Creating Space


One of the hardest things about working from a home studio is all the distractions. Despite having no children, a housekeeper, and the ability to order goods by flicking a finger, distraction abounds.

When I began practicing yoga my teacher taught me the phrase, "We can always find an excuse to avoid the mat."  We know yoga makes us feel good and that it's beneficial to our health, but yet we continue to relegate our mats to the corner of a room. We'll get back to it, we tell ourselves, and let the distractions take over. 

Art is the same way. Paper slumbers in a drawer until we rouse it with pen or paintbrush. I know that every time I finish something (whether writing, drawing or cooking), I feel complete. I'm not alone. So why do we find an excuse to avoid the mat of our creativity? 

Now, I'm sure there are many people who leap from bed ready to work. At one time in my life, I was that person; and I will return to leaping because creative is meandering, if not unlike an ebbing rivulet. Throughout thirty-seven years, my creativity has disappeared, then reappeared, but it's always there.  I just may not have always been the one carving out its path.    

There were times when I was bold and brave with my art, making all the moves. There were art shows and publications, debuts and buzz. Then things changed, and a new marriage and unfamiliar country forced me to learn how to follow the flow of my creativity rather than to direct it. 

In fact, being a good follower can teach us to become better leaders. I recently watched a TEDx Talk that used swing dance to explain the reasons why you should learn to follow. Among them, following teaches you how to be engaged and how to listen to people, but I think we can also apply this idea to our work. The critical problem is that when we don't learn to follow, fear takes over and leads. 

For me, fear leading is me believing that whatever I create will be the last drop of my creativity. (Impossible!) Fear leading is not doing something because of negative reception. (Always consider the source!) In neither of these instances does fear serve me in any way except to limit my creative spirit. I know they limit others, too.  

I recently saw someone post online that they were looking forward to their studio day, the one day in the week that they devote to their creativity. I have always tucked creativity into the corners of my life, but after reading that post, I had an epiphany. Why not dedicate a day to my creativity and give it a name like Whimsical Wednesday? Why not make it a celebration? Creativity is a gift. From now on, I'm going to treat it like one. 

Mary Warner