Spirituality

Cultivating Creative Genius

This year, I have been participating in a wonderful online art community and art course called 52 Paintings, run by the gorgeous Faith Evans Sills and Mati-Rose over in the US.  Recently, Faith invited me to write a post to share with our group about a practice that I do in the middle of the day to cultivate creative flow in my work.  I’d love to share that article with you guys too, I hope you enjoy!

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On most days, about an hour after lunch, I find myself yawning and lacking energy, can you relate?  I could put it down to having two young children, my habit of rising early, perhaps even my need to quit sugar.  My need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up is always there.

I have been a meditator for many years now, on and off, and I’ve long been sold on the benefits of having a regular practice.  For me that regular time is in the morning, before the household rises, I sit and connect in, with myself, with the divine, with nature.  It’s the most brilliant way to start the day and feels me with beautiful energy.

So when I realised that my body and my sprit needed an energy injections around the mid-afternoon, I sought a way of going about it that would meet two needs – my need for body rest, and my need to pep up my spirit.  I instinctively developed the following practice which helps me to both rest AND cultivate the feeling and attitude that I want to bring to my work after my little rest.

First I lay down on my bed or on the window seat in my studio.  I plug in my earphones to my iPhone [...]

My Winter of Deep Healing

Yesterday was the first day of Spring here in the southern hemisphere and my, was she glorious.  The sun shone and it’s rays had real warmth brewing in them.  This caught me by great surprise as we often don’t see the warmer weather until November around here.  I don’t think I have ever been happier to see spring come.

This winter has, for me, been a deeply challenging time in many ways.  It has been a time where I was led to some pretty dark places within that needed attention, processing and deep healing.  Things that have waited for over 35 years to be felt and let go of.

Such processes are never easy, but they are hugely necessary at times.  And my time has been this winter.

It required me to back right off on my businesses and create space for the unknown unfolding.  It required me to stand completely in my vulnerability waiting for tsunami upon tsunami of decades of unfelt emotion to break upon me.  And then it required me to do it again.

This winter, I gave in.  I really gave in.  I gave in because I know that truly feeling and letting go of the old stories that held me ransom was the only road to truly coming into complete alignment with what the universe has destined me to be. I gave in because there were crusty old skins that needed to be shed, because I am truly done with letting them run my emotional life.

I gave in because I was far enough down the road to my own truth that there was no other way but to confront these deep shadows and let them engulf me – not so that they would [...]

The Space In-between

There is a place in life that many of us come to at least once and often more.  It is the space after you have defined yourself as ‘something’ in the world.  You’ve had some kind of success.  Defined some kind of identity around it.  And then life makes it obvious that it is time to move on from this way of being onto to something new.

But that something ‘new’ is nebulous and shady.  It is embryonic.  It has not yet taken form.  And it takes a good period of unpredictable time to incubate.

This moment is what I like to call the space in-between.  I’ve just been in one and it’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while.

The space in-between is where all possibilities lay.  It is exciting and petrifying all at once.  But it can also be lonely, because it exists only in your imagination so no-one else can share it with you yet. And no-one else can assure you that it will ‘all work out’ because they don’t know and you don’t know if it will.

And yet the space in-between, if we really understand it correctly, is possibly one of the most special places to be in life and your creative journey.  It is like a magical land of possibility from where you can conjure your destiny.

I’ve conjured many an incredible journey from this place – each perfect for it’s time.  And for the past few months I have found myself in this space once again, this time for a time longer than my urge to ‘make stuff happen’ usually allows me.

This time I made a conscious choice to slow the process down. To allow the gestation to really take root.  [...]

Resonance- The Hum of Knowing…

In my 15 years of selling clothes to women I have seen a phenomenon happen over and over.  It is so mundane, that I can guarantee that you yourself will have done it. But the significance of this phenomenon could easily be missed.

It usually goes something like this: woman spies something nice in the shop.  It’s usually the first thing that takes her eye (Dudes, imagine you are at Bunnings!). She comes in and asks to try it on.  It’s perfect. It fits a treat, the colour is right and she looks like she was born to wear it.  What does she do next?  She then proceeds to try on everything else in the store just to see if there is anything better.  None of these are right. They all fit badly, the colour is wrong, we don’t have her size. She feels like her hips are too wide, the tops of her arms are flabby and she has ugly knees. And then, eventually, after an hour or so of torturing herself, she buys the first item she tried on.

Sound familiar to anyone? You might do it in a clothing store, or you might do it in your business- questioning that first instinct only to torture yourself with an unnecessarily overwhelming myriad of choices.

The interesting thing to notice in this scenario is that 9 1/2 times out of 10, the woman intuitively chooses the item that is right for her, IMMEDIATELY.  She is magnetically drawn to it, she loves it, it feels right, it looks right.  Something in her senses its perfect dimensions and qualities for her before she even lays her hands on it.  She resonates with it.

Let me say that again, SHE [...]

What is it about Creativity?

What is it about creativity that so fascinates us? What is it about creativity that makes us feel so deeply satisfied when we practice, and makes us revere it when we see it expressed clearly and unabashedly in others?

When I started my clothing label some 15 years ago, stuck at it, and made it a success, I can’t tell you how many times I would find myself looking into the starry-eyes of someone saying how wonderful it must be to be creative every day. When I started out, this was the very thing that spurred me on – my love of the creative act and my desire to earn my living from it.

At the time, I was being creative by making clothing, so that is what I built a business around. That business allowed me the scope to investigate my creativity in a number of ways, far beyond the act of designing and making clothing. It also taught me that making a business out of something you love can take you away from the act of being creative more than bring you to it, but that is story for another day.

In a way, the act of creating a business is one of the ultimate forms of creativity. You are creating your life and your living on so many levels, from every single decision that you make, that sometimes its actually hard to make a move, in case you create the wrong thing.

I’ve been really taking my time with the development of Creative Conversation, partly because I am aware that I am capable of creating what I set my mind and heart to, so I want to ground my mind in my heart in the [...]

Is Creative Business A Spiritual Path?- Part II

My last blog post on this subject generated some really interesting comments. One of these, from Samara Greenwood, expressed a view that I think is shared by many, so I wanted to expand on that in this post. Her insightful comments were:

Hi Susan,
Loved this post. Interestingly, I am one of those people that shy away from the word spiritual in general (can’t explain exactly why) yet I totally agree with everything you have said here! I was wondering though, could you describe a bit more about what you mean by ‘spiritual path’? In the sense that it means personal development & growth – & being our most honest selves in the world – I’m completely onboard. I wonder what else you might be alluding to when you say it though – would you be happy to expand on this? Thanks! Sam x

The question of my creative business being a spiritual path is a deeply personal one, and one that it has taken me a really long time to come around to.  I have in fact avoided saying this very thing because of the weirdness that people can have around the word spiritual, or the notion of a spiritual path. But I can think of no other adequate way to describe how my business experience is for me.

For many years – most of which I was running Manque Design (my clothing label) – I was trying to grow according to traditional business wisdom, but my gut was increasingly telling me to move in a different direction. I resisted this for a really long time, because who the hell walks away from successful clothing label, when you’ve slogged your guts out on for years, and [...]

Is Creative Business A Spiritual Path?

I’ve been mulling something over for quite some time, wondering if I should express this point of view here (the brave and honest thing to do, in my estimation) or just leave the whole thing alone (otherwise known as the cowards way out).  But I have to say it, because I’ve been around long enough to know that if you are going to put yourself out there in the way that I am with Creative Conversation, you have to be 100% honest about who and what you are about, otherwise isn’t it all really just bullshit?

So here it is…drum roll please….I think that the creative business path is really one of the most spectacular spiritual paths you can be on.  There.  I said it.  I think business is a spiritual path and that is the way that I treat it. And thus, it is the way that I want to communicate about it.  And if you think that’s a load of BS, then I bid you a very warm sayonara, it’s been nice knowing you.  Because from henceforth, I will not be talking about business in a way that about a million other business coaches today are.

I will not be skirting around the edges of something that I think is a fact – You, as a creative professional, made your business because you LOVE what you do.  You feel CALLED to what you do, and you wish to make a commitment, through thick and thin, to make that creative path that you love your main gig.  Sounds an awful lot like a spiritual path if you ask me.

And here is another thing – the journey you are on in creating that business, giving it [...]