Loneliness and Creativity

Observation on a Buddha Rock

I know loneliness
a rock separated from a streambed
My particular glamour
is less appealing here
Like this displaced rock
am I commonplace
or too old

This rock
a misshapen Buddha
solitary Bodhisattva
witnessing the cleaving
remembering the whole

What dissension shattered humankind
into separation
Lonely and separate as this scarred rock
perhaps once praised for its cool detachment.
Who cares to take the time
to decipher the untold encrypted story

A star has fallen
to the bottom of the sea
fossilized
while a starfish rises
in the darkening sky
experiencing
alternate realities

God is in us–
is all right with the world
Has the solitary rock learned compassion
Is that the panacea for loneliness

by Christine O’Brien

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In her book, Freeing the Creative Spirit, Adriana Diaz guides the artist/reader/ creative explorer, into many exercises that enable creativity. The subtitle of her book is: “Drawing on the Power of Art to Tap The Magic And Wisdom Within.” One of these exercises invites the reader to find a rock. And then, to sit with the rock, examining its many surfaces. To see the rock as a living being and to become in some way intimate to its experience. To draw it from its various angles and perhaps to write about it as I’ve done in the poem above.

We seldom do this, stop and be present with an inanimate object. Who has the time? I certainly didn’t when I had a bustling household with children, husband and pets, a part or full-time job, extended family. I wonder though, if I had taken the time, even once-a-week, if I wouldn’t have been more present, more grounded and more available to myself and others if I had paused to deepen a connection to myself and to something in nature.

I titled this blog Loneliness and Creativity because when I feel lonely and venture into the creative space, loneliness disappears. In the naming and writing of this poem, the feeling of loneliness dissolved into “art.” Have you experienced that? It’s almost magical, in fact it is magic. It’s an alchemical experience. The base ingredients of one’s loneliness, feelings of isolation or separation blend with the pen, the paper, the paint, the brush, the clay, the camera–whatever the medium that you are using–and are changed into something higher and lighter.

I’ve experienced this more than once. And I know that I’m not the only one. When Covid hit the headlines in 2020 and we were told to isolate, I began to post photos on my Facebook page of the beauty that surrounds me living here in the mountains. Those of us who live here see it daily. However, I have family and friends who don’t live here and since I believe that beauty lifts the spirits, I made a commitment to do this. In this way, I connected with others indirectly. And, I also allowed myself to be the witness with the camera who recorded this beauty. And this beauty was a salve for me too.

All of this to say, we each have creative resources. Regardless of what any former teacher or person of influence in your life might have once told you, we are all artists and our unique way of expression has value for oneself and others.

Getting Comfortable within the Creative Process

bird.cafe1 I did not invent this; I found my way to it intuitively. And at the time, I named it process-oriented writing before I heard it had already been named. Ira Progoff, Ph.D., is one of the hallmark leaders in the development of process-oriented writing. And there have been many others who have taken this idea and run far and wide with it. This is part of my spiel on it–the one I wrote on my brochure when I was giving creative writing workshops.

“In a fast-paced, product-oriented society, process is equated with laboring. We want the prize and we want it now! We continually discover that once we achieve a particular goal, dissatisfaction sets in and we fixate on the next goal and the next. Understanding this, leads one to appreciate–PROCESS–which is the never-ending journey.  To be a writer of depth, it helps to engage your own process.”

We live in a society that is bent towards PRODUCT at all costs.  We want something complete.  Something SELLABLE.  Something desirable (to ourselves, our audience or our clients).  We think that we want these things above all else.

The creative spirit sees this goal-orientation differently than the popular norm. The creative spirit wants to re-create you as it potentially creates a product! In other words, the finished product is sort of a by-product of your own creative process.  While the creative spirit wants a commitment from you–that you are going to show up to the page, the canvas, the draft table, workbench or sewing machine, it also wants to break free from the requirements of a system that doesn’t truly elevate the intention of the creative spirit–that is, fostering your own growth.

Contemplate the flux and flow of your own creative process over the course of your life. When you were in process with a piece, were you excited?  Did you feel anticipation, anxiety even? Did you get stymied, stuck and have pitfalls that ultimately lead to breakthroughs?

Writing Prompt:
Choose a work in process which you’ve tucked away for sometime or a piece that you are presently working on.  Get quiet and present; reread what you’ve already written, at least some of it, and then enter into the energy of this piece. Continue from where you left off, following your flow with this piece. Write for at least thirty minutes.

Afterwards, notice what happens inside of you when you re-engage with and follow the flow of a piece?  Were there obstacles?  Was there ease?

Today, appreciate where you are at in your creative journey.

 

Writing from the daily mundane–Part One

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from the Tao of Women, by Pamela K. Metz & Jacqueline L. Tobin

“The muse’s energy is tapped when you stop
and listen to the silence inside.  Creating
sparks of brilliance from barely glowing
embers, she is only a breath away.
Expressions of the self wait to be birthed.
Look to the potter’s hands, the weaver’s eye,
the basket maker’s techniques.
The creative spirit lives on in women’s tasks.”

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One way that we tap the quiet space inside is through our repetitive tasks.  Though society has devalued women’s work, we no longer need to abide that false notion for what has been termed mundane is often where we find our muse–especially when we are able to be fully present with the task at hand.

WRITING PROMPT:

  1. How do you perceive this quote from The Tao of Women?
  2. Consider ways that you experience creativity (in any form) in your life?
  3. Do you garner gifts from your daily repetitive tasks?  What are a few tasks and what are the gifts in them?

As you go about your day today, witness yourself in your repetitive tasks.