Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"The Unknown, The Territory of the Creative

I am hoping for rain tomorrow.  Did you hear me say that?  I can't believe I just said that.  But there is an ulterior motive.  If it rains I can stay in and paint all day!  Recently I have been weed obsessed.  I jump out of bed in the morning and race outside to spend time in the company of weeds.

 The definition of a weed is simply a plant growing where we don't want it to.  Aren't we bossy, we humans, wanting plants to grow only in particular places.  We are so not like the natural world that just accepts things wherever they grow.  I aspire to be more like nature but meanwhile I have my own ideas of beauty which doesn't include small green things growing in pathways and filling up ancient herb beds in a helter skelter sort of way.  And this idea of beauty comes with a cost.

I have spent many days working in my yard as a weed tamer, (not as dangerous as lion taming and no whip or chair required) hoeing and digging and pulling until my wrists and finger tips ache and my hands look like those of an ancient peasant woman.  I love it really, pulling weeds.  I love being outside with the birds and the squirrel, the deer.  I remind the quail not to eat the grass seed I've spread on some bare patches and listen to the buzz of hummingbird wings aiming themselves at my sagging prayer flags. I am treated to the strong sound and huge expanse of eagle wings cruising past me as I work.  Sometimes I think about the spiritual aspect of weeding.  As I pull each misplaced green thing, I think of weeding my mind of its less wholesome thoughts, it's worries, it's doubts, it's inclination to manufacture problems and blockages where really there is just open space and situations.

But back to painting and the creative life.  Here's a wonderful talk by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche where he takes a broad approach to creativity.  He talks about living creatively with openness and joy as essential ingredients to this way of being.  He invites us to open to our resistance and fears, to "host" them as he calls it.  He invites us to enliven ourselves by orienting ourselves to what's right in our life.  He teases that this will energize us more than a cup of coffee in a mid afternoon slump.

I also wanted to draw your attention to a great creative resource I have been exploring.  It's a site called the awakened eye created by miriam louisa who has been exploring the ground of creativity for many years.  She has a free 8 chapter ebook of exercises that I have plunged into which are inspirational and packed with years of exploration and teaching.  Her site also offers bios and links of artists that explore the dual path of spirituality and creativity.  She has kindly featured me there in her latest post.  Her list of artists is extensive and a fun place to wander away the hours.  I have discovered many amazing artists with fascinating orientations to their art.  Favourites of mine such as Frederick Franck (her site is a nod to Franck and his book of the same title, "the awakened eye"), John Daido Loori, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche all rub elbows together here.

I will end with a little teaser from the first of  miriam louisa's ebooks.  "Making things provides an opportunity to observe all the strategies we blindly, as well as intentionally use to avoid encountering the unknown.  The unknown is the territory of the creative."  Join me tomorrow at the corner of unknown and openness.  I'll be the one in the tatty sweater with the crazy hair and a rumpled paint brush in my hand.


  1. Oh my heart is so happy imagining Humming Bird and Eagle cruising about your zone as you tame your mind garden while squirrel and deer observe the process.

    And Miriam's included exercise is a lovely tease to wander over to see what she's been up to....awakening the eye...I feel so grateful to subscribe to the creative joy path.


  2. OH... I am so envious! Green as the grass outside my window. May you have many hours with wildbrushmind! Thanks for the resource. My eye (I) is in need of some awakening!

  3. Congrats on being featured on miriam louisa's delightful site! She did a wonderful piece on you... I shall delve into that ebook as well, and Rinpoche's talk. Need a little creative flow here - a little enlivening. I shall also schlep to that corner of unknown and openness and see if inspiration shows up :)

    Hope you got your rainy day!

    Love the face on your post today... Christine

  4. Merci 33 - ah yes the joys of spending time outdoors. and yes there is a huge basket load of goodies just waiting for you over at AE.

    108-Wildbrushmind I like it! Could apply equally to indoor and out!

    Mystic - I think you will be inspired by both Rinpoche's talk and the ebooks at AE.

  5. Bowing, smiling, thanking, dear C.
    ~ miriam louisa

  6. It was very relaxing to read about your weeding. Wow, I think I'd stay out in your garden for a long time if I had all that beautiful nature around me. I love to hear the birds here and even the beautiful bark of the neighbor's german shepherd.

    Hope some of the rain we got came through your area.

    I'll check out that ebook and AE.

  7. Oh my goodness, we are the SAME! After months of rain and cool weather, we had 4 days of sunshine and warmth and I just HAD to go outside and work and work and work All day for 4 days in my Zen gardens-- much weeding as they loved all the rain and cool weathers.. so I also really hoped for a rainy day so I could stay inside and get caught up on my blogging and back into my studio.. and I got the rain today! so here I am leaving a comment :-)

  8. Gallery J - thanks for dropping by. Ah the lush greenness is quite stunning right now!

    Layers - That's funny about the weeding. Those weeds have had a lot of water this year. It is satisfying to go out and make those beds look beautiful by doing the weeding and such a wonderful way to watch a day fly by.