I just finished up participating in my first 100 Days Project. It was a course by Daring Discoveries called 100 Days of Building Creativity, facilitated by LeeAnn Hilbrich.
I committed to spending a minimum of 10 minutes a day in my art studio creating and producing art. For I while, I have felt the imbalance of being a viewer/consumer of art more than a participant/producer and I needed more than that. Broken down simply, creating helps keep me sane. It’s how I process my world. It helps me stay true to myself.
I kept my goals very small so that I could approach my daily practice with the minimal amount of obstacles and intimidation (created 99% of the time from my own headspace). I told myself that my practice could be in any medium and that nothing had to be completed or finished…ever. I even called the work that I did daily ‘my sketches’ instead of ‘my paintings’. I kept my setup simple: Arches paper + acrylics for the most part. I did use a few canvases during the process but returned very quickly to paper. No easel. No painters tape to mask off the edges of the paper (consequences be damned). I told myself that I wanted to play + experiment. When I felt a rule or a sense of cautious protectiveness coming up from my gut, I deliberately did exactly what I was telling myself not to do. I dove into the concept of creating layers so that it would build a richness and interest in the sketch but also to give myself the freedom to paint right over something, even if I kind of liked it and even if I ended up losing what I liked about the previous layer. Nothing is wasted.
Participation in the group was done online and I opted to post most of my daily practices on my Instagram account. Coming out the other side of the 100 days was amazing. I think I was surprised the most by the tenderness and confidence. The group of people that participated were so kind and encouraging with one another. No one just played nice in our group, they actually were that kind and sincere. I also felt a tenderness growing in how I talked to and treated myself. I became less critical of myself during this process, more nurturing and supportive of myself. Out of that came more confidence. Confidence in knowing that the well was not running dry. Confidence that I can keep coming back no matter what happened the day before and good things will come. They just will.
I’ve heard the quote about how it’s more about the journey, not the destination, blah, blah, blah. That one has become worn out and trite for me. Except that it gained new life during these 100 days. LeeAnn said it in a revised version that I like much better, “I hope you truly congratulate yourself on preparing a firm and steady foundation for your ever continuing soul growth and journey. When we practice, when we take time daily to invest in ourselves and in cultivating the habits and rituals that will bring more joy and beauty into our lives, we unlock and release new levels.”
“If you find yourself criticizing other people, you’re probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own. Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. Watch yourself. Of all the manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.”
— Steven Pressfield, War of Art via swissmiss
“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”
→ Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishment
When I take in this thought and explore it, it feels like a door to freedom. It feels like a tool to help extricate myself from the comparison trap (one of my all time favorite excuses).
I heard it on a podcast by Random Badassery, Episode 12: Memoirs of a Habitual Door Closer. Lots of good for the soul, get off your butt content in it. I recommend a listen.
“Oh it’s pretentious to talk about, you know, how creative you are. I don’t feel that way at all. I think it’s empowering and important and I’m coming for you.” – Lady Gaga
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this ’emotion’ is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
That Einstein guy was pretty smart. Merry Christmas and may you open the gift of a long moment of wonder.
Caught a 2014 episode of Parts Unknown in Massachusetts with Anthony Bourdain. Was amazed at the eloquence and truthfulness of his words at the end of the episode. I’m impressed and drawn into thinking deeply. Well done. It makes me realize that I have so many platforms from which to speak. It doesn’t have to be just from an artist’s perspective or just from a mom’s perspective, but many variations, times and places to choose from. I just need to speak.
BOURDAIN: Let’s start by being honest with ourselves. As a nation, for decades, we were perfectly happy to write off whole neighborhoods, whole cities, whole generations of young men and women. As long as it was an inner city problem, an urban problem, which is to say a black people problem, a brown people problem. Send them to prison into a system from which they’ll never return. Maybe now, now that it’s really come home to roost, now that it’s the high school quarterback, your next-door neighbor, your son, your daughter, now that grandma is as likely to be a junkie as anyone else, we’ll accept that there has never been a real war on drugs. War on drugs implies an us versus them, and all over this part of America, people are learning there is no them. There is only us. And we’re going to have to figure this out together.
one week to go
The TV cameras are rolling at a frenzied clip, lawyers on each side
standing by with wet-tipped pens. We watch, delirious and dumbfounded,
as the country sways and buckles, our bearings loosened by the wear and tear
of competing narratives. And now, one week to go, with the poll numbers still
vibrating, we shift our gaze to the sky and scan for signs of reprieve.
How do you hold your breath and pray at the same time? How do you lay down
your armor and steer your heart away from the trouble? Each day offers itself
like a clean, stretched canvas, yet look how quickly we busy ourselves with the edge,
already shrinking from the finish. But this deadline’s an illusion.
Forget what time it says on the dial. We are not the frame. We are the paint.
this amazing poem was by awesome poet Maya Stein