At the beginning of January I sat in my study, journal in hand. I burned three white candles, one for new beginnings, one for the past, and one for balance. I placed a quartz crystal on my desk and drank a mug of cool water. I was resetting my body, cleansing away any negative notions about the past, what I should have done, what I missed out on, where I went wrong. I was filling myself with white light, wiping the slate clean. I journaled away my pain, wrote down my goals and wishes, and let myself start fresh. No guilt, no pressure.
Calendars are a man made construct, the seasons aren’t. Day ends with night (or vice versa), winter ends with spring, which begins with summer, which ends with fall, then again winter, and ‘round and around it goes. But for humans there is a beginning, middle, and end, no matter where you start. Any changes I want to make can begin at any time during the year, but there is a considerable amount of energy at the push off of January, probably because so many people are thinking the same thing: how can I improve my life over the next year? The energy is palpable, and I enjoy joining with that energy to give myself a tailwind.
Since the onset of certain physical issues that began for me in April of last year, I’ve had to fight my way back toward living a creative life. I’ve had to do it slowly and with patience and self-kindness, something I’m not good at. I’ve been teaching myself to follow my intuition, even if it seems silly or insignificant. For example, one day I had the urge to photograph a red pepper. I had no idea why, but I told myself, 'Don't overthink. Just do it.' I photographed the pepper and then left the pictures on my phone so I could stare at them, wonder why I wanted to take them, and generally let my imagination romp. I had zoomed in on the blistery inner flesh of the pepper—it reminded me of a tongue. This led to a creepy flash fiction piece about a witch, and this stirred up my imagination for another story all because I let myself play.
Creative intuition is directly connected to creative play. Julia Cameron wrote a famous book about it, The Artist’s Way. I think I lost some of this kind of play when I got sick last year. That coupled with my creative burnout completely buried my artistic intuition. That is why when January 2024 rolled in, I greeted it gently. It's wise for creative people to retreat once in a while. It’s not that we can't create under pressure, and sometimes it’s necessary, like when meeting a deadline. But most often I think creativity is stirred by a softer kind of signal, one that happens at a more mysterious, primal level.
Balance is my word, for 2024. And I’m still trying to figure out what that means for me. Some things that seem to be helping are following my creative spark, listening to the muses, following faerie lights into a darkened forest. ;-) Balance means giving myself quiet moments, but also kicking down a wall if I need to. Rather than rigid resolutions, I’m setting intentions, which are adaptable, leaving room for growth. I’m savoring the journey instead of constantly yearning for the future. Flow might be my second word for 2024. Letting the river flow where it needs. Finding nourishment along the way, and allowing for mindful reflection in order to stay connected to my intentions and artistic values.
The magic of creativity ignites in the quiet spaces. Where do you find your creative spark?
Until next time,