Monday, July 16, 2012

32/365: The Art of Reflection

Today I made:

time to reflect...
Mission Bay, San Diego 7/4/2011
It’s been a month since I began my 365 Days of Creative project. One valuable lesson I learned in my years as a teacher is that it's crucial to take time to reflect on our work. This is where much of the learning takes place, becomes meaningful and permanent. This is also where we put ourselves in a position to revise our efforts if necessary, so we can continue moving in the right direction.  So here goes... This past month I have found myself: documenting the little moments of my day through photos, working through my muddled thoughts by journaling, playing with words to make poems, pondering my values, creating symbols of my point on this journey with whatever materials I have on hand, and sharing my gifts with the people I love.  While these are all creative things I was doing before I began the project, there are some major differences. I am showing up for myself, one way or another, every day. My daily practice has become a regular connection with my creative source. Sometimes I call on the source when I need it, sometimes it calls on me. It encourages me to pay attention to my inclinations as an artist and how creativity fits into my day. Again, I am reminded, the art is in the noticing. I know I am on the right track to discovering my personal symbols that will make my art more unique and meaningful. Not bad for a month’s work.

And what of my creative bursts? They lead me to think that my photography and writing need to be a bigger part of my mixed-media art, and that maybe making art for others really is leading me back to myself. These are two simple, yet valuable, conclusions that I could not rest my mind on a month ago. My next action steps: to make a list of all those unfinished projects I started for friends, to print some of my favorite old pictures for use in my work, and to dig through my my writings that may inspire me to put color on a canvas. 

My hubby, who has been cheering me on every day, reminded me that I’m one-twelfth of the way there. I appreciate that he can see the journey in such manageable chunks, the same way he does when we jog together with our eyes on the finishing point. When I go jogging by myself, I don’t usually set an end goal. I just run as far as my legs and lungs and mind tell me. My intention is always to just get out there and expend my energy in a healthy way. My project has been very much like one of my jogs: showing up, expending my creative energy in a healthy way and striving to reach a place of strength and assurance. I just go with my art where my hands and heart and mind tell me to.  I do think it’s time to push myself (with jogging and in art)- to push the limits of what’s comfortable, of what I thought I could do. The finish line is far off, the end result rather hazy, but I know I’m moving in the right direction and growing stronger with every step.

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