Where in your life are you trying to be perfect? Where is it not even obvious anymore because perfection and not feeling good enough are habits? How can you see it differently?

 

The object isn’t to be perfect ... and more...



The object isn’t to be perfect ...

Quote- about journey.

"The object isn't to make art,
it's to be in that wonderful state
that makes art inevitable."
~Robert Henri

The object isn’t to write, it’s to be in that wonderful state that makes writing inevitable.

The object isn’t to complete something; it’s to be in that wonderful state that makes completing something easier, but more importantly is that state. That state is life. Life is not the painting, the book, or the finish line – it’s a process and the way you choose to feel in the process of creating is either happiness or hell. If it’s hell, good luck with perseverance - a key to success.

The object isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be in that wonderful state of participating in life
with love, acceptance, and curiosity–
it’s to participate period -
because to be in those states the experience is
what's important versus dismissing it as a quest for
perfection where nothing is good enough because perfection isn’t possible.

Where in your life are you trying to be perfect? Where is it not even obvious anymore because perfection and not feeling good enough are habits?  How can you see it differently?

I get to remind my perfectionist self regularly that what I’m doing is “close enough ” and in that reminder is a freedom that makes the process more enjoyment. Showing up is what makes life happen - and how it happens is something to be curious about, not judgemental. Even if it's showing up imperfectly.  

Angel with cat

 

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Five Ways to Fool Yourself into Creating

Fool3
Happy April Fools Day!

Sometimes the only way I can show -up for my creativity is by fooling my fears (the world of irrational thinking that leads to avoidance, resistance, and odd preoccupations with flying lint). Since today is a day of fooling, I'll share some of my sneaky secrets about how to fool your fears JUST in case you run up against creative-intention-interference too.

 

1. Reframe First Attempts
When I redefine the purpose of beginning or returning to a creative endeavor as generating a mound of material with no merit, I accumulate writing or art  I can then work with over time with trust and relentlessness to make it better. If I don't get a good product I do get more relentlessness which comes in handy for most things in life. If I expect great stuff at the beginning, I become the fool because that's just my ego being delusional.

 

2. Use Reverse Psychology
Mock-up To-do list:

  1. Play on social media for 3 hours
  2. Shoot photos of my cats and manipulate them in an app for HOURS
  3. Fall down the rabbit hole of You-tubes 

Creative people often rebel against their own intentions.  Antidote: Put the activities that normally DISTRACT me from my creative passions on my To-do list and instigate rebellion by showing-up instead, for a poem, a paragraph of writing, a drawing, or daydreaming about my next step, even if it's just 5 minutes (which often turns into longer). It's employing the rebellious nature in the direction of creative reward versus immediate mind-numbing gratifi-nothing. 

 

3. Occupy the Critical Brain
The relaxed and intuitive state of creativity often shows-up in the shower, while driving, doing the dishes, walking, or during other no-brainer activities. Actually you are using your left-critical brain in these endeavors, so the right-creative brain can sneak in some air-time. I start my creative time by doing something that gives me the ability to think about my creative endeavor.
While occupied, I ask questions like:

  • What tiny next step can I take?
  • How can I make it easy to show-up?
  • How can I approach this in some new way?
  • What if.....?

Taos upside down painting 4. Turn it Upside Down
The ego was fooled when I created the painting to the right. I wanted to draw this image so I turned it upside-down, which took away all pressure to be perfect. Take that! Ha!

5. Be a Fool

Sometimes when I don't know what I'm supposed to do, I get further in the creative process because I act without having to know everything. It's refreshing to let go of abiding to preconceived notions, rigid rules, and the "shoulds" invented by others. 

6.  Eat Banana-Cream Pie
B.C.P. has properties that make brilliance automatic, genius a no-brainer, and instant access possible to answers to trivia questions you didn't think you knew. 

 

Either that or this is the April FOOLS! section of this blog-post. 

 

Extra Credit: Copy this teapot - then turn it over without spilling.

Or write a three line rough-draft poem or haiku about having tea.

Upside down tea pot

           

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The Pleasantly Plump Lady and the See-Saw: Or Sensitivity is a Pain in the Ass

Turtle [Converted]

"Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun." ~ George Scialabba

I like to get the most out of the accessories I was endowed with as a human. Such as my imagination. The things our imagination can do for us is limited only by, well, our imagination.

One of the things I do, when needed is get rid of painful obsessions with imaginary scenarios.

If you're creative, chances are you're also sensitive. High sensitivity is a gift in the creative process. Intense feelings are amazing triggers for poetry, painting, music, plays, writing, and large portraits of our moms riding Harleys.

Sensitivity is also a pain in the ass.

The unpleasantries of life can be amplified when you're a deep feeler. Experiences some people just brush off like lint can be experienced by the sensitive creative person like a haunted house where the same unnerving thought is lurking behind every corner, jumping out at you from under the sofa, and ruining a day that could be filled with reverie, laughter, and papaya.

Ever have one of those awful thoughts that won't leave you alone? Or your blood pressure gets out of whack because you're rehearsing a squabble in your head with THAT-THAT person?

Or sometimes you let your self-criticism buzz around your brain like a killer mosquito circulating your ears in the middle of a restless night? If you answered yes, read more.

If you answered no, you're done here.

So I'm going to share with you kindred creative-sensitives about how my slightly eccentric imagination saves me from life's cruel and merciless moments (which is a creative person's melodramatic way of saying, "life's stuff that happens because we're alive.")

So take a thought that bugs or terrorizes you. If you don't have one right now, apply this at the appropriate occasion: family? people who push your buttons? unfair politicians?

First, neutralize the thought by making friends with it. We're human and we sometimes get caught up in treacherous mind storms, replaying things over in our minds, and then coming down on ourselves for what we think we ought to have said, or we blame, resent , or engage in other garden variety self-flagellation at its very best.

Acknowledge that you are human and know that as a human, self-torment is kinda normal. Welcome to the species.

Now that you're aware of it, try something creative instead. Here's where imagination is activated and logic is suspended. Something Albert Einstein endorses.

Imagine that you could put the thought in a little tiny box with shiny silver wrapping paper, (perhaps with a hologramatic sheen), tie a multicolor ribbon around it (I prefer satin). Attach a little card that says, "Okay then, bye, bye. "

Place the little gift box with the treacherous, (now neutralized), thought on the down end of a seesaw (Remember those? Popular before injury lawsuits applied to playground equipment) … and stand back.

Look up, out of the white fluffy cloud-shaped clouds is a pleasantly rotund woman wearing a tutu, holding an umbrella, laughing wildly and I mean raucously guffawing and falling at just the right speed down to the upside of that seesaw. Boing!!!

The little gift box with the treacherous, (now neutralized) thought goes flying through the air to the nearest ocean which is conveniently located within your sight (because in the creative process things are NOT linear, they are free to be where we need them).

The gift is flying through the air, (as I said earlier but I have a short attention span so am repeating it again just in case you do too) and some sea gulls are batting it back and forth until they get bored with the little gift box with the treacherous... (you know) and it falls into the ocean where dolphins nab it and tag team it around in circles for awhile before they TOO get bored with the little gift box with the now, rather pureed thought and it falls to the bottom of the ocean and is eaten by a large sea turtle named Cecil because this happens to be on his diet this week.

(Sea turtles have a very hardy composition and annoying thoughts are filled with calcium which a growing turtle needs for good shell maintenance), and because it IS in fact delicious. Cecil breaks out in a huge smile so wide that his eyes narrow into two little happy slits. By this time the thought, because of this elaborately absurd (and yet delightfully entertaining — at least to the author) story, has completely lost all of its negative charge. If it hasn't and it comes back, I just think of Cecil's happy eyes.

And that's how the imagination acts as something that can salve ("save" with an added "l" for love) the highly sensitive creative person's obsessive thinking.

Other short cuts:

  • Brush the thought off as if it is lint.
  • Swat it like it's a mosquito.
  • Replace the thought with an image of you flying over a field of radically majestic beauty.
  • Do a yoga balancing pose like Tree. (Yoga muses wipe self-torment clean with a spiritual cleansing fluid unavailable in any store.)
  • Imagine the thought in a cartoon bubble over your head, a seagull comes by and eats it, and then watch as the seagull flies over the horizon.
  • Give your cat a bath. •
            
 

Head Tilt

Tilted

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” ~George Bernard 

 

One of the phases we traverse in the mindfulness creative program called Finding Uber Bliss is to see things differently; it's called Head Tilt.

I love how this painting humorously captures a tilt. Humor is a necessary medicine for me. It helped me survive a difficult childhood - it gives me the relief I need when I see the news, and shows me absurdity in a way that liberates my disillusions.

This concept may pertain to our politics now, but if you're not in that place, it can be directed to any aspect of life's challenging kicks in the ass. Here's to a tilt that might help you.

For me, creativity is not only the process of writing and making art. It's resilience, freedom, and empowerment. It's fuel to our spirit and sustenance to our soul.  Art and freely expression continues to be vital to our sanity.

 

            
 

Trust Your Instincts

Pink city white sun

Dear Reader,

I just ran across the photo I took of this ^painting and was sad. I painted it a few years ago and then painted over the wild spontaneous city because I doubted my initial feeling of absolutely loving it. My partner at the time, told me I should stick to watercolors and I allowed his opinion to influence my feelings toward it. When I saw the photo, I loved it again, but alas, now it's a a kid holding a balloon. [drats]

Art preference is so subjective. What one person rejects, another may adore.

Trusting Our Instincts Comes into Play Two Ways in the Creative Process:

1. If You Like What You've Done... That's Enough!


If you're not sure if you like what you've created, put it away for a week ... or a year and then decide. Often we've forgotten our unreasonable standards and the random opinions of others. and end up appreciating what transpired in the moment.

More than once I've loved something I created and met up with people who didn't. When I stood beside the writing, performance, or art in question because I instinctively thought it was good, I got a huge pay-off because it was not typical, modified, or homogenized; it was distinctive, made others feel something different, and freed people to take risks too.

New approaches are often rejected. The more unique the idea, the more rejection we are likely to receive until the right audience embraces it. Then it is considered ingenious.

2. Go with Your Gut!
In the process, allow your instincts to speak louder than your fears or instructions you've heard from others. Think of the reward in possessing a high degree of spontaneity, where you regularly 'go with your gut feeling' regardless of what others may say or think. It serves you beyond the task at hand, it effects your whole approach to living. Our "gut" is our most wise accessory, it's our intuition.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.  –Carl Jung

Your instinct is the source of your creative genius, your gateway to innovative and inventive ideas, not someone else's rules.

When I painted this, I let go into the wild abandon in the moment. It was cathartic freedom, a process of joyful discovery, better than a ride at the fair.


Thank goodness I snapped a photo of my wild pink city with the quiet white sun before I painted it into extinction. I'm happy we have the technology to capture and savor various stages of our creative process  ... and of our wisdom.

 "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks,
breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun." --Mary Lou Cook

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