Do you feel like your creative juices have dried up?
Do you feel tapped out and have no energy for new ideas?
I get it!
There is so much that is needed to be a successful today, and with the industry having less and less gatekeepers, then a lot more of the work lands on us as the drivers for our content.
It can be so exhausting! I imagine you would really love some SPACE and TIME right now, so you could just relax and connect back with your muse.
You’ve probably noticed that when you are super stressed out and not getting a lot of sleep, she disappears.
So, how do you keep up with the demand of your audience, keep up with creating new and exciting work that allows you to stand out AND take care of yourself?
Because it’s not about burning the candle at both ends. But in the moment, it can feel like there’s no other option.
So, how do successful Creatives do it?
Twice a year. in my Zen community, we enter into Ango.
Ango means peaceful dwelling, and is a 90 day intensification of Zen practice. During these 90 days, you make commitments to increasing your practice, participating in retreats, and taking up study around a theme.
Something that really resonated with me when I found Zen, was an integral part of the process is Art Practice.
And for this Ango, the Art Practice is the Illuminated Journal.
A poem from Zen master, Eihei Dogen
Seeing Form with the Whole Body and Mind
Hearing Sounds with the Whole Body and Mind
One Understands Them Intimately
My amazing teacher, Hojin, wrote to all the participants with these beautiful words of instruction and inspiration:
This is not a journal in the sense of a personal, reflective diary, but live recordings of what we notice. It is an invitation to a journey of intimacy into the world. It is seeing, hearing, expressing with the whole body-mind as we experience our lives.
You will need a blank book of some kind. Bring it with you everywhere. Any moment can be ripe. You can notice fruits, vegetables, mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, buildings, plants, lamps, the moon, bugs, your children, friends and strangers and the weather. You can notice the wonders of textures, colors, and patterns. How do we keep meeting and discovering what is right in front of us that we may never noticed? Come closer. Come closer still.
Your illuminated journal can join words, poems, delightful descriptions with images, collage cut outs, swatches of pure color.
The illuminated journal form is very immediate – there is no time to analyze, consider or second guess. Let your life dash through the pages and leave mysterious tracks behind!
I was so excited when I got this assignment for Ango, and right away went to my journals and found this beautiful blank one given to me by my client and brilliant photographer, Caitlin Cannon.
On the front?
Some kind of wonderful
I gathered all my colored pencils, and placed them in a basket and put the journal in my office, and then just took each day and began to translate.
Not only are the pages filling, but I enter my day differently.
Do I still have many things I need to do for my business?
Do they still get done AND I write in the illuminated journal?
For years, I didn’t participate in Ango because I always felt like I didn’t have the time. It felt overwhelming with growing my business and seeking my life partner.
Then, this Spring, I participated for the first time and found it actually didn’t take up nearly as much time as I thought. And the most important part I noticed, was how differently I felt BECAUSE I participated.
I felt more grounded.
I felt more at peace.
I felt more connected to my life.
And I never lack for new ideas.
Even though my Fall schedule is very full, there was no question as to whether I would participate again.
It can be so easy in the fast paced life to think that our time with the muse has to be hours, or has to be sacrificed.
But, what if it’s not about long lengths of time?
What if it’s just a practice and a way of being for each day?
Today is a new day.
One you have never lived before.
What do you see?
What do you hear?
Life is happening all around you.
Where is your attention?
Are you spending all your time in the future worrying about what might happen?
Are you spending all your time in the past beating yourself up for past mistakes?
Your point of power is the present moment, and there is inspiration all around.
You don’t have to go far, all you need is to just come present to what is right in front of you.
And see what trails it takes you to.
May be a new story
A new song
A new dance
A new work.
Even as I write this and look out the window, there is a whole world alive outside.
The curve of a leaf.
The intricacy of the stones in my patio.
The breeze through the trees.
When we tap into what is right in front of us, we are actually tapping into something way larger. In fact, we are tapping into an endless source.
What a relief!
So, come alive and open your eyes.
The muse never left. She’s been in front of you all along.
You have everything you need.