Check in

So far so good….

Daily pages are happening, and so is a little movement and stretching.

Before 10am.

Tiny, tiny steps that are big, big achievements to this solo mama.

It is about grabbing it when you can. And letting it go, if you can’t.

That moment little one wanders off to play with his train for 5 minutes, I grab my book and write my 3 pages.

I am also grabbing moments to pick up a book and read…and what I read helps me in my search for my rain dance.

I think the biggest revelation here has been opening up space. Physically, mentally. Space for my creative dreaming mind (that brave young teenager part of me).

I had to start doing this in a literal sense by going ‘shelf by shelf’ as Gretchen Rubin would say. De cluttering, spring cleaning, letting go, making room, simplifying, finding a place for what we use or what we love aesthetically. Fixing broken things. Getting organised. Finding clarity.

This has also been happening to my calendar. Creating space, letting go of the things that don’t feel right anymore for my family, and making room for the things that do.

I still have a few shelves to go, but how about I start embodying this. Dust off the cobwebs in my bones, awaken my liver, dance my heart free, stretch, move for 10 minutes each day, before 10 am.

One of the best things to come from this so far (ironically as I type into a blog) has been my de cluttering of technology.

In her book ‘Happier at home’ Gretchen Rubin sets a goal to open up her time more for the things she loves, and it got me doing the same. Like her, I usually make calls while on the way somewhere or check my emails etc while I am waiting. I’ve stopped doing that. And it has reminded me of how  it’s those moments that can be your most creative and/or that allow the creative dust to settle and/or the observations made during them provide fuel for creative ideas.

Internet was only becoming a ‘thing’ when I first started studying dance at uni. I used to just book a computer once every couple of days…but now, it’s just here…in a knock,knock, knock at the door to your little world, all the time sense….of course this has many pros, but I think it hinders my creative mind a lot. I had forgotten how much I need to give my creative mind the space to digest and to dream.

It was a bit daunting at first – the idea of falling behind. But it’s again about de cluttering and organising the inbox. And booking in the time that’s right to open the door up.

From this overall process so far, I’ve made a wonderful change to little one and my routine. Simple, but wonderful.

Since he was a baby, I have cuddled him to sleep to the same piece of music. A beautiful piece that is soo inspiring, but that ends too soon. Now we listen to an entire CD each night – CDs that evoke dance in me. Nothing better than cuddling your child, closing your eyes and dreaming up dance.

This was the part of me I had lost.

This music dreaming was something I used to do as a teenager while I drifted off to sleep.

I am glad to have it back. And I hope little one likes it too.

I look forward to seeing what else I find as I make space again for my dance.

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September beginnings

So, so bazaar but somewhere in my dreams last night I came up with my plan.

Tim Minchin’s concept of art work being “an artefact (I have uploaded link to face book) of the time you are in when making it and the time you have to make it” reminded me that I need a time-line.
I am sure you have no interest in hearing about my time line!? But sometimes reading other people’s ways helps us find our own. So I am putting it out there just in case it might help you, if you are “lost in living” (another link I have uploaded to face book) like I get…
Feel free to share your own ‘creative rituals’ in the comments section of this post, or email me – no doubt it will spark further thought and ideas from myself and other readers (if anyone is reading this!?).
Making this plan public is also about accountability for me.
I have a few personal hurdles at the moment that are taking up a lot of time and energy – they are quite stressful and do make my creative heart feel a little guarded.
So I give permission to myself to go gently.
One foot at a time.
I am also a solo mama, so I don’t have someone to ‘look after the kids’ while I go for a walk let alone head to the studio.
My son is essentially on the walk with me (which is a beautiful thing – but does make your focus different to if you are on your own during the walk).
So I give myself permission to not just go gently, but to take it when I can.
Each day, for the month of September, I will:
– Catch a moment to do 3 pages of ‘daily page’ writing (an idea of Julie Cameron’s that I have been doing for years – less so as a Mama- I find it helps me calm my mind, organise my day, declutter my brain, if you like, so that creative ideas are given space to unfold). I usually do it with a cup of tea. I will catch a moment to do it either: a. when my son sleeps in b. when my son is engaged in independent play c. alongside my son as he draws.
But I must do it by 10am.

Stretch and move for 10 minutes , also by 10 am. While my son plays around me, climbs on me, stretches with me. I must play inspiring music at the same time to help me dream like I used to.

Dance with my son for 5 minutes to inspiring music in the pre-bed night time to shake off our day, connect, be spontaneous, brave, laugh, play, release.

Meditate for 5 minutes a day (obviously this can only happen when…if my son sleeps). This may seem irrelevant to being an artist (all of the above might!?). And in fact at a talk that I went to recently which was by a panel of 4 mother artists, a joke came up about one mother artist saying to herself “I should be meditating right now” (when she found the time to write). And that things like meditation or exercise had to go out the window given the time was limited. The priority had to be the art. I think of though, how I used to go to sleep dreaming up dance pieces and perhaps I need to do that again. Also though, I need to find presence, space, calm, and build my sense of self confidence and even sense of self identity right now. And I have a feeling meditation will help me to do this.

– Exercise is the same. In her book ‘Walking in the world’ Julie Cameron talks about how an artist’s practice should include a 10 minute walk. I might throw that in too!

All of the above might sound so simple, amateur etc….but it is me staying gentle, being realistic (financially, time wise).
It also allows me to be Mama Bear and slowly work the creative rituals into that.
One foot at a time.
On one hand I know that being the best Mama I can be means fostering my artistic self.
On the other I appreciate the simple pleasures of motherhood and want to keep the balance.
I also need to work to pay extra bills – so this is another layer in the life of the mother artist who does not earn consistent money from the art work or is trying to find ways to earn money from the work.

– Along side this I need to find 10 minutes a day to read. I am reading a few books at the moment (about creative practice) and will try reflecting on them through my blog….oh dear, that might mean another 10 minutes!?

– Eiks!?

The last thing…the scariest….the one I am really going to struggle with:

This one came up in my dreams.

Some mother-artists talk about how their art practice is now ‘tiny’. Tiny sketches or short stories. I wondered in my sleep how you do this as a choreographer? And I came up with a plan.

One movement a day. A gesture, a travelling movement, an action. One movement that I refine through the day and eventually capture in memory, drawing, words and/or video. I may eventually share with you occasionally as an offering .
That one is massive to me – that’s really doing the work. And like I said, my current guarded heart makes it more challenging. But perhaps this is what my movement will talk about. Perhaps I will find movement vocabulary to express a story that is locked up and needs to be danced.
Here I come September, the little rain dance begins with spring….

Vulnerable

Where is that brave young girl who didn’t worry so much about what other people thought?

Asked, while also valuing the adult in me who cares about what other people  think – in the sense that, they leave with something worthwhile.

It’s a fine line.

…taking risks, trusting instinct-the creative process, being honest-vulnerable, open

while

…not over indulging on your audience, reader, listener, self.

I’ve been told by mentors that if I am fascintaed/busy in the moment, others will be fascinated too.

Is this true?

Brave young girl tells me I need to lighten up and just put the work out there, f@&k ups and all.

Vulnerable adult woman doesn’t want to have her audience, readers, listeners, others leave without something in their heart…

So, I will attempt to make offerings. Because, without offerings, I am neither brave nor will others have a chance to leave with something.

Step one of my little rain dance.

An offering.

what have i done!?

What have I done!?

Have I just attempted to take myself seriously? Too seriously? At a time when I don’t ‘deserve’ to?

I’ve attempted to put myself out there.

For a minute there, I was in a state of panic because I thought I put myself out there as an ‘artist’. And I felt like a fraud.

I am not an artist? Am I? But my current practice is this:

– watching my son create the most splendid installations around our home. Installations that make me awe struck.

– contact improvisation jams with my son while making sure he doesn’t rip my hair out from my scalp.

– an addiction to creating inside and outside play spaces that provoke and inspire him and his friends.

– carrying, lifting, nose rubbing, back rubbing, cuddling, rocking, being silly.

– an obsession with tiny worlds through terrarium making and ogling.

– singing lullabies and duet improv jazz numbers…off key by the way…but on key enough to help him sleep or smile.

– noticing the simplest of moments and feeling so lucky to have seen it.

– reading.

– so much walking.

– spontaneous adventures.

– occasional lounge room dance offs.

Am I a fraud?

On one hand I think artists who don’t live life surely can’t frame it. And believe me I am living life right now.

On the other, I have been told by many, “If you are not doing the work” you are not an artist.

How dare I create a Facebook page under` the category of ‘artist’. Am I demeaning all of those hard working artists who are “doing the work”!? daily, I really hope not.

No. I’ve been an artist since I was born. It’s how I see the world. It’s how I think. There were times in my life when I had a daily practice, and then there were times I couldn’t. Or just didn’t (more on that in a later post).

This is the longest period though, so I do feel like a fraud.

I promise you, and myself, though that the tears behind the eyes. The pain behind the heart. The unframed joy. The adrenaline from running from a big bad wolf, the fear. The love for my child. The awe of his innate artistry. The stories that have piled up. Untold. Will be. In the way I have always know best to tell them, since i was 5 years old. My little rain dance.

I think I am warming up. I am sorting the beans. I am taking a very slow breath in.

I am seeking.

Searching.

Again.

For a daily practice that realistically fits my life a a mother. And that fuels the telling of story through dance.

while he is sleeping

While he is sleeping. I begin. I’m hungry, the washing sits wet in the basket. I should duck to the toilet. Or even have a shower!? Give the dog a cuddle. Dishes.

No, I begin today. And you, my (hopefully I have) readers, keep me accountable, inspired, accountable and motivated. I can find my own little rain dance again. I will. It’s been three years since I last created work. A solo. I turned into a beach whale when I was pregnant. Dancing resulted in my head in the toilet bowl. This surprised me, disappointed me. But I let myself ride the wave in. And trusted my body wanted rest.

And now, he wakes….

I will be back. Because i want to find my dance again. A practice. I commit to daily rituals that reawaken my choreographer. While he sleeps, with him, alongside him, alongside life, alongside the washing, the dishes, the adventures.

“Mummy”

I have begun my practice again…