Entries Tagged as: winter

Winter Guest Post by Mandy Steward

December 14th, 2011, Comments (7)

Yesterday a friend of mine shared a picture of his piled books for Winter. I felt a surge of inspiration tickle my fingertips upon viewing his picture. What is it about books and Winter? What is it about gathering some of the great authors to "sit with" through the cold months? I feel as though I am a squirrel, collecting acorns and tucking them into the hole of my oak, because when my artistic soul is ready to hibernate, I want to give it something to chew on. Winter does this to me.

I think back on last winter. I rose early. 5 AM. Sometimes 4:30 AM. The increasing amount of darkness that accompanies the winter was my protective blanket to push into vulnerable areas as an artist. "It's safe here," I felt the moonlight saying to me. You can read the novel Wicked and Madeline L'Engle's Walking on Water and there is time to simply ponder what secret messages they are whispering to you. You are cocooned by the warm walls of the Muse, and there is time. A white expanse of time, like the snow that makes everything look equal and tranquil. A heavy sheet of cushioning to freeze time, allowing you the luxury to sit with ideas.

The teal-colored pot on the stove is simmering and soon it will boil, and I will steep my tea. "Winter is for steeping," I think. Letting the creative waters sit still, not stagnant, but still, so the chai spices can swim around a bit and then settle to the bottom, releasing a sort of golden fog stream into the stillness. There is the hustle going on somewhere outside. The rush to buy presents. The urgency to make new year's goals. The necessity of getting family all together in one place to make merry.

"Can one force merry?" I wonder, sidetracked. I am introspective all the time, but all the more so in the winter. I am hibernating deep within my own skin. On the outside I carry on the traditions, but deep inside the winter tells me I am steeping for something great.

I know I have another book to write. I wish it would just come out. I wish it was just a matter of showing up, because I am here in my creative space at 5 AM, sometimes 4:30 AM, every morning. I know I am on the edge of new discoveries, of new ideas, of new ponderings, but the fireplace and my candles are lit in the Winter to remind me I am but warming up to the idea of what is next.

I am watching the shifting reds of burning embers, and I think I'm doing somewhat of a red tribal dance of my own. My body is motionless on the brown leather couch with the child scribbles in ink pen on the side, but beneath the surface of stillness, I know the energy is heating up and when it's time to ignite into flames I will. The artist must trust the winter. The sitting. The dark. The frozen blanket of white. The wait.

Wait and you will know when it is time, right? "Right?!" I ask with increasing anticipation. That's how it worked last winter anyway. I hibernated for a couple months, and then I ended up writing a book by February. Or was it March? Oh anyway, why would this winter be any different? But the doubts. Oh the doubts. And maybe even the pressure. Why do we put such pressure on ourselves? Isn't a joy to create?

There is mysterious expectancy in this place of Winter-trust. What are you up to? One has to wonder of the Muse. And meanwhile our soul pries off acorn tops and nibbles on the nutty flesh of inspirational book piles, tucking it away in our ever-expanding cheeks, knowing (or hoping rather) one day we'll get to wash it all down with a hot mug of chai.

And when that day comes, we will secretively double over in relief that the cosmos have proved we are in fact actually still an artist. One who danced in the embers at moonlight and didn't get devoured.

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Mandy Steward is an artist. She thinks you are one too. We are all painting on our own Messy Canvas. She invites you to be purposeful and passionate about what you are painting on yours.

Mandy likes to paint with words. Word pictures that reveal the spiritual that lurks even in the mundanest of moments. But she also doesn't like to limit herself to a medium, so she explodes wherever the Muse leads. Lately that has been in the pages of her art journal.

Mandy blogs at Messy Canvas. She has written four e-Books, including a free one for artists and a brand new one called Tomorrow's Dreams Today. She is also in the process of getting her first book published.

Winter Guest Post by Tara Leaver

December 13th, 2011, Comments (24)

 What to do when your creativity succumbs to winter

 

As winter starts to make its presence felt round here, I’ve been thinking a lot about cycles. About listening to my body and honouring its needs and what that really means. This is something relatively new to my Western monkey mind, for whom achievement is paramount, and only a certain amount of rest is permitted!

 

I’m a summer girl with a history of depression. Traditionally winter {which can be a long, chilly, dark and wet affair here in England} would take its toll on my well-being before it had even begun. I rejected the darkness and of course winter became something to dread and struggle through. I gotta tell you, I’m really tired of the concept of resigning myself to the belief that some things are ‘just like that’. 

 

My teacher has been showing me another way to approach winter. We all know about cycles – the seasons, women’s monthly cycles, Saturn Returns, to name just a few - but I’m not sure how often we really notice or accept them, let alone embrace them. We often seem to ignore or resist our personal cycles, because of commitments and jobs and things that Must Be Done. There is no time sculpted into our lives for honouring the quiet, ‘winter’ parts of our cycles. Winter is about resting, seeds waiting underground, animals hibernating. Nature knows and allows this; we can too, if we choose.

 

We creative types have our own cycles. Sometimes the inspiration is flowing fast and furious, and it’s all you can do to ‘get it all down’ quick enough; other times we feel stagnant or dry – nothing inspires us and efforts to force it result in frustration.

 

I learned the hard way that I must honour my creative cycle. Since I made the decision to just let it be what it is, to stop labelling it, judging myself, feeling disappointed or guilty or antsy or impatient about it, I’ve come to see my own personal cycle as something, well, beautiful actually.

 

We are often so unaccustomed to being gentle with ourselves. While I learn to apply this self- kindness to all the other areas of my life and leave the internal dark days far behind, at least when it comes to my creativity I have learned to give myself the ease of knowing that when it’s quiet and I haven’t been into my studio for days {weeks, sometimes}, the cycle will come round again. And in the meantime, if I let it, my creativity will reveal itself in other ways.  Even if it doesn’t, the focus here is honouring all parts of the cycle, not just the bits I may find easier or more comfortable.

 

Here are a few things I do when my creative cycle is in ‘winter’. They have evolved from trial and error, and are about giving myself over to it rather than trying to override or kick start it; perhaps they will help you too.

 

*Stop trying! Let the whole thing go like you just don’t care. Quite a challenge when your creativity is such a huge part of who you are, I know, but just trust me on this. What we resist persists, right? The more we poke at it and try to change it and don’t allow ourselves to accept it as it is, the more we are blocking the cycle from turning in its own time.

 

*Do something else. If you’re not yet ready to just not do, then redirect. If your thing is painting, try cooking {works for me!}. If it’s sewing, try drawing. If it’s photography, try writing. You get the idea. Sometimes our creativity needs new avenues to run down.

 

*Go outside. For me it’s the beach, every time. I started by just going there to sit; that has now evolved into me taking my sketchbook with absolutely no plan or pressure to use it. Sometimes I actually do use it. Sometimes I don’t. It’s all good. I have a friend who needs green; when she’s feeling uninspired or drained or stuck she goes out into the countryside, or even just the park, to get some chlorophyll and hug some trees.

 

*Distract your brain. If you’re giving yourself a hard time about how you haven’t done anything creative for ages, do something that gives you some respite from the chat in your head. Box sets often do the trick for me. You can’t get much less creative than lying under blankets passively watching images on a screen and sipping hot chocolate!  I’ve worked my way through the entire seven series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer doing this. {I know.}  I lay on the sofa and watched Buffy kick vampire ass until that familiar tickle inside drew me back into the studio without any decision making on my part. All I needed was to let myself have a time out, and for the cycle to bring itself round again.

 

What do you to do honour and embrace your personal creative winters? I’ve only touched on four of an infinite number of possibilities. Let’s put our heads together and lay out everything we’ve got. Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to honour all the parts of the cycle, even and especially the arctic wasteland parts. Share your wisdom

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Bio

I am an energy healer and artist living in Brighton in the UK. I paint with acrylics and mixed media, and my work is mostly bold and vibrant. I’m fascinated by symbolism and meaning, and love to bring my energy work together with my art to produce paintings that have infinite possible interpretations. And sometimes I just like to paint in pretty colours. :-)

 

Links

Website: www.taraleaver.com

Blog: www.taraleaver.com/blog

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/AquamarineArt

Facebook:  Aquamarine Art: Mixed Media Paintings by Tara Leaver

Winter Guest Post by Joanna Paterson

December 9th, 2011, Comments (10)

Winter Light

Creating with Darkness and Light

Creativity - like life itself - begins in darkness ~ Julia Cameron

The natural world reveals so many beautiful creativity lessons at this time of year.

Yes: the days are short, the earth is cold, the fields are a colourless dull-mud brown.

And yet, and yet:

Through the darkness we see a sudden splash of a rainbow cutting through a rain laden sky; a burst of sunlight illuminating that dull brown lifeless field; the pale wintry sun creating wild silhouettes with the bare bone trees, dancing like creatures of our deepest darkest imagination against the barren lines of the horizon.

It is all light revealed through darkness, pattern against the emptiness, life irrepressible through the shortest, darkest days.

And it is not just a light show.

It is a call to create: to make our own wildly dancing silhouettes, to illuminate with shafts of poetry, to paint a rainbow in shades of enchantment, to carve our words in pens dipped in the blackest of ink, dripping with colour and light.

To sing our songs of life, irrepressible, through the shortest, darkest days.

Heeding the call, and creating with darkness and light.

~~~

Joanna is a writer, poet and photographer who explores themes of creativity and connectedness with the natural world. She has recently published Earthflow: a book of photo-poetry inspired by places that call us home. You can find her blogging on landscapes, writing, poetry and practice at The Art of Everyday Wonder.

Winter Guest Post by Jamie Ridler

December 7th, 2011, Comments (3)

MP3 File

Step into this magical meditation from creative living coach Jamie Ridler and connect to the spirit of the season. Discover the gifts Winter has in store for you.

Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach and the founder of Jamie Ridler Studios. From coaching to workshops, from podcasting to blogging, Jamieís work helps women find the confidence and courage to discover and express their creative selves so they can be the star they are. Website & Blog: Jamie Ridler Studios Facebook: Jamie Ridler Studios Twitter: @starshyne Podcast: Creative Living with Jamie and on iTunes.

p.s. From Leah: A special shout out to Jamie, who's celebrating a birthday today. Happy birthday, Jamie! You're a shining star in the world!

Winter Guest Post by Goddess Leonie

December 6th, 2011, Comments (5)

How to stay connected to nature even when it's cold!

Hola gorgeous goddesses!

For me, a huge part of my creativity is feeling connected with gorgeous nature. Before I create I get my hands in the earth, my face in the breeze, I let my skin tingle with the love of the earth.

I call it sacred grounding.
 

What's so important about grounding?

Grounding helps us get out of our heads & into our spirit.

It helps our souls feel centered & at home.

It helps to invigorate & inspire our creative spirit.

And most of all - it gives us the energy to birth our creative dreams!


Grounding in Winter

What happens though when it gets ding dang cold?

How can we stay connected to Mama Earth when it's freezing, and possibly even covered with the glorious white stuff?

A moment to acknowledge the purdy photo at the top of this post. I took this photo of my hunky-Wise Man-love a few years ago when it snowed here in Australia. It doesn’t snow here, so when it did have a freak burst last winter, we jumped in our jeep and headed for the mountains to play. We were standing in the snow just listening to the sound of quiet, to the sound of snowflakes rustling through the air. This photo was taken when I headed back for the car. I turned back to see my beautiful man, soaking in the moment, connecting with the earth. To me, this symbolises how to ground even when it’s white and cold – with arms wide open, embracing this whole gorgeous world.
 

How to Ground: Get outside

When I talk about grounding, I usually advise goddesses to get their band hands & feet on the ground.

To ground – you don’t NEED to have bare feet. If it’s warm enough, it’s delicious and gives you the extra joy of grass tickling your soles. But if it’s not – still take the time to go outside, and take some deep breaths outside.

The earth is a source of completely healing and rejuvenation for us. Try it out.

Go outside, look outside, look at the earth, look at the sky and take ten deep breaths.


Visualise yourself grounded.

When you *visualise* something, you enact the same neurological responses as you would if you were *experiencing* it. Visualisation can work so powerfully in grounding. In larger women’s circles, we often use a grounding visualisation inside instead of having the whole circle troop outside to do it.

So, either sit down or stand with your legs apart. Take deep breaths down into your core, right down into your belly. Visualise yourself as a tree – your branches reaching into the sky, legs growing like roots into the Earth. Feel yourself deeply connected into the soil and earth. See yourself as a strong oak tree – the perfect balance between sky and earth. With this image in mind, take three deep breaths in and out through your core – visualising that you are inhaling and exhaling through your solar plexus. On your last exhale, exhale with a noise… like an “aaaaaaaaaaaaah.”


Use a Tree.

You can also use actual trees to connect and ground because their roots go through the snow right into the earth. They are the perfect symbol of groundedness!

Is there a park you can go to that would give you a little bit of quiet space to connect with a tree? Even if you could pop down a plastic picnic mat and sit with your back against the tree for a few minutes, you can pick up on the energy, groundedness and strength behind you.

Different trees have different energies and medicines. There are a couple of great books that give the meanings and energies of trees – but as always, the knowledge, wisdom and intuition is right inside you. Give it a go. Listen. Feel. Experience. Trust. This is second nature to you.


Let the beauty of the world intoxicate you

There is so much gorgeous beauty in this world. Nature can be our biggest healer & muse when we let her in!

Get grounded! Make art!


Do let us know how you go! I’d love to hear your experiences and soul stories!

How do you stay grounded to mama earth even when she's covered in cold?

wild joyful love,

Goddess Leonie is the creator of the Goddess Circle an online creativity & spirituality world for goddesses. She blogs from a tree (or her turquoise gypsy caravan) & makes miracles happen. She lives in tropical paradise in Australia with her hunky love & their owl baby daughter Ostara. You can find her at www.goddessguidebook.com. She's just released her uber popular 2012: Creating your Goddess Year workbook & planner too!

Creative Every Day Theme for December: Winter

November 28th, 2011, Comments (3)

At the end of each month I will announce the totally optional theme for the following month. For the month of December 2011, the theme will be Winter.

As always, this month's theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge is totally optional. Use it if it inspires you, continue being creative every day in your own way if it doesn't, or do something in between. You can sign up for the 2011 Creative Every Day Challenge anytime. More info can be found here and the sign-up page is here.

I'll be posting about the theme throughout the month on the blog to help keep you inspired. You can use the posts here for jumping off points or interpret the theme in your own creative way. If you need some suggestions, here are a few ideas to get you started. You could:

  • *Paint in the colors of winter.
  • *Go out into nature and take pictures of the snow or the bare branches against the sky.
  • *Cook cozy comfort foods.
  • *Create an environment that warms you up and inspires you. (candles, cocoa, and blanket forts?)
  • *Write a poem about the darker months of the year.
  • *As this year comes to its conclusion, take some time to reflect on what the last 12 months has held for you.
  • *Create art that plays with idea of hibernation.
  • *Dream up ways to bring more color into your life this season.

How to use the CED themes:

If you're feeling creatively stuck or blocked at any point during the month, use the theme as a source of inspiration to get you moving. Feel free to focus on the theme in your creative activities for the entire month or as much as you'd like.

Using the theme is entirely optional for CED participants. Use it if it inspires you, ignore it if it doesn't. I'll be sharing posts throughout the month around the theme (among other things) to get you thinking about how to incorporate it into your life. I'd love to hear how you use the theme in your creative world.

And have fun with it!

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~Andrew Wyeth

p.s. The art above is adapted from my piece, Key to Winter, available here.

p.p.s. I'll soon have info about signing up for the 2012 Creative Every Day Challenge!