Reasons to Blog

Number One: Coming Home to Yourself and the Beauty All Around

My head is full of lumpy clatter. What on earth will I blog about? I don’t know.

What if I give myself permission

to not know,

to down-slow?

 

mindfulness home

I notice the garlic clothed in spectacularly stripey purple and off-white skin. I notice the dented, browning bits.

What if I pause? What if any of us pause, slow down and allow the spaces; even brief ones. Is it possible to allow a minute or two to let up with the voice that badgers us to get something done?

How is it that capital P Productivity became King, while the Duchess of Doing-Very-Little lurks in the shadows? She is guilt-stricken and spurned.

Can it please be OK to relish a moment of Simply Being?

mindful photograpy Swain

If you can’t manage real flowers in your micro-garden, fabric flowers are the go, even if they become soil-stained

We seem to know that mindful self-care is essential nourishment, but hey. Intellectually knowing something and embodying it are two different things.

Might I allow a pocket of presence?

And might I bring self-compassion to that presence in an act of kindfulness?

Can I rest in the empty space – the minuscule bracket of blankness between one thought-train and the next?

mindful photography garden

Cracked rabbit, neon centipede. All the garden friends.

What will I blog about?

This. Exactly what’s happening (or not happening) in my creative process. Even someone who has pretty much dedicated her life to her own creativity and to nurturing creativity in others, struggles to justify the carving out of fertile space. Even someone who deeply knows the value of letting the field lie fallow, is obliged to wrestle with inner critic creatures.

mindful art Swain

a city flamingo meets its leaf

So

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Sea of Compassion

aka Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Your Brush on the Page

*thank you to last fortnight’s 3 poets

Last week, politicians stirred up a nasty brew of disruption and destabilisation in the nation’s central cauldron.

I was blessed with downtime. I kept my ear to the radio, my feet on the ground and my brush on the page. Still besotted with my near-new ‘Brilliants’, I self-soothed in the pleasantly safe, contained space of a small Art Journal. I followed the brush, the play and flow of watercolour. I did not plan my pictures. I stayed open.

I had a cuppa and chanced upon a Hugh Mackay article about compassion as a form of love. Compassion. Possibly a missing ingredient from the approaches and actions of the country’s main destabilisers. He says,

‘It is normal for humans to show compassion towards each other, because, in the end, we are each other.’

compassion sea art creativity

Sea of Compassion
with Heartfish
Sally Swain © art

Hugh Mackay is not the first or the only person to express such a sentiment. Poets, philosophers, religious guides have said the same thing countlessly. However, his words spoke to my bruised brush, my ailing spirit. His words spoke to my dismay that those who dehumanise and brutalise innocent asylum seekers are those who ruthlessly engineer to rule a country.

‘Although we like to think of ourselves as independent, we are more like islands in the sea – separate on the surface but connected to each other deep down.’

We are each other
Sally Swain © art
inspired by Hugh Mackay’s words

My bruised yet bountiful brush, my ailing yet

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Washing machines and Watercolour pens

Art and Soulie Spot 10
Stories from the Creative Path

Presenting the beautiful writer:

Kerry Littrich…

I vividly recall the first creative playshop Kerry attended maybe ten years ago.
I remember her uncertainty about what was on offer. Once she felt more sure that this was to be a safe space, she gave herself 700% to the process. She let her big heart shine. She willingly shared her intricately woven fictional characters, who, over time, became as real to me as any of the playshop participants. Maybe we needed extra chairs around the table for Kerry’s living breathing human creations.

Here’s her website: Imagine365

Over to Kerry for a small adventure…

The day off

I am a writer.

I mostly write fiction but I also write non-fiction articles, blog posts and run a whimsical website called imagine365. Sometimes I write copy for other people’s sites or help them create business materials. But today I’m not going to write because I worked late last night in a different job and

I’ve given myself the day off.

            So I start propped up in bed, pillows all around me and a cup of tea to hand. My miniature fox terrier, Rupert, joins me but don’t tell my husband.

dog photo

Kerry’s Rupert

I speak to my sister on the phone,

there’s no hurry.

We catch up for 45 minutes. I spend almost an hour longer in bed meditating with a second cup of tea.

            When I do get up, there’s

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Sister Pools

A Creative Support Partnership

Swain art watercolour

Rosey
a Sister Pool picture
by Sally Swain

Last week, we looked at the Handala – a small mandala with carry-handles.

The Handala arose while I waited for my sister to ring for our creative conversation. An Art and Soul Space blog reader (thanks, Gallivanta) loved that my sister reads me her writings. Inspired by my dear reader, let me tell you about … ta daa … Sister Pools.

For the past year, whenever we can, my sister and I form an interstate telephonic dual Creative Support Partnership. We read each other our writing-in-progress. We talk about current glitches, hitches, joys and successes in our creative process. We divide the time fairly equally.

I paint while she talks or reads.

She writes (or doodles) while I talk or read.

I might paint a preliminary shape on one page of the art journal, then squish the pages together, forming a Rorschach-type mooshy print. (Squish and mooshy being highly technical hoity-toity art terms).

I develop each page differently. Intuitively, spontaneously, I listen to her words, thoughts, feelings and to my own art desires and intentions. It’s a type of Response Art.

Here’s what emerged

in our very first meeting.

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Be A Mused. Be Very A Mused.

Dad and me and creativity

Do you have a muse? Many ongoing muses?

Who or what inspires your creativity?

Dad and me

Dad and me

My original muse was my Dad, David Swain. Dad made a life of writing, cartooning and mentoring other creative sparks.
His first book, The Cantbeworried Tales, came out when I was seven. He gently satirised Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in cartoon and verse. This little book made a big impact on his world and mine.

Cantbeworried Tales David Swain's first book

The Cantbeworried Tales
David Swain’s first book

When I was eleven,

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How to Access Your (Already Abundant) Creativity

A Flower Power Point Presentation

to be viewed one blossom at a time

(adapted from the creativity guide I wrote for the 2015 Divine Feminine Conference)

Sacre Fleur

Sacre Fleur

Flower Power Point Number One

You are Already Creative

You might have heard this before. You might not feel creative. You might think your friend, your sister, your child is creative but you are not. The truth is, we all are creative. Who says

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Blogbirth – Three Baby Elephants or Ten Million Microbes

It’s been a long pregnancy.

In the time it takes for maybe three baby elephants, five whales or ten million microbes to be born, this blog has been gestating.

Why so long?

Desire and fear in equal measure. Let’s have a quick lesson in the Physics of Creativity According to Sally Swain.

Often as we come closer to fulfilling a burning dream, to honouring our creative yearnings, to saying YES to our authentic, alive, tingling selves, there’s a backlash. The equal weight of fear kicks in. It can be a tidal wave of doubt demons or the quiet ooze of avoidance and excuses. E might equal mc squared; I wouldn’t really know. But I do know that over twenty years’ experience of working and playing with my own creative process and that of others reveals that the Great Stultification can equal the surge of Creative Life Force. Continue reading