make art. transform life.

thoughts about creativity and  art:   live your life as your work of art.

How to uncover creativity in 9 steps

journal sketch I keep thinking about the drawings I would like to make. I want them to express my understanding of the spirit and sacredness in each moment. I just can't seem to focus on the thing that seem right for any length of time. I keep shifting from one concept to another that seems better...but my expectations are dashed and I feel deflated and defeated.

How sad.

I know I can do this.

So I pick myself up with my Moleskine sketchbook and go out with my dear husband to draw in a nearby arboretum.  How lucky I am to live near such a beautiful space. ifind the first place to comfortably place myself and my sketchbooks. I dedicate my time to only observing...not judging. I document what I see and feel.

What I notice, changes, as I observe and make my marks. I give up the certainty of knowing where I am going in my work. I let my hand and spirit lead. After a few attempts and without expectations I find my drawing has revealed more than I expected to me. You may see the drawing on the left. Click on it to see other journal sketches, most of which I have done since the new year began.

The same process can be followed in your life. Sometimes you just can't control things the way you want. Life isn't going the way you imagined it. Whoever told us that it would? Being creative occurs when you take what is in your imagination begins to take form in something tangible.

"Every moment you choose, is art.”  Ikko Tanaka

Does that ever happen to you?  You know you have some great ideas inside of you, but don't quite get them on paper the way you would like. Or you have an idea of a difference you would like to make in the world and it never seems to happen.

Get physical! Just start! Over thinking can sometimes be a way to procrastinate making the commitment to yourself.

  • Make a physical movement and  begin to create your idea. Begin to change things physically around you to support your creation.
  • Set a time limit. Take one day at a time.My initial limit was two hours.
  • Do not expect to know the outcome of your efforts.
  • Respond to your own work as you are creating it.
  • Be ready to begin again and again and again until it feels right in your gut.
  • Be honest with yourself. Do not make a mark, write a word, sing a note or teach a lesson just because it looks like it is ok. Make this "mark" because you  feel and know that it is true.
  • Set it aside to look at later.
  • Love the great parts of what you have created.
  • Begin again the next day.

As the poet Wallace Stevens said, “Art helps us to live our lives.”

“Art reveals meaning- through the process of creation and the process of observation.”

Shirley Tilghman at Princeton’s 262nd Commencement 2009

Find other ideas about how to jumpstart creativity, I recommend you read Mary Jaksch' blog post at   Goodlife Zen,and check out the video of Alan Watts at the end speaking of work as play. Find more ways to get at that creative side of you at Zen Habits with Leo Babauta.

Don't forget your 6 changes for the new year. Keep on going boldly through your days!