense you as I touch trees, the rooted depth of age and wisdom; when I look up at the night sky and see the twinkling stars and the shadows behind a full moon; when I see the refracting light in a crystal.

I think you play a role in helping me keep hope, in finding joy and laughter in small moments.  Sometimes it’s just the edge of light on the horizon that reminds me of you, or something that seems eerily coincidental, and it’s like you’re whispering to me, “I’m still here.”  Magic, I haven’t forgotten you.  I am learning to find you in new ways, and on my own terms.

Friday link roundup 3/11

On turning adversity into poetry.

A sweet story of friendship. 

A great article from Everyday Feminism about Neurodiversity.  I’m so glad there’s continuing to be more information and advocacy out there.

The title caught my eye:  How to Dig a Ditch when All You Have Is One Spoon: Finding a Path to Productivity After Falling Apart.  On self-care, healing, and small steps towards moving forward in the midst of mental illness.

Temperatures continue to rise across the globe, reaching troubling milestones.

Why Doctors Care about Happiness:  why it’s important for doctors to ask about their patients’ moods.

Tuesday was International Women’s Day.  Pictures of women protesting around the world.  Older women making statements with their hair and appearance.

Spiraling towards wings

Mixed Media piece, 2012

Movement spirals out
Earth, water and fire nest
in the heart of community.

This, this is magic
As the woman creates her own life
She grows wings.

Friday link roundup 2/19

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I found this on Facebook and it resonated with me.

 

Unapologetic Body Love:  A Nia teacher shares a body-positive story and message on Rebelle Society.

Why aren’t there more treatments for menstrual pain and other related symptoms? This article addresses the stigma and lack of research.

St. Louis native and poet uses her words as activism to address issues such as racism, personal and community healing, and love.

Today is a Day of Remembrance: on this date in 1942, the U.S. government gave the order to put Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II.

The New York City Ballet held dance workshops for children with disabilities. The video about the process is definitely worth watching.

My hometown, Albuquerque, is hosting Women and Creativity events next month. As part of it, they are inviting people to make art and poetry trading cards to exchange with other participants. You don’t have to be local to join! Go here for more information and to sign up (sign up deadlines are in early March).

Susan Cain, author of Quiet – the bestselling book about the power of introverts – discusses the new book she wrote as a guide for introverted kids and teens, and how it may also benefit educators and parents.

SPD advocate Rachel Schneider released her first book this week! Making Sense is a guidebook for people with sensory issues and their loved ones. Check it out!