Updated: May 31, 2018
I recently resigned from my job, where I taught art and brought in a consistent paycheck, a welcome gift for an artist type. I learned a ton, grew in a wide variety of ways, met all kinds of wonderful people from around the world, and feel fortunate to have spent a blink of time in their lives. My gratitude is immense for the depth reached in some of these encounters. It really was a privilege. Many who choose a creative path, already know, instability at times, can be the name of the game so having a more conventional job is usually necessary. So, without that now, I am working hard on my future plans.
During the last year of work I became a part of a co-lecture about creativity, titled "Break Through to a Creative Life". Meanwhile, for several years, though still teaching art and fulfilling art and design commissions, I'd been in the midst of a creative crisis of sorts. I was losing my way and even touch with my dreams.
I lectured about the obstacles and paths to creativity, knowing all the while I was facing several of them. I suppose that does make me some kind of an expert, especially in regards to the obstacles that stand in the way of true creativity and fulfilling one's dreams. I'm one of those types who could be labeled a "space cadet", far off dreaming wildly about art and creativity and what it could be, but back in real life, those dreams fade off into the distance. And when life leads in unexpected directions it's easy to forget what those dreams actually are. The last year was full of some challenges and obstacles. And now, I feel like I’m waving my hands around trying to clear the smoke, and from the scattered haze, I’m asking myself to remember my dreams. I can see I am not on the same path I was before, those dreams are no longer ahead from where I stand. I'm reminded of a phrase I was told when feeling lost, “you can’t go backwards, you must find your way forward”. There is a grieving process in looking back, in what you thought would be, and that's o.k.. It will likely not be exactly what you dreamt of, from that other place in time, and it probably would have turned out different than you imagined even if you were on the same exact path. Your task is to dream big from where you are now, and all the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Of course I am talking to myself, but maybe you need to hear this too. Who knows if this new dream will be better or worse, it will certainly be different, and the first step to living a creative life is embracing that uncertainty.
So join me. If you are feeling lost or uncertain, perhaps you've lost sight of your dreams a bit too. Lets discover or rediscover them together, lets forge ahead. Let’s find our courage. Don’t give up on that ever-hopeful inner child who dreamt so big and believed so strongly… until one day…. you stopped listening. If you feel like me, you know that inner child is stronger than you ever could have imagined, and continually whispers, or even yells from deep within to get your big adult butt in gear. Lets break through to our creative lives together.
Here’s our first lesson, have the courage to allow yourself to dream again.
“Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?'
'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Take some time to brainstorm. Imagine several possibilities. Imagine when you wake up tomorrow and beyond, you are who you dream of being, you are doing what you dream of doing and surrounded by who and what you’ve always wanted.
1.) What does this wonderful day look like?
2.) Where are you waking up? Describe your home, your yard, furry companions, etc.
3.) You step outside for a morning walk, where are you? What do you see, hear, smell?
4.) How do you fill the day? What are the creative activities you see yourself doing and loving? Are you home doing this or some where else? How do these activities make you feel? Try to not only think of the final products you want to make, but the actions you do day in and day out that give you the feelings you want to feel every day.
5.) Imagine you’ve just successfully completed a huge project, it’s the best work you’ve ever done. How do you feel? What is it? Describe it? Is it a large body of work, a singular project, tell me about it.
6.) Who are you surrounded by? Use adjectives to describe them. What does your support system feel like? What do you provide one another? How do they make you feel? Imagine this in your day to day life. Now, you’re surrounded by people at your own one-man/ woman show, at a book release, or a film screening, how are they reacting, what are they saying, how do they feel, what are their interactions like with you?
7.) What has been the most fulfilling part of your day and why?
8.) How does the day end? How do you feel about tomorrow?
9.) What are you thinking about when you are lost in thought? What are the subjects, topics, type of media, you most often find yourself attracted to, now how about when on the internet, watching films, or in books? What do you seek out? What are you looking for? What kinds of conversations do you like to have?
10.) What would you be excited to learn more about? Why are you attracted to these things, what drives you to find out more?
11.) What gives you a sense of purpose?
I hope this exercise has been a helpful start, to reconnecting with your hopes and dreams. Would love to hear about anything you'd like to share in the comments. You must sign in with google or facebook to comment on this page, or you can comment in the box at the very bottom without having to sign into anything. For now, the box appears on all the blog pages, but I'm working on it.