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Frantic vs Slow Paced: In Creative Mode

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Lately I've been reading up on creative loafing. In this time of covid-pause, you would think it would be easy to be slowed down and relaxed. But what I find instead, and studies seem to corroborate this, is that we live in a constant underlying state of anxiety. Watching the case numbers rise and fall doesn't help. If you thought this would be an excellent time to be creative, maybe yes, maybe no.

We can use some practices to help us slow down. Reading a wonderful book by author and teacher Christian McEwen, World Enough and Time, has reminded me about some of these.

Christian McEwen says the antidote to the frantic pace of the world and the anxiety that it brings with it, is to slow down, and listen to the body, mind and heart. It reminds me of the same attitude I bring to yoga, and my breathing body.

“All of us can benefit from some form of emptiness, of ‘ma’…doing nothing, by simply being… Any act of making does indeed begin with being. It is as if one had to shift one’s center of attention down from the busy talking head into the slower, dumber, wiser, human body, and from there into the body of the project itself; the poem, the painting, the piece of music. ‘Listening’, one says, because that is perhaps the best analogy for such expansive receptivity. But it is a listening that engages all one’s breathing body, and one’s spirit too. There is great tenderness and vulnerability in this.

…listening for something one has not yet found words for – what the Japanese call ‘kufu’, asking the abdomen – reaching down into the muck, “chipping blindly away at the hard rock face, reaching out to the unknown and the unborn”. Allowing time to listen, to slow down, to surrender can feel like a tremendous waste of time. And yet, and yet…”. (World Enough & Time)

Make room to let a sense of mystery enter

“You must first empty the cup, before you can fill it. We are overflowing with busyness, thoughts, activities. Now it is time to pause and shut down a little, to pay close attention to something small, almost invisible, deciphering what is wanting to be born. How to become an ‘apprentice to the heart’. It will require great patience, but the gift is that our heart can open into the non-linear, non-time space of creative flow where it thrives.

We begin by entering the feminine space of creative inquiry, giving ourselves “time to dream and drift, to listen and attend”. It is a receptive process. Our “imagination requires slowness: slow and savor.” Paulis Berensohn (potter, artist and writer).

You may feel resistance. Let’s acknowledge that.

The pull towards distractions, social media, Facebook, Instagram or the allure of popcorn and television is very strong. But if you are willing to make yourself a sacred space to pause in, you will begin to feel more Ease creeping in.

If you want to explore what is trying to emerge in your creative process, join me for a four week online class beginning Wed., March 17, from 4 pm to 6 pm EST. Registration details are here:

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