Friday, November 4, 2011

Writer's Block

What do you do when you can’t write? Someone asked me this question recently and I gave her a long list of ideas to help her get back into writing again. As I was driving around this afternoon I realized that the plain and simple truth to absolve writer’s block is simply to write. I have certainly had “writer’s block” many times and really what that means for me is that I start to write and then I critique it or think it’s bad writing and then I simply stop. I dreamily await some inspiration to come and visit me with hopes that I’ll then write something simply amazing that the world has been waiting for! But, usually that “inspiration” doesn’t come and then I get frustrated.

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of art and I’ve come to understand that if I wait for inspiration to come I will never make art. Writing is a practice, something that you show up for and have to put the time into, at least that’s been my experience. On the rare occasion a wonderful burst of writing will seemingly come out of nowhere, but for the most part I must show up to the page, listen, write, and keep the words flowing. You write your way through writer’s block.

Paper Cutting

I watched a TED video last night about this artist who does paper cutting. As I watched her talk about her work, as well as show her pieces I was so inspired by her. This woman did many odd jobs for years and then one day she knew that she had to start her life as an artist and she began paper cutting. I have only recently begun an obsession with paper. Working at a store that sells papers has definitely led me to a greater appreciation of paper. Paper is so much more challenging than I ever would have thought because humidity affects it, as well as thickness of paper affects what you can do with it. I have begun making paper sculptures because I’m a fierce recycler & hated to see the scraps of paper go to waste. Now, after watching this woman on TED I want to challenge myself and start cutting the paper. Paper cutting have always intimidated me because once you cut you can’t go back. There is something so permanent about it & that has scared me! Eek. But, now I am looking forward to the challenge & to see what I can cut & can create. Here’s to the first cut!

I will post pics once I start cutting & am kind of excited to see what will happen. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Who is my favorite artist and why?

I would have to say that probably one of my all time favorite artists is Kandinsky. Why? I discovered him when I was in high school and it was as if an entire world opened up within me. I felt as if I understood something about his internal landscape and the way the shapes related to one another on the canvas made sense to me. For some reason the fact that the shapes were largely abstract and not entirely recognizable made sense to me. The reason why I first picked up a paintbrush was as a way to communicate to him. I wanted to try and express what I felt about his paintings and the only way that seemed to make sense was to paint it.
Really, many of my early paintings were a conversation with Kandinsky, trying to express my gratitude for his works and how they affected me. In my teenage years having found his paintings meant that there was someone else who created a world not entirely made of picture perfect representations, but rather as more expressionistic.

I have since grown to have a respect and appreciation for all types of art, but I will probably always have a fond spot for Kandinsky’s work and how it began to open up that internal creative space within me. I feel in many ways my creative life has been largely informed and built upon his works.

Giving Thanks

So my friend Kathleen was great enough to offer me up an idea this morning! This is actually a great topic as I like most folks around me are discouraged about the state of our economy. It seems people are scared and worried about what has happened, what is happening, or what might happen in the future. I too wonder and have had dizzying thoughts about jobs, money and security.

I have been doing lots of reading by various yogis, mystics, and just plain wise women and men. Here’s what seems true to me: that what you focus on actually does increase (I’ve done my own intentional & unintentional experiments with this) & that in this moment I am well. I am sitting in a warm place and have a lovely cup of coffee next to me, have enough to eat for breakfast, and will head off to work within the hour. I read in a book by Jack Kornfield that as part of his practice he said thank you throughout the day, many times he verbalized this out loud and other times it was a silent “thank you.”

I think about that a lot as I start yet another day & do I succumb to fears and worries? I’ve been practicing lately to give my attention and energy to what I do have because I can’t control the economy, can’t control the job market, and can’t control the government and politicians. I can be where I am in this moment and simply say, “thank you.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Letting Go

I am heading into my third month of yoga teacher training and am realizing that my teacher teaches me so very much, but in none of the ways I expected. I have spent twenty-two years of my life in school, which means I have accumulated a B.A. in English Literature, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and most recently a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. After finishing up my B.F.A. last December I swore fervently that I would not return to school. Well, I sort of kept my promise. What I ended up doing is plunging into the yoga world and deepening my practice through yoga teacher training.

A friend recently asked me how my teacher training was going and I responded that most of my formal education has been spent consuming and regurgitating information and facts; however, yoga training is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Yes, we have a great deal of “book” learning to do: anatomy, Sanskrit terms, yoga history and philosophy. We also spend a great deal of time practicing the asanas (poses) and remembering their English and Sanskrit names. But, really my yoga journey has been about an extreme letting go, letting go of thoughts, limiting beliefs, prejudices, and lots and lots of fears. Quite simply, it has been a shedding process for me, letting go of so many mental beliefs. At times this process has been painful as part of me wonders who am I without these beliefs I have carried around for so long? Most of the time I feel lighter without these beliefs, some of which aren’t even mine, and feel more myself than ever before.

So what has my teacher taught me? Interestingly enough what I have learned from him goes beyond what he verbalizes and teaches. His presence conveys and transmits a larger volume of knowing. It is his being that speaks clearly and directly.

At the onset of this teacher-training journey I was worried that I might be changed by this experience and now I know that I will be and I am grateful and thankful. I will most certainly not be the same person who began the training and I am excited to see whom I become as I continue to let go more and more and let my own presence begin to speak clearly and fiercely.