The other day, I was feeling afraid when I sat down at the drawing table. Worry about the future, diffuse memories and old inner stories were filling up my head.
I drew some of the words & T. and Fant in my thought book. Choosing the colors, lovingly filling the image with nuances, I was suddenly flooded with compassion toward my small friends. They looked so scared, hunched up under all of that mental crap. I felt my heart open wide.
Did I really want to scare myself, frighten the animal friends in my imagination? A rush of decisive artistic fury overtook my body. I grabbed my marker and quickly drew the net around those pesky words. My friend the squirrel jumped on the page with his airplane, volunteering to tow away the mental manure.
In the midst of drawing, I remembered my power.
Which tune are you listening to in your mind today?
In art school, they always used to ask me why. Why does the tiger have to have big paws? Why can’t the giraffe be drawn on a huge slab of concrete, instead of in a note book? Why do you draw animals, can’t you draw something else? Why do you insist on packing your art work with color?
While I understood that the purpose of art school was to learn and accepted the validity of the teachers’ questions, I couldn’t answer.
The world of imagination is built on sensual experience. Things are. All relevant questions have a sensual, experiental quality that accepts the isness of things. “Is there movement in the picture?” “What happens between the tiger and the why-cart?” “If you walk through the picture plane, what is behind it?”
Whatever it is that emerges from imagination is born impulse by impulse, built moment by moment, always listening closely to the next step in the midst of the unknown. Imagination responds poorly to analysis, because the premise is different from how rational thinking works.
So, when you are immersed in imagination, don’t even try to answer the question “Why?” Instead, explore, sense, experience, dance, move, touch, create to your heart’s content. When you come back to everyday life, there will always be time for answering questions, if you haven’t happened to stumble upon them, while having fun.
There is someone I’ve been wanting to introduce to you, for some time already. This is my friend, Rational Mind. He’s conscientious, hard working, polite, well-rounded, a worry-wart and highly perfectionistic. He works closely with my imagination and through the years, they’ve learned to respect each other. There’s one thing, though. He does. not. like. transitions, insecurity and change.
He tries his best, bless him. But at times, when surrounding structures crumble and the Unknown rushes into all the empty space that is left, Rational Mind goes “POP”. When he doesn’t understand a new direction I’m taking, he tries to translate what is happening through things that have happened in the past. So, sometimes, my imagination and I send him to Aruba, just to rest for a while. This is one of those weeks.
This week is all about art. No meetings, no budgets, no worries. The world of art and imagination have room for any human expression, experience and feeling. There is a surrender and trust that exists in lines drawn on paper, an arm expressing a turn of rhythm, words giving form to a moment of grace, clay expressing a mystery, or whatever it may be. No words are needed. No analysis needs to be conducted. There is just experience, sensing, living.
Rational Mind needs not be the only one responsible for things like money, housing, food, paying bills. But the processes are different. When Imagination gets to lead, we start in the wilderness, knowing nothing, feeling everything. The practical solutions are born out of this.
Rest well, Rational Mind. See you next week.
What does your Rational Mind need today, to feel safe?
I drew this one on the bus, looking out the window. There, in a pile of dirt was a polar bear, hiding. The people sitting around me were glancing sidelong at the chuckling drawing colorful person, but soon forgot about it and went on with their bus ride. There is nothing like imagination to make life interesting.
There is a play space available for all of us. It is where imagination, our senses, our impulses, intuitions and feelings come together in creative play, envisioning new things and art making.
This play space presents an opportunity, because it allows us to move beyond the personal, beyond good and bad, into a world that consists of different phenomena that can be combined in creative ways so they form something new.
We can learn to have access to this way of being in the world in any moment. In play space, anger isn’t something to take personally and be frightened or triggered by. Instead it is a powerful energy that can be used for movement and response. Mistakes become opportunities for exploration. Feelings become phenomena to be explored.
What color is your frustration? What form does your tiredness take? Where in your body does your vulnerability live? What kind of a movement does your yearning create in your elbows, how could it be expressed?
In this space questions like: How does it move, does it have a direction, what is the sound, how big is it, is it heavy or light, can you jump into it, does it expand – make sense. Good, bad, beautiful or ugly loose their meaning, because in the sensual world, things are what they are. They can be sensed, experienced, felt, explored, moved, combined, molded.
When you come out of the play space, it is time for harvesting, choosing what you take into your more or less rational every day life, and in which way.
Often, access to your own play space allows you to remain functional, present and able to create, respond, stay in contact in situations that would otherwise overwhelm you with their intensity.
Today, staying in my play space allowed me to clean the whole house with pure power of aggression, having been unable to sleep because of the Engineer’s snoring and some other things. It also allowed me to identify how difficult it is for me to relinquish control when I’m scared and living in a state of uncertainty.
I could dance with the hot sudsy water, making the dishes. Hold compassion for my inner control freak seeking relief by attacking stains with a wash cloth. Go lie on the bed on my belly, feet in the air and say: “I’m not angry, I’m scared.” Laugh when my son decided it was a good time to come tickle my feet. Move move move with the different phenomena in the life of one artist and her family.
Today I remember that what is important is the ability to feel, respond, love, receive, enjoy the experience of being on this nutty planet. The details will work themselves out, one by one. They always do.
You may or may not have noticed that I only published two blogs last week, instead of the promised four. It happens pretty regularly to me that my imagination goes: “Ahem, are you really expecting me to produce stuff on assembly line time?” If I’m on a deadline, I usually answer, “Yeah.” and then this happens. The creative fountainhead starts to trickle, imagination disappears and everything turns dreary.
I’ve been appeasing my runaway imagination for the last five days, with romantic, candle-lit novel reading sessions, watching Ylvis, Jason Bateman and Jim Carrey on youtube and going to the movies with my kids. Today I got the first, slightly condescending idea. I’m relieved.
What nourishes your imagination, what brings back the fun?
*Wishing you a week filled with kindness and creativity.*
I’ve been pushing, lately. I had a long work stretch, which easily activates my “conquer all” automatic mode. That happened this time as well. Being a Highly Sensitive Person, as defined by Elaine Aron, I am easily overwhelmed by strong stimuli, intense work stretches and such. What I should know by now, is to rest enough during and after challenges. Instead, I’ve been pushing through and whining about how tired I am.
So, yesterday, after my imagination closed shop and told me there would be no more ideas until work was fun again and my body took on paralysing fatigue, I called my wonderful hubby (who gave me the idea for today’s illustration) and when he came home I promptly went to sleep. At 5p.m. The best!
How do you know when your imagination calls it quits and what do you do, to bring it back from vacation?
As a result of this latest blog project, to publish a drawing or painting some four times a week, I have experienced an expansion of imagination. It seems that I am more aware of the artfulness of everyday life, the poetry taking place between people in human encounters, the trust in life’s carrying power that whispers in the air in every moment, the performance like malleability in conflicts; stepping away from drama or smack into it?
For me imagination is a dimension that is present in every day life, bringing a tinge of magic with it. Our awareness of it can expand or shrink. The key to imagination is not so much thought as awareness and experience. The key keeps changing, moving, transforming, appearing in new places.