Almost every morning, I spend time studying and writing about creativity and spirituality. I trust God to provide me with both the information I need to hear and the direction I need to take. This past year has been an interesting journey. I've read more books than the ones quoted below and they've all had an impact but these are some highlights that stood out.
If most people don't do what you do, and you're passionately pursuing Jesus with your life, then it's probably not just a human plan. The heartbeat of God is probably somewhere within it. We need you, just you, to fulfill that purpose, complete that project, bring that gift to the world in a way that no one else can. - You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth
This book practically vibrated itself off the shelf and into my hands. It was back in February when my e-reader broke and I had to buy a print book. I was perusing the shelves without my reading glasses and could barely see the text and it didn't seem to matter. The book was VERY insistent about coming home with me.
I remember praying that God would show me why this book quite quickly because I felt rather silly "listening" to a book. The quote above was on page eighteen. The words were the beginning of a calm around creativity as a career. I no longer felt like I had to actively make something happen. Rather, I felt that I was moving in the right direction and needed to simply put one foot in front of the other, do the work, and wait for the timing to be right. That feeling that I will at some point in the future once again have a career in creativity has never left me nor has the calm around waiting. I'm enjoying the space; thankful for the peace.
You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity. At the same time, it's important to recognize that demonstrating great technique is not the same as being creative. - The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe
There are three things I love with sewing. The first if fit. There's a challenge and an achievement to manipulating a two dimensional form in such a way that it sits on and flatters a three dimensional form. Aside from what styles suit my figure and which attributes will flatter my fashion personality, I love getting the pattern to fit well. And after that, my second love is technique. I get a high degree of personal satisfaction from a job well done whether I'm executing a familiar skill or developing a new one. First learning how and then learning how to do better is the way I approach life. However...
... both fit and technique could be labeled paint-by-number-ish from the perspective of once you've achieved good fit with a pattern, and once you've sewn it a few times, no matter which fabric you choose, you are simply repeating yourself... OR... at least... that's how I feel and it's not a feeling I like which led me to ponder what was it that engaged me and provided energy and nurturing and enthusiasm. For me, that's an element of not knowing. When I looked at the line study that I talked about yesterday - and at the parameters I'd drawn - it was becoming more a prison and less a passion.
Look at Joseph. There is no indication that God explained to Joseph what he was doing through those many years of heartache, or how the pieces would eventually fall together. He was expected, like you and me, to live out his days one at a time in something less than complete understanding. What pleased God was Joseph's faithfulness when nothing made sense. - When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson
Life got really messy in October, overwhelmingly so. Right now, there are things going on that are so difficult and so devastating that I can only talk about the situation in any depth with a few carefully chosen friends. For those who know me, that's scary in itself for they know my history and what that says about this situation and they know my preference for talking things out. I am learning to sit quietly with myself, to think through a situation on my own, to live with less drama, to cry in solitude, to deal with disappointment and disillusionment on many fronts, and to find a way forward. It doesn't make sense to me. I have to trust. And that takes a lot of energy.
The idea of the line study came before the mess and then, as time went on, and in light of this situation - the line study seemed more of what I didn't need - expectations and rules - and less of what I did need - energy, nurturing, passion.
Twyla writes: planning has to be sufficiently thoughtful and solid to get the work up and standing straight but it cannot take over. There's a fine line between good planning and over-planning. Yes... and so I made the bag... because I didn't want to let go of the structure I'd developed... it seemed like an anchor in the storm only instead it became a millstone... but where did that leave me... with a question. If not this, what next?
Researchers have discovered that weaving, sewing, and even chopping vegetables can be useful for decreasing stress - - - In general, from a mental health perspective, what you do with what happened is far more important than what actually happened. - - - Process not product is what we need to feel alive and well. - - - Things are given, things are taken away. Fate is fickle, and the best defense against challenging times is self possession, inner resources for solace. - The Creativity Cure by Carrie Barron and Alton Barron.
My faith is my most precious inner resource for solace. My creativity comes next. The morning after I finished reading The Creative Habit, while I was getting ready to go journal, I prayed about which book to study next and very clearly heard God say The Creativity Cure. I wondered why since I'd studied that book earlier this year, however, I'd asked, he'd answered, and it was on my shelf, available, and paid for. Those seemed good enough reasons. And then I read the quotes above and thought about where I was in life and the line study.
That first bag - the first step in the line study - was boring. It led to a lot of questions not the least of which were should I be making bags and should I even be doing a line study? Was this sudden discontent when I'd previously been so excited a warning sign to pay attention to or was it resistance - the critic - popping up her ugly head, daring me to back down. Those are difficult decisions on a good day never mind when you're feeling a little battered by life. When I mentioned them to a friend, she said make a second bag and see how that feels. I have no energy to begin and there's the answer.
I know how hard it can be in today's world to envision a future that is successful, purposeful, prosperous, stable, meaningful, and creative. You may think today is not the time to imagine. Life is too hard. Dreams are too unrealistic. Too impossible. The truth is you cannot allow what is happening in the natural - no matter how bad your circumstances look - to dictate what you imagine and more importantly, what God can imagine for you. - Imagine Big by Terri Savelle Foy
On Monday, I began a new spiritual study. Like the other book, it was insistent except this one didn't seem like the right book. Sometimes God has the weirdest sense of humor and timing. In the middle of this mess, he gives me a book about dreaming, about trusting that whatever it is that God has called you to do, he is going to give you a pathway to get there. The exercises ask you to pray about, think about, detail, and build a plan around your God given dreams. And that's okay. Except, I couldn't dream which - added to the dwindling enthusiasm for the line study and the lack of direction around any other options - became a huge road block so I went back to what I know for sure...
... which is that while now is not the time, I have a strong feeling that I will eventually teach creativity again. If this is so, now is the prep time. And if I am prepping for what I hope to teach, that begs the question what do I hope to teach because only by answering that question can I determine where I should be investing. And by asking the question, I am dreaming again... just a little... perhaps it will grow.
I don't know the details but I do know that if I were to have a career in creativity again, it would be around the work that I personally find exciting and around writing about and teaching others to explore their own individual creativity and unique style with clothing. About exploring not knowing. About being brave and stepping out and trying things to see what happens. About not being prisoners to our own creative fears. Prepping means more not knowing, more experimenting, more learning, more being brave, more trying things to see what happens, and more exploring my own individual creativity and unique style WITH CLOTHING.
I'm not looking forward to the new year. 2012 was such a horrendous year that I eagerly anticipated the start of 2013 with the expectation that things would improve. They didn't. They are significantly harder. From that perspective, I'd much rather stay in 2013 with the devil I know than risk that things can't get worse. They can. Only life's not like that. We can't stop time. It just keeps rolling along.
My goal for 2013 was do the work. That seems entirely appropriate for 2014 as well. To do that thing that I do and most people don't, to utilize discipline and habit to perfect my craft and encourage my creativity, to trust and realize that not all is within my understanding nor will it ever be, to engage in process and let go of product in order to feel alive and well, and to realize that no matter how hard and impossible today's situation may seem, there are still dreams to be dreamed and goals to be achieved and God will provide the pathway for getting there if I keep walking in that direction. This is a peaceful conclusion, one I can move forward with.
The pieces in today's posting are not new. They are ones that I particularly enjoyed creating or wearing for reasons of fit, technique, not knowing, or individuality and are shown here to remind me of the engagement and energy that they provided and to encourage me toward my goal. While I am prepping and learning and growing my skills, I would be happy to just make nice things and get enough sleep. That seems a big enough goal for the next year - however - over the next few weeks, I'll be working through Imagine Big and praying about where God is leading. It's not like me to be quiet - LOL - so some of those thoughts and directions are likely to come up. I'm pretty sure - VBG - they include paint, stamps, and stenciling because that's a topic that's really been dancing.
Until then, I wish you a wonderful holiday with family and friends and all the best in 2014. I'll post again in the new year.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - faith
P.S. In the comments section of The Perfect Goldilock Thread, Kristin wrote... This one seems more like your textile art than a piece of clothing - a trend
I've noticed in your work lately. And I see the ribbon as a metaphor for paths
crossing and the length of life as a journey. What a fabulous sentiment for the next year. Thanks Kristin. I've used that image in the new header to remind myself every day.
P.P.S - There is currently a problem between Microsoft and Blogger. I can't reply to comments and when I tried to load the new header, it was blurry and distorted as was the previous one when I reloaded it. The new header will appear asap once those two start playing nicely again.