Saturday, January 10, 2009

Acknowledging Your Creative Self

Your creative self is alive and waiting for your invitation to evolve! Dare to embrace your creative self and manifest your dreams. Recognizing your creativity leads you into a life of self-expression, fulfillment, and contribution." ~ prelude to Secret 1

Here we are - the first chapter of "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin. The good old Barnes and Noble at the mall came through and the book arrived Friday just in time to get started with the rest of the folks in the book club.

I'm very excited about this! I'm choosing to make my posts before reading anyone else's, so that I will try to express my own vision. We'll see how that goes! Can't wait to see what others are thinking too.

Jamie Ridler who is leading the group asked us to start in this way:

"Let's start by celebrating that simply by being here, by signing up and putting your name on the blogroll, you have acknowledged your creative self! You have stepped up and stepped in and said, yes, to your creativity. What a great way to start 2009!"

A bit about how the book is laid out. The book is divided into four gateways. The first is Engaging Your Creativity. This Gateway includes four secrets. Each week we will be reviewing a chapter.

This Chapter and the others to follow provide us with keys to unlock the gateway. I think I'll plan to share my thoughts on each key...

Responding to Creative Callings: I had never really considered myself 'artistic' but I had known that I had a wonderful sense of the creative. Seeing beauty where others didn't. I was a young thespian and have always enjoyed crafty things. I have always been one to notice the world around me, the beauty of the sky, changing of the colors, how things flowed together or did not. One of the blogs I read regularly, Magpie Girl, has a banner tag line which says, "distracted by sparkly things since 1969" a kindred spirit! I do love the shiny! Would an ordinary person stop to take a photo like the one above? I love a good distraction!

At no time however, did I consider this gift particularly valuable. Sure - I could put together a lovely board for the science fair, and the stage does prepare one for public speaking and networking, but I wasn't particularly good at ART. Just ask my teachers. Actually, that's not fair. Senior year in high school I took Freshman Art (I had already taken every science class and math class, study hall would have been a waste of time what with all the kids taking it to hang out, and all the good office and library jobs were already taken and besides, an art credit makes one look well rounded on the college applications right...?) Mr. Nicholson gave me an "A" each term. Perhaps it was because I sat still, was quiet, and didn't chew gum. I turned in every assignment complete and on time. But, perhaps he did think I had talent too.

Of course confusing art and creativity may be at the heart of that issue.

Problem solving is generally all about being creative. Finding solutions. Looking at things new ways. Stimulating new ideas.

Work in the laboratory is all about charts, record keeping, data, control, but also problem solving. When I look I look at my hobbies, they are all about being creative. It started with scrapbooking. Then when I found a copy of Artful Blogging it was out of control! Now it's art journaling, jewelry making, photography. I'm busting out all over. I had been questioning whether this was a real manifestation of my own self, or a desperate need to seek a common bond with my son, the real art student. Probably I am allowed to own it.

The author cracked me up when she spoke of noting the publications she was reading being about beauty and creating a change... if you could see my google reader and my bookshelf... I'm owning that one too!

Experimenting With New Processes: I think I have been taking on many new challenges. Also, dropping some other ones. Some of you may not realize the significance of that last statement. I dropped some other ones. I must say that allowing myself to quit something without guilt was clearly the highlight of my personal year last year. There are a few more things I need to work on quitting. That process is probably going to be the key to my happiness. Allowing myself to see the things which are not adding to my success and discarding them is one of my goals.

Life is about the choices we make. Mine have often been made based on the path of least resistance. My son and I had a conversation early in his college career in which I was trying to explain that most adults still don't really know what they want to be when they grow up - including me. I like my job. I'm good at it. The people are mostly great. It is stimulating, but not exactly fulfilling. I need to find a path that is. I'm tired of saying I don't want to go to work each morning. Kind of like the bird in the photo above - some choices may not be all they seem!

Seeking Success Stories: I'm excited to read the words of the women in this book. I agree with the author that not enough women's voices are heard. Those that are, we find a way to tear down. It doesn't matter how smart you are if you aren't pretty enough or thin enough. If you are pretty, you can't possibly be smart. Powerful? Bitch. Rich? Greedy or shallow. Talented? Undeserving for any number of reasons. Oprah Winfrey. Rosie O'Donnell. Caroline Kennedy. Paris Hilton. I can't even name any role models I have because I have fallen prey to this school of thought. Time for some changes.

Learning the Secrets: That's why we're here!

Won't you join us?!


Jenn said...

I love your intention of writing each post without reading anyone else's. To be totally honest, I think I'm the exact opposite. I like to form my thoughts among the strata of others (ie. I kinda like to cheat and read what others think). Though when we are given more specific challenges, I think I'll find writing my own thoughts less challenging than the first chapter was for me.

This isn't the first post I've read that mentioned problem solving type of creativity. I never think of problem solving creativity as being the same thing as artistic creativity, but I think I need to stop and re-examine some of my assumptions about creativity.

KathrynAntyr said...

I wrote my post without reading anyone else's too. I wanted to be authentic. I like how you organized your thoughts in your response to the first chapter. I found myself nodding with each comment. I think so often people associate creativity with ART when in fact one can be creative without being artistic. You explore this so keenly in your post.

What stood out the most in your post was when you said, "I have been taking on many new challenges. Also, dropping some other ones." Ahhh, I've been learning to do the same. I like how you mention not feeling guilty about dropping them too. I too have learned this. I discovered a wonderous place in blogland and found myself feasting on this creative buffet. I've been experimenting with so many techniques and challenges but found overload within a couple of months. I gave myself permission to say Yes and No ~ without guilt.

I love your photo ~ how cool!

Enjoy this 12-week journey which I believe will be the beginning of a new life adventure.

Secret Wish Jar said...

Yup, art and creativity are not the same thing, it took me a while too to not confuse them.

I too wrote my post without reading anyone else's first. Actually I didn't even read the first chapter until after I wrote my post. I just saw the title of the first secret and I started writing about that.

Looking forward to sharing this journey with your!

Diana said...

I agree with finding happiness in letting go of art we try that just doesn't work for us. It's not easy since we put so much initial time and effort into it. I have some things to I need to just give up on too. I expect I'll then have more time for the crafts I really love.

Genie Sea said...

Yes! I totally understand the significance of finally being able to drop some things, sometimes people without guilt. Being able to say know judiciously, is a wonderful thing indeed. :)

May your journey be fruitful and your creativity multiply! :)

Jamie Ridler said...

Yes! Here's to owning it and sparkly things and outta control creativity and art-full blogging and dropping things and the twists and turns of your personal story. Thank you for sharing so much!

I wonder what's going to happen next!

Laume said...

I seriously considered participating in this book group, even to the point of almost ordering the book - until I realized it was a DISTRACTION. And that I was supposed to focus on my own stuff this year and not get DISTRACTED. I'm so that corvid hopping about after the latest shiny thing. So, not gonna do it. But I am going to read all the participants posts about it. And I'm gonna order the book through our local inter-library loan program. If I can ever find a time when our f*$K^i% small town library has it's doors open. Sigh.

I like the photo of the bird nest - you have to wonder what was going through the bird's mind to choose such an exposed sight. Are the lights warm? And why yellow instead of red or green? Where they ambivalent?

I'm with you - write your posts first and then read what others say. Although, maybe it's a two post thing. First write what you think without being exposed to others comments and then a second post with any new insights you gain from reading other participants posts.

Laume said...

Oh yeah - forgot about the "dropping" projects part. That's a really hard one for me too but always feels like an accomplishment in itself when I manage it.

Taexalia said...

Hi Connie,

I'm also writing my posts before looking at all the others :)

Also, I agree with what you say about women's voices not being heard and women often being the first to tear those voices down. It amazes me what women will do to each other.

The two role models that spring to mind for me are Susan Sarandon and Maya Angelou :)

Brght Blessings

risa said...

I am looking forward to the journey of reading Twelve Steps and sharing my thoughts and reading what others have to say! I'll be back here along the way!