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 [...]

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.  [...]

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 [...]