holding (creative) space

“Holding on to the past is the riskiest choice you can make. Because when you hold on to the past – you erase any chance that you can change.” -Mastin Kipp

I notice often in my conversations with creatives and small businesses (myself included) that openness will fall along an abundance or a scarcity mindset when faced with new ideas. Willingness to embrace new ideas or fear new ideas has something to do with whether the creative person is hanging onto or can work with failures from the past.

I'm not even talking about Fall On Your Face failures- the kind we think stay with us the longest... but more like when a creative in business tries something, and gains a little momentum from it, and then the wave crests and dies off. Disappointments. Investments. Loss. There is grief there, a specific kind of grief. And unmet, unloved, and unreleased, that grief can consume the creative. It accumulates in the rafters of the heart. It suffocates possibility. 

I've been thinking a lot about my own places where I'm stubbornly holding on to a narrative that needs to be healed, released, and loved. I have specifically been thinking about the amazing creative potential of the human body, and that held, old, unreleased ideas and grief within our bodies creates disruptions within our physical selves. Creativity will not be stopped, so the body creates illness, stupor, depression. The body is nature, teaching us.

I've been thinking about the personal experiences I've had of "tapping into source" (whatever that means to you as a creative person), and the way that my sacred creative space resides in:
1. my body, voice and mindset
2. my home
3. my work and the city where I choose to live
and lastly 4. my *interaction* with the natural world.*

*this list changes and grows, evolves and flows with my own changes.

my way of dealing with a loud and overwhelming bus commute last fall: earth sculptures by the bus stops.

my way of dealing with a loud and overwhelming bus commute last fall: earth sculptures by the bus stops.

I have been waiting, perfecting, and dancing around growing or allowing change in my own artwork since the last big shift. I realized lately I've been holding on to an old image I had of my previous Etsy shop: ouou. I guess in the back of my mind I was waiting for my cards to reach a level of darlingness that that shop had on the one hand, and (somehow, miraculously) then I would allow, be READY for, all these other creative projects to be unfurlled with the other hand.

What am I holding back for?

First of all, my card shop is all fun right now. I'm selling in 6 local shops and I'm completely delighted. When I feel like it (like when I released these Super Birthday cards) I make new cards. On my weekends I get to be my dorky old Etsy self and hang out listening to podcasts; printing, scorring, cutting, packaging cards. So I've only had 1 sale on Etsy with my latest shop. So what!

I am ready to embrace changes. I'm ready to tell stories and bring up my sisterhood with the heroines I've created. I've been burned many, many times in my almost 10 years doing this creative thing in a public way (since Etsy) and I'm not famous. I haven't made it, I don't have a set income or etc etc etc, but I don't want to set limits on my future based on the pitfalls of the past.
I'm not daunted.
This is not my hobby, this IS my livelihood.
Whew. I said it. Art is my livelihood.
Creativity is my livelihood.
Creativity is my bread and butter.
I am here because of creative life force. I am creative power.

In fact, I feel newly refreshed for holding space for creative movement to come through and develop newness. Through my physical body and mindset, practices, and daily rhythm. Through my home. Through my ways of working.  Through my continued exploration of the place I live. Through my ever-evolving relationship with nature.

My cards are cooking, they're doing just fine. I'm happy with them, delighted to make them. Recently I began the practice of blessing my space and blessing my work as I packaged and boxed it up... still able to learn new ways of seeing my own creations!

I am creating a sacred space to invite possibility.
I am opening up a beautiful, held space to invite creative spirit.
I am creating by clearing out, by fully feeling, by allowing grief to have it's say and move along.
I am feeling safe in my creative destruction/ invocation because as a part of nature, I am held within nature, and cherished.
I am allowing my best dreams, wild fancies, belly laughs, and sparkle-colored daydreams to run rampant through my heart, to infuse my body with new energy, and to slowly come into existence.

PS I've really been inspired by the trauma recovery and empowering writing of Rachel Maddox, and linked to her blog above. I also have been just totally in love with the ethos of two working mamas who have built a creative business called SoulKu. They've gotten me singing over my cards and blessing my outgoing mail... those of you who followed Post know I do so love a good blessing! Read their (just lovely!) blog here!

Blood Moon

Wow. How was that magical Harvest Moon for all of you? There were so many rich symbols there: the blood of birthing something new, the eclipsing of old patterns, the emergence into a new way of being. I took a winding path on my way to my moon viewing (because here I am in a city)... but again it was a lesson in letting go, and trusting, and I ended up like everyone else: under that stunning moon, blessed by the show.

This photo I took in the last week at the preschool I spent last year part-time teaching. We were looking at a book of Andy Goldsworthy photographs and one of the kids, inspired, asked me to re-create this pattern with him. He called it a zig-zag, but I see a path. Winding, sometimes broken at the edges. Looks a little like our digestion, a little like lightening. I'll take it.


At the time he and I were both walking through the threshold into a new unknown. He was off to Kindergarten, I was off to invest in my arts again. Fully on this path, again. Last night, under the red swell of the Harvest Moon, walking through the darkened streets (so many sirens! such wind!) as the moon was eclipsed, I felt fully immersed in the spacious mystery that is the wide-open field of self discovery, of creation, and process. Sometimes the path is not so clear. You take one step in the darkness... you take the next...

What are you out there creating today? Have you found yourself claiming your path, or are you in the dark of night, breathing through trust? Honor those moments, your process of becoming. Whatever you are doing, I hope your harvest is sweet, and your path is met with helpful spirits lighting the way.