Nurturing the Seeds of Creation

This is a digital version of my current exhibition in Vence with Danette Quartey. The words are printed on transparencies and floated over shadowbox frames so they cast a nice shadow onto the photos. When I can photograph them without reflections, I’ll post them here.

The Seeds of Creation

Creation is life.
Life is creation.
From the seed to the flower to the fruit,
whether life or cosmos or chair,
everything comes into being through the creative process.

Within each of us lie the seeds of creation.
What do these seeds need to thrive?
Are you nurturing them with love and attention?
Does your environment support their formation?

When all the elements for growth are in place,
the seeds sprout,
the flowers bloom
and the fruit is born.

The Seed of Life welcomes you home.

This Would Have Seemed Impossible

It’s been almost a year since you last heard from me. And what a year it’s been: a year where discovery, learning and re-invention took center stage.

Eleven months ago, I took a leap into Lisa Sonora’s 9-month visual journaling facilitator program that became a roller coaster ride through my own creative journey.

I remember a time when this path would have seemed impossible for me.

creative journey facilitatorOfficial Graduate Creative Journey Facilitator Training 2015

I started out in life thinking I could never be an artist. Playing with paint and paper was for other people.

I wasn’t sure who those other people were but I was pretty sure they weren’t me.

But the desire to create was planted firmly in my heart. And it wouldn’t go away.

Even as I tried to fit myself into a normal life, pursuing a degree in communication, I lusted after those studio shots in magazines where one could barely catch a glimpse of the working surface for all the creative mess that lay on top.

And the tools!

Brushes and pens and markers, oh my!

Messy DeskArtist Studio

How I wanted to put myself smack in the middle of that very scenario. My heart races as I relive the memory.

What was it that separated me from my desires?

A wall of beliefs. I simply didn’t believe that life could be mine.

I slowly came to realize that desires live in our hearts for a reason.

Desires conjure up visions of what life could be like if only you’d listen. Yet so many of us deny or discount our desires.

What I personally discovered was that on some deep level, I didn’t feel I deserved to have what I wanted, to explore the world both behind and in front of my eyes through paint. Yes, for others. No, for me.

Until I saw a way through.

Spending time on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, I watched women sitting on the ground with their backstrap looms weaving fabric, one strand at a time.

An idea began to take form. This was something I could do.

On the way home from this trip, I had a dream in which an image appeared; a fully formed image of three figures each in their own panel. And I was the artist.

Great Spirit TriptychGallery 57 Show ~ Great Spirit Triptych ~ ©Linda Hough 1987

When I got home, I took the one step that led me to where I am today. I signed up for a weaving class. I eventually went on to weave the dream image. (above)

Now, today, I have a designated workspace with tools ~ lovely tools~ and a new desire. My feelings about what I want to do are no longer stuck inside but are leading the way in this brand new phase of life.

The facilitator training provided me the time and space to plunge to the depths of my creative soul. I returned with a renewed commitment not only to my personal artwork but also to supporting others in discovering the magic of the creative process.

I’ve come to understand at an even deeper level the value and importance of being creative, not only by doing a certain activity but also in the making of a life.

That artist studio image above? It’s another dream come true: my very own messy workspace.

An Incredible Lightness of BEing

play, peace, powerPeace, Play & Pleasure, Visual Journal Page, ©Linda Hough 2015

Today, as I sat on the couch with my morning cup of coffee, I noticed something different.

I have changed.

Instead of thinking about all the things I’m not doing, the food I’m not eating, the person I’m not becoming, I was thinking about the opposite.

And I was noticing that this change is not a momentary blip in an otherwise ordinary morning, but something deep down that has actually transformed.

Having a daily creative practice has lightened up my life. When I’m working in my visual journal, I am having a personal conversation with myself. Not the self that is enjoying this beautiful Sunday morning. But rather the deep Self that doesn’t often get a chance to speak.

When I’m sitting at the table, my journal in front of me, I never know where I’m going. The colors beckon, the images delight and suddenly one is chosen. There is paint involved, glue and often, colored pens and markers. I feel myself gently enter the flow, where nothing else matters but that which is before me. My whole BEing smiles.

Sometimes it is in the middle of the journey, or sometimes not till the very end, that I know or understand what it is I’m creating.

Sometimes the journey is rough, confusing and unclear, as nothing makes sense. Through persistence, through patience and sometimes a night’s rest, the next step always emerges.

Thus far, the journey has taken me on the ride of my life. Literally, I comb the depths of my soul for information that leads me to discover more of who I really am.

As this is happening, I realize I’m significantly more content with almost everything.

I no longer have the desire to numb myself with meaningless distractions. After years of struggling with food cravings, I find that I can easily sit next to my husband as he crunches on chips, or enjoys French bread and pastries. I’m not even tempted.

When I feel troubled or the desire to explore something, I know exactly where to go. I sit down and lose myself in my visual journaling, only to find the most precious of gifts.

I take the first steps into the unknowning and trust that the process will do as it always does, show me the way. I pour out my deepest emotions and receive the grace of understanding and wisdom.

The most amazing gift of all is that everything I experience in my journal, I can take into life. The creative process transfers directly to life, making life a whole lot more fun.

Simple color and interesting shapes make up stories that emerge out of nothing. As I look at my table even now, I know the joy will never end because there is always something new and different to discover. Always a mystery to unveil or a question to be answered.

Here, in the pages of my journal, I’ve found my sanctuary, my soul space, my heartbeat. And I’ve found this most incredible lightness of BEing.

Oh Say Can You See?

I recently read something that really pissed me off.

Harvard Business Review published an article called Women and the Vision Thing.
The subtitle got me going right away.

Basically, the claim was that women are judged to be less visionary than men.

Okay, this article was talking about business, women and leadership.

But it got me thinking about women in general and our visions.

Is it true that women are less visionary then men?

OR is it true that women have plenty of vision, but what has been lacking is the ability to empower those visions enough so that they get out into the world? To initiate enough forward motion that would usher in the help, resources, and perseverance that it usually takes to realize a vision in real life.

Perhaps we are too exhausted from banging our heads against walls that simply aren’t moving because, generally speaking, we tend to be the ones who provide the support, not the ones whose visions get supported.

This can be as true on a personal level as it is in business.

BoredWe Hold Too Much Sadness and Resignation

A vision is an image that appears in the mind or the imagination, sometimes as a flash of insight, sometimes created as a fully formed, detailed version of the end product.

In this case, the end product is your life.

A vision needs a creator. First to see the vision, then to recognize it as worthy of creation, and if she is the one to do it, finally to create it.

Conditioning and social structures have laid some very deep tracks in our DNA for women to support others rather than create our own visions. Or have our visions supported.

What gets sacrificed most often is a woman’s creative voice, her creative expression. We make everything and everyone more important than our own creative work.

No matter how many times we’ve heard it, we do not put our oxygen mask on first. This has always been the way. For most of us.

The thing is, we are all naturally creative beings.

To not create or express what we see inside, our visions and our dreams. To squash the creative desires that come naturally to us. To not know and love our unique creative voice. This is what leads to so much unhappiness and sadness in the world.

If you are squirming in your seat right now…good!

You are hearing the discontent of the still, small voice within that is yearning to receive your attention, your time, any time to see the vision that is lying dormant inside you.

Linda at 5I Had It Early On But I Forgot…[Visual Journal Page]

Personally, I am very familiar with this struggle.

I came into the world curious and creative only to realize these qualities were not particularly appreciated. I diverted my attention to various paths that all ended with lack of interest.

Until I recognized and reclaimed my own creative voice and valued my passions and desires, I was restless, frustrated and dissatisfied.

I understand how difficult it is to put your creative voice in a position of primary importance, how easy it is to discount it.

I also know that acknowledging your own dreams and desires as valid is what will make the difference between a lackluster life and a divine life filled with glorious moments of extended bliss.

Yes, that is really possible.

With a vision.

Finding your own personal vision for your life is like having your own personal guidance system. You are clear on where you want to go and the process of getting there unfolds before you like the red carpet on Oscar night.

Your creative voice is given the place of honor in your life that it deserves.

Young woman with visionWhat Does Your Divine Life Look Like?

No, women do not lack vision.

We have all the vision in our hearts the world can sustain.

What we need is the clarity and confidence to see our visions as valid and possible. To give them importance and priority.

Only then will we gather the help, resources and support we need to make our visions real.

If you are currently unsatisfied with where your life is headed,

If you are in a transition and don’t know which way to go,

If you are sick and tired of sacrificing your own creative voice to answer the call of duty,

I have an invitation waiting for you…click here to see it

The Good News and the Bad News

I had a couple of interesting conversations this week.

In The DarkIn The Dark ~ Oil on Panel 16” x 16” ©Linda Hough
[Private Collection]

The conversations went something like this: I’m so unhappy right now. Life sucks. My work sucks. I’m bored and done with it all. That was their part.

My part: I’m really sorry to hear that. I know you as someone who has so much life in you, so creative and enthusiastic. Maybe you just need a change of scenery? Perhaps a trip would do you good.

Other person: I’ve got no money to go anywhere.

Me: Hmm, why not pour all that energy into some art? Go back to your roots and create something.

Other person: That takes money AND space. Can’t do that.

Me: Really? Could you not eek out some space on the table to sit down and draw? Or even just brainstorm some future ideas?

Other person: No I can’t. Why did I even call you?

Me: Because you know I know who you really are.

Not deterred for a minute, I continue to offer up possible ways to get this downward-spiraling energy interested in something besides spiraling down.

Maybe you can see where it led.

That’s right….nowhere.

There was an excuse for every idea, a counterpoint to every point. These people were committed to their path of misery.

Even if you can’t relate to this in the moment, I’d imagine there’s been a time or two when you could. I know I’ve been there myself: don’t bother me, I’m suffering.

The Decision detailThe Decision (detail) ~ Oil on Canvas on Panel 13” x 20” ©Linda Hough
[ Available ]

So, here’s the good news and the bad news.

The good news first: You are completely in charge of yourself. You have the ability to change your trajectory. It takes a couple of things. First, feeling bad enough that you want to change. Second, making a decision that you will take at least a little step forward to turn your energy around.

The bad news now: You are completely in charge of yourself. You have the ability to change your trajectory. Why is this bad news? Because with this information, you cannot blame someone else. You cannot give responsibility to someone else. You cannot wait to be rescued.

Well you can…but ultimately you are the one in charge of determining how you want to live. Victim or creator, it really is your choice.

This is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make in your life. The perspective from which you look out into the world will determine how you experience it. Quantum physics has proven this beyond a doubt. See the world as a victim and you get to be right. See the world as a creator and unlock the power of your creative expression. Then watch how impossible it is to be miserable.

Do you want to lift yourself up to the kind of life you WANT to live? Whether you believe it is possible or not, you’ll be right.

Dance of the HeyokaThe Dance of Crazy Wisdom ~ Weaving 16” x 20” ©Linda Hough
[ Available ]

Here are 5 important points that any creator will want to activate:

– Find the one thing that is absolutely worth living for. EVERYONE has something deep within that is calling out for expression. Often our frustration and dissatisfaction is a symptom of not expressing our gifts and/or authentic self. If we are hiding our talents and true self, we are bound to be some degree of miserable.

– At some point, you’ll want to make a good solid decision about how you want to live your life. Do you want to be in the driver’s seat as creator or do you want to continue to sit in the back seat while someone else drives you where they want to go? You get to decide.

Bring your body and mind into a physically healthy state. What you put in affects what you get out. It takes energy to move life forward in the direction of your choice. Having a stable, healthy physical state is helpful for any aspiring creator. Your mind gets healthier as well, the more positive, inspirational material you feed it. Again, you get to decide. When your mind is on your side, no telling what amazing feats you’ll accomplish.

Create a supportive environment. Both physically and emotionally, a supportive, friendly environment helps to keep your perspective positive and your energy high. Nothing beats misery more than a beautiful space to inhabit, the right tools for your creation, inspiring music, and the support of people who believe in you.

Surround yourself with positive influences. This is similar to the above with an emphasis on people. Who is doing what you want to do? Who are your inspirations and what do they give you? They’ve walked your path and can show you both the pitfalls and the pleasures. Whether they are living or not, surround yourself with their wisdom.

Fall is just around the corner. Often Fall is more of a time for renewal or new beginnings than New Year’s. We can look forward to shedding what is no longer needed and moving towards a life where misery is just a memory, where we are creating something that is meaningful to us, and a life that makes our hearts sing.

I’m all in. How about you?

* includes taxes, and shipping and handling anywhere in the world. Click here to inquire or purchase.