An important part of this blog for me is having a platform to express my learning which I find to be an integral part of the creative process. In this perpetual feedback loop that is the Universe it is my discoveries that inspire me to create and my desire to create that inspires a certain lusting after information.
Since leaving formal education institutions, I have been practicing a more fluid method of digesting information based on my authentic curiosities, unique challenges and desires for contribution to the world. During Occupy Portland I was presented an opportunity to catalyze the creation of a space which in turn served as an immensely transformational educational space for both me and the general public. This space started out as the Occupy Portland Library, then morphed through it’s various stages of development: Occupy Portland University, Our School, and now The People’s Library Pdx. This transformative and amorphous space served as a fertile garden for the innovation of dynamic learning and creation feedback loops.
Occupy Portland University
Through the birth of the People’s Library Pdx, I began seeing my creations as platforms for both integrating (for myself) and communicating (for others) the important pieces of my learning. I give a good deal of credit to my teachers and mentors at Jackson Middle School who implemented the Artful Learning method developed by Leonard Bernstein. This method was a permission-giving tool for me to unleash my creative potential into all aspects of my life.
Several months before the Occupy Movement emerged I decided to switch my area of study at PSU from organismal biology to liberal studies. Something was calling me to let go of the strained hyper-focus on “success” and to relax my awareness instead by zooming out to take in the bigger picture. I’m so grateful for this shift. I began designing and implementing self-directed courses based on my desires to Create beautiful things in the world.
This practice has carried over into my adult seeking, although soon after leaving college I realized how overwhelmingly vast my passions and interests were. I entered a phase of manically “following my heart” which was constantly fluttering and aching for a powerful expression of my learning. I got in over my head on a couple of projects which left my relationships strained and my heart still unsatisfied. “How can I focus my creative energy to serve me and others for good?” I began asking on a regular basis.
Last April I sat in silence for 10 days at a Vipassana retreat during which I witnessed my aching for creation stemming from an imbalanced sense of self-worth. It became apparent that spiritual learning and seeking would be vital in my creative process moving forward. It was during this time period that spirit integrated into my body through a heart song that sings:
“…Yearning is burning as wheels of time are turning
Spirit is learning to let desires free
And then the body breathes…”
Stretching into the spring and summer months I used this song as a meditation. As I examined my motives and desires, I released attachments to many of the projects, acknowledgements and relationships I had been lusting after. It was an incredibly uncomfortable process during which I spend many hours alone meditating, walking in the woods and reflecting on my life. There are probably more graceful ways to accomplish a similar outcome, but I’m not convinced that there’s a magical way of letting go in effortless comfort.
As the autumn cycled through, I regained my grounding and power to create. During this newly initiated cycle of creation my focus was on my personal relationship to creation with a sub-focus on the one-on-one cocreative process. It was then that I picked up Creating on Purpose.
A resource for exploring your relationship with the creative process
Admittedly, I am a very relaxed and airy reader so I find myself months later being only halfway through the book. I tend towards absorbing a small but of information and then integrating it into my daily practice, giving the perspective a “fair” trial. So far it has been a great overview of the chakra system, how to align creative enrgy with your goals, and working through internal and external challenges.
Today I reached a section outlining the 5th chakra, the throat, which inspired me to communicate with you all. The chapter outlined several exercises for hearing and befriending your inner voices, both positive and negative. I intend to play with some of these exercises in future posts as I expose more of my internal process around certain projects.
Currently I am embracing the orbits of the sun and moon as powerful influences in the learning and creation spiral with time. As a seeker of earth-based spiritual and practical tools, working with the non-commodified aspects of natural cycles has been a recent fixation. Please stay tuned for more updates on a project that is very alive in me now which expresses my learning around these cycles. The creation will be published in the winter issue of the Welcome to Cascadia Zine and Resource Guide (still accepting art and articles until January 21st!).
Until then, please consider leaving some reflections on this post for a stronger collective feedback loop. Thank you!
May you feel the motions and embrace the nearly fullness of this full moon time!