Clarice runs the Fashion Department of the Idea Emporium. She bought herself a Roller Coaster Hat, popular among the giraffes.
Clarice runs the Fashion Department of the Idea Emporium. She bought herself a Roller Coaster Hat, popular among the giraffes.
I anxiously awaited the sun being blotted out while hiding out in the house away from windows with my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, hoping the eclipse would pass quickly. Crouching down on the couch and pretending nothing was happening, while facing my fears of going blind, I thought about the Shadow. Not the old-time radio drama my mom used to play for me on cassettes, but the emotional shadow. Perhaps how we faced this eclipse is how we face that shadow. Some folks were out there with special glasses, with a ton of faith, staring directly at the sun. Since I was not one of them, I must have a hard time facing mine.
The last few weekends at church we covered the seven deadly sins. Now let me explain this. We belong to a really cool church that was test-drove after many different churches that would fit our bi-religion family. Pastor Jessica is super sweet, forward-thinking, deep and a fellow introvert who does enjoy being at the podium for two hours a week. She approached the deadly sins like we should approach our shadow. There was no judgement or shaming, just awareness. We looked at Gluttony and were honest with ourselves where we were holding back and not trusting. We looked at things like Sloth and where we needed to show up. I digged this view of the shadow. Reveal it with a little light, let it out on paper, and then reframe it.
The other day I felt some serious shadow emotions. I was very upset and angry when my stepkids got into an accident. I felt ugly things that probably didn’t make sense or were “wrong” but what I learned was I needed to express those feelings because they needed to come out, otherwise I was guaranteed a whopping headache later. I had to expose them to the light to get to the other side of it regardless how they looked. If I jumped immediately into “being positive,” it was going to go somewhere in my body or hang on for awhile. And you know what? I expressed them. I felt them. I wrote them down. I drew them. I allowed myself to think evil, mean thoughts, and nothing happened. Thoughts did not become things. I didn’t destroy a village. Nothing was burned on the front lawn. And once I did, I got to the other side of it, and thought clearly and calmly, and had more empathy for everyone involved. I judged my shadow, and it was trying to help me.
So this week through my art and through design I want to play with shadows. Light and dark. And shadow puppets.
I’ve been putting together my introduction video for my Playhouse. Want a peek at my sketchbook?
Oooh. Pretties. Just begun. Still more to come.
Will you join me? How can you express through being creative and greet and meet your Shadow? How is it trying to help you? Some things to play with, experiment with. Planting a seed.
Until next Blog Tuesday, embrace the Sun and the Moon.
I’ve added a Cinema page!
I will be adding tiny bits of videos often to peek into the world of the Idea Emporium so you can learn more about it.
Did you know that every day at 4pm is Feeding Time for the monsters grown in jars in the Invention Room?
Go here. And stop by often.
I’m blocked. I’m looking at Chapter 3 and it’s coming to the home stretch of being able to submit it as a sample chapter, and the ideas aren’t flowing.
The irony of this is I just wrote about what to do to unblock in last week’s post. But that’s how it always works, whatever I am meant to teach or share, that lesson will be full-fledged in my face. Welcome lesson.
I adore the work of other artists. They inspire me with their imagination and their original voices. Watching my Pinterest feed, I am in awe! But too much looking at other artists blocks me, especially when I am creating my own project.
I looked to the masters for advice. I took out the book, Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I sought out the book after finding it in Barnes and Noble, my church of books. Here I was, sitting on the floor cross-legged and tears of knowing were flowing down my cheek after skimming on a chapter and finding the one on Sewer Rats and Shame. I pushed them away before my stepdaughter could see it. Brown was writing about Comparing, my biggest vice.
“Another one of shame’s sidekicks is comparison…comparison sucks the creativity and joy right out of life. If our story includes shame, perfectionism, or comparison and we’re left feeling isolated or “less than,” we need to employ two completely counterintuitive strategies.”
Her advice is basically to tell your story to someone else, (would this work?), and to talk more lovingly to ourselves. I have a running dialogue in my head that isn’t pretty and was accumulated since I grew boobs. It is definitely the voice of shame and shame is mean and tells you how you suck. This piece of information was big for me. It was shame that was giving me headaches! Shame that was blocking my creative flow! It had a name and comparing was the disguise.
One of the hardest things about making this book has been asking myself, What makes this book special? Is it special enough? Which is a crap-load of old stuff to hit me with. What makes you special? How are you different then the person over there? Are you good enough?
I wrote last week about being Authentic. I think the antidote to the not enough’s, and comparisons, is being Authentic as possible. It’s the truest to you as possible.
Last week I talked about The Lab, that great hip hop dance group on World of Dance. Last week was the elimination rounds on the show and I hate the format. They are taking several dancers that in their own right that are wonderful and unique and pitting them up against each other. The Lab lost against a lithe little dancer who could bend like Gumby. We as the audience were forced to watch apples vs. oranges and the judges decide “who was better.” Isn’t that subjective? And why aren’t we honoring both styles? I am sure The Lab will recuperate and have now gained even more exposure for their dancing skills (they seem already pretty successful.)
So comparison has to have a winner, and that’s why it doesn’t work. Having to prove yourself or your work that it’s special? That’s a trap too and an evil one. My question would be, why aren’t they seeing what is special?
Now I do have a handicap against me — I’m Jewish and our culture pretty much was raised comparing. “Oh, look at so and so’s son. He’s went to Yale and is a Doctor. Isn’t that impressive?” Never mind that he’s a secret drug addict who cheats on his wife the first Friday of the month. Most folks are judged it seems on their education (because it is so valued in our culture), and on your job.
I come back to the creating part. You are working on a project. THE worse thing is to judge it in process. I share a story in my Help I’m Sensitive book. I took a NIA class and we were challenged with balancing poses. When I looked at yoga girl standing next to me in her perfect pose and matching yoga outfit, I fell right over. Pretty embarassing. But when I focused on my own core, my own body in straight line and how that felt, I had some amazing balance! I could stand like that for quite awhile. When we create we need to be enjoying the creating. Watch a kid draw or paint. They are messy, full of life and in the moment drawing or painting what they draw or paint. The worst thing would be to tell them to paint orange instead of red. You just cut off their flow, people!
And that’s essentially what I did by focusing on all the other “successful” artist’s accounts. I was watching yoga girl and telling myself how my orange should be red. And I wondered why no ideas would flow in there. I need to be that little kid again who has no knowledge of the world and what others are doing while painting their stuff animals blue and making an outfit of a tutu paired with a striped soccer shirt. It’s more of a protective mode I need to be in. To be able to shield her while she creates.
Brene Brown was right. I do need to talk more lovingly to myself. If had a child in front of me creating, I would see all that was beautiful and raw and magical in her/his art. I would not parent her with discounting and tell her it was not enough. Our expression needs self appreciation!
Until next Blog Tuesday, how are you going to stop your habit of comparing and focus more on the work? I give you great appreciation for what is raw and beautiful for what you are making. It is more than enough, in fact, it is SPECIAL.
Go check out my Express Yourself with Line and Alien Botany Class I am offering in the Fall. Early bird rate registration!
I’m excited to get things rolling here at the Idea Emporium. I just started a Facebook page for the world/book, I’m growing my Instagram page to share video clips and drawings, and the book proposal and first chapter are nearing completion. Yay! I’m excited also to have you on this journey and be a part of the Idea Emporium world. This is good stuff, but then why am I having soul-crushing dreams like being naked while driving a car? Or having headaches and this overwhelming urge to live under the bed most the day like my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, Cobi Ann, and I don’t want to create? Making things takes a lot of vulnerability — you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. And creating those things takes up a lot of energy. You need to refill and renew, but creativity can be shut off for a little while. There are THINGS that can block that flow of creating, and THINGS that can keep that river flowing. So here’s my tips if you are feeling hopelessly blocked, numb, pissed off at everyone and everything because all that creative juice ain’t going anywhere. Believe me, I have been there. Like the other day…Drum roll please.
Too much Social Media Not Enough Creating Take heed my friends! The other day I created a nasty migraine. I was staring at the phone counting my Instagram Followers. I was cursing the Unfollowers/Followers and getting caught in the nonsense game. I looked down at myself, and thought, Dear Goodness, This is my Life now? I hadn’t drawn a thing. Not one. In fact, I probably didn’t look away from that phone in two straight hours. It was my driven personality taking myself hostage. I was close to needing some kind of weekly meetings. Yes, build your audience (I’m talking to you and to myself here), but please go do what you do first! That’s the whole purpose of sharing, right? To have stuff to share? This social media thing of who gets the most followers first reminds me so much of Middle School. Let’s see who has the most friends and is popular, but God forbid, you pull out a tendon and are on crutches one day and no one is there to help you up the stairs when you need it (true story, tenth grade).
You aren’t having fun This is a biggie. Yes, work can be hard and there’s irritating things you have to do like fill out taxes and business forms, and actually leave the house and talk to other people. But there needs to be PLEASURE in what you do. It should be fun. I have a teaching philosophy called the Rubber Ducky Theory. Even the mundane like taking a bath can be fun by adding a squeaky rubber duck to the bath water. In fact, learning should be fun. We integrate more when we are enjoying ourselves. Once you aren’t having fun, it’s a big indication you are heading in the wrong direction. I’ve been reading a fabulous book on Design Thinking called Designing Your Life. There’s this exercise on Engagement and keeping a Good Time Journal (not what you are thinking, you dirty mind.) In your journal, you write about all your activities of your day rating them with how much energy that activity gave you and how engaged you were. The more engaged, the better. What a mind blower! This is your map. Letting you know what you are meant to do, where you thrive and your strengths are, and what gives you true pleasure. That’s fun, people, that’s joy. Go there, says the map. Because years from now on your death bed you are going to resent what you didn’t do (Well, that’s a downer, but you get what I mean.)
You are comparing your thighs with someone else’s thighs When I was a teenager I was perfectly happy hanging out with friends and thinking I was way more than enough. Thank goodness for women’s magazines to remind me I was not! What a service. Today’s magazines are replaced by Instagram images of perfect homes and people laughing in mid air. They are photoshopped even on their phones with editing software, and they are posed with all the right things around them. Ugh. Never mind that behind the scenes their marriage is a mess and they are addicted to sniffing glue. A form of torture for artists is to have them scroll the feeds and look at how one artist has a zillion followers even though they draw cartoons with their feet for fun. “Omg!” I cry. I don’t even draw with my feet and my drawings are good. Am I not special enough? I just compared my thighs with someone else’s thighs, symbolically of course, and decided I didn’t measure up. This exercise then cuts off my creative flow and I have zero ideas, and all I want to do is sit and watch an iZombie marathon and be grateful at least I’m not undead. You are your own kind of special, remember that. The whole snowflake analogy thing. Don’t get caught up in that nonsense that is trying to sell you perfume.
So, what do you think? Been blocked? Stuck in the evil muddy waters? Step away from the phone and go put on some music. Better yet, have some coffee at a funky coffee shop with murals painted on the wall. How do you know that creativity is coming right back? You will feel the flutter of ENERGY bubbling up. Until next time,
ps. Do take a look around here and have fun unleashing your creative juices. The Bakery needs cupcakes designed. Episode 1 is ready to be viewed. And join the growing book Patrons over on Patreon and shop the store with upcoming classes to support the project.
The Nursery Department grows and sells Alien Botany from seeds from all over the planets. I bet you didn’t know that.
I’m developing the pages for the book and here’s a sneak peek for all you readers.
What started out as a sketch…
Before clean-up and for the coloring page.
Creating a planet for the Alien Plants. It’s part of the lesson. Environments are very important and give meaning and understanding to the object.
Adding color digitally. It’s coming to life! Even the butterflies think so.
Adding a full environment and background — a photograph at 50% transparency. Oooh. I wonder where these plants are from. Well, there’s lots of trees there.
Until next time, thanks for being part of the process of creating the Idea Emporium Book & world!