Barbie dolls, slugs, spring water
Kia ora e hoa,
Kei te pehea koe?
I’m sidling up beside you to see how you’re doing. Hi!
The latest chapter in pandemic life has been a big wobbly one for so many of us, with uncertainty, and cancelled plans, and vaccinations, and trying to make sense, and lockdown, and so much noise and uncomfortable silence.
A few times recently someone has asked me how I am and I’ve done the gaping fish for a moment. Eventually I come up with something like, ‘I’m doing OK, I think?’
Does the person asking really want to know? Do I even know how I am?
I am doing OK (whatever that means). What is also true is:
I’m so exhausted that I often find it hard to stand up.
I’m extraordinarily inspired.
I don’t want to miss a single moment of my children’s lives.
I don’t want them to touch me or talk to me for at least 72 hours.
I’m so sick of lockdown.
I don’t want our health system to be overloaded.
I’m in love with my garden.
I’m really really lonely.
I live in amazing circles of love and support.
I have no hope in the future of humanity.
I’m so excited by what is possible for us.
One thing I love about art is that, like humans, it has the ability to hold multiple truths. When I’m feeling stuck, numb, or confused I find making art helps me explore the many sides and layers of what I’m experiencing.
1. Take a sheet of paper. Spend a couple of minutes using whatever arts medium you have at hand (maybe pastels, collage, drawing, painting, words) to answer the question, ‘How are you?’. See what rises to the surface. Include as many colours, flavours, elements as you like. It doesn’t have to ‘look like’ something in particular – abstract, experimental and messy is fine.
2. Now, flip the page over. Use a creative medium again to answer ‘What is underneath that?’ See what colours, forms, images and/or words arrive.
3. Spend some time taking in both sides of the page. What did you discover? What is on the surface? What is underneath?
Do you feel the impulse to add anything else? Maybe it feels complete, or perhaps there is a third side, or a bridge between the two sides? Go ahead and do whatever else you need to do.
When I did this a couple of weeks ago I found on the first side of the paper many things including: a Barbie doll, a syringe, a toothbrush, sweet pea plants, slugs, crusty mud, a fish net, lots of tiny pieces of foam.
When I flipped the page over, I discovered a clear spring.
The sweet pea plant was a bridge that led me from one side of the page to the other.
I have since used that sweet pea plant many times both in my imagination and in my real-life garden to find my way back to that spring. And the spring has been a refuge: a place to find calm and clarity and inspiration in spite of everything.
What about you? What do you discover when you try this? Hit reply and tell me/show me, I’d love to know. (Really!).
P.S. Next year I really want you to make your art and I am offering a new programme to support you to do it.
'Make It Tangible' is a 6-month mentorship programme for sensitive revolutionaries to bring their secret creative dreams from the world of imagination into the world of tangible reality.
You will learn essential tools to harness your creative power, so you can make the art and the impact you are here to make.
There are different levels to choose from, to suit you needs: whether you just want more creative play in your life, you want to start taking bigger creative risks, or you want deep support to birth something big.
We kick off in January 2023. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll make sure you are the first to know when bookings open.
(c) Rata Gordon 2022