Creativity Sappers – What are they?

When I speak of creativity, there are two things that I can be referring to. One is the creative inspiration, that spark of an idea that comes to you. The second thing I may speak of is the act of creativity. This is what someone does to manifest the spark of inspiration into physical reality. More often than not when someone talks about being creative, they are speaking about the act of creativity, the doing and shaping of the spark of inspiration that has come to them. When I speak of creativity sappers I refer to the act of creativity and not the spark of creativity. I don’t believe that the spark of creativity can be truly sapped.

I believe that, by nature, human beings are creative beings. Everyday we are constantly taking past experiences and learnings and rearranging them in new things – different than they were before. This is creativity. We do this naturally and really without much thought. When you add some new ingredients to a old recipe, that is being creative. Created a new outfit for yourself – that is also creativity. Human beings are so creative that we don’t even think about it much and have delegate the word – creative- to only mean a few special people such as artists, musicians, writers, etc. We tend to think of people in those professions we think about someone who is creative. However, we are all creative and are being creative constantly. That, I feel, can never be truly turned off.

So, when I speak of creativity sappers I am referring to those things, events, ideas, philosophies that sap energy and prevent people from engaging in the act of creating something. The ideas, the sparks, are still there and yet, when the sappers are about, these ideas never seem to manifest into the physical plan. There are many different types and some them are very old friends of mine. You will probably recognize some of them yourself as I bring them out and introduce them. So, to be clear, a Creativity Sapper is any feeling, situation, person or action that, on a continued basis, prevents someone from engaging in the act of manifesting the spark of there inspired idea into physical reality. The sap the energy to doing anything right out of you. Goodbye. Nice to know you.

In the next few weeks I will be taking on the sappers one by one. I will pull them out and introducing them to you. I hope to make you aware of what might be preventing you from engaging in your acts of creativity. These are only some of the ones I see, felt or experienced in others. If you have a sapper you would like to talked please let me know. What is sapping you is probably sapping someone else to! Maybe, just maybe, an answer will come on how to prevent that sapper from working it’s ugly magic on you.  I hope to support us all in getting back to manifesting our unique spark of inspiration into the physical world. Beware Sappers, beware. Your days are numbered!

In love and light

Celina

My Adventures with Mandalas!

The most common question I’m asked when people are presented with my mandala deck is: “What is a mandala?” The word mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “circle.”  Sanskrit is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and Buddhism. Within Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas have long history as a meditative and spiritual practice. The term is of Hindu origin and appears in the RigVeda, which is a collection of Vedic hymns. In that context, mandala is used to describe what we might call a chapter in a book or a round in a song. The universe is believed to originate from these hymns. So a mandala is part of original creative universal power. The sand mandala in the Buddhist tradition is a way to impart Buddha’s teaching and attaining enlightenment. Mandalas have been, traditionally, given sacred and profound meanings.

My first exposure to mandalas was not in any spiritual perspective – it was in an artistic endeavor. The circle motif for an artist can be intimidating. That made it a prefect assignment when I was in college studying fine art. Most media that artist work with are not round, so eventually, you will have a lot of open (blank/white) area. Making friends or coming to terms with these open areas is part of learning to be an artist. The understanding that this blank space (often called negative space) is as important to a piece as the areas the artist works with is something most artists learn. As my first attempt at dealing with a circle motif came early in my learning, I was still making friends, so to speak, with this idea. This was to be my first visit with the idea of the mandala. Though it was certainly not my last.

My next exposure to a mandala came when a friend told me of an event happening in my town. The Buddhist monks were creating a sand mandala at the local museum of fine art. I did not get to see the process of actually creating the mandala. That viewing came much later, after the birth of YouTube. It was after that website came into being was able to watch the process. I did, however, get to see the finished piece. It was bigger than I expected 5, 6, 7, or 8 feet across. It had such incredible detail and precision. It blew my mind that this amazing piece of art was made out of sand. Out of sand! It was amazing to me. It was also humbling to know of the dedication and commitment that process would have taken the monks. I was to learn later that after creating these amazing pieces over the course of many days, that the monks, in what I’m told is an amazing ceremony, scoop all the sand up into a pile. Then in a procession they take that sand to the nearest body of water and release it into the water. For them this process is about the process and ceremony. It is certainly not about the result.

Fast forward many years. I was in a place with my art and creativity where I was feeling stuck. I had not created on a regular basis in many years. It was also at this time that I was exploring my place in this world in terms of my spirituality. I was exploring my beliefs and practices and discovering what this looked like for me. In October of 2009, I began a training to be initiated as a Modern Day Priestess. At my first weekend I felt called, drawn, towards the mandala again. On the first of November I began a journey that was to last 4 months. I did an average of one mandala a day for that period of time. It was amazing, incredible, and meditative for me. It supported me in reconnecting to my art and my creativity, and helped me begin to find my own spiritual voice. It was such a healing process for me that I want to share. Thus, the mandala meditation deck was born.

In love and light

Celina

War with my Art

I was talking with my mastermind team and the phrase “at war with my art” came from me. I thought that was a usual statement. I promised them I would explore it more. Here is the exploration.

My first thought was to decide, for me, what being at war meant. When I hear the words “at war” what do I think of. The first thing that comes to mind is that all lines of communications have broken down, that neither parties are willing to compromise, that the are insurmountable differences between the warring parties. I also think of “Take no prisoners” and “Death before surrender”. There is no honor in war but there is glory. Or maybe it might be the reverse – no glory but there is honor. I don’t know but both statements make me sad for us as a race. I also think of the futility of war. In the end it only causes more violence and hate and anger.

I don’t believe in insurmountable differences. I do believe that there are some times when no one is willing to give anything else. That no one is willing to compromise. That people can feel so backed into a corner that the only thing that feel they can do is come out swinging. Everybody loses. Funny how it is heard that there are no winners in war, yet we as a race are very eager to have one.
How does that apply to my art? How can I be at war with it? What does that mean?

The lines of communication have broken down between my art and me. Well, that is true. I no longer enjoy being with it. I don’t enjoy talking about it. I don’t play with it, explore it, invite it over to dinner and have tea with it. What is communication for me in regards to my art? Communication – communion. Communion with my art means being at one with it. I don’t have to think about what I’m doing or where I’m going, it just flows. It just is. It has been awhile since that has happened but I am relearning that again. I am finding my way back to that place of “no time” where it is just me the paper and the IDEA. The lines of communication have been jammed, if not broken, for a little while between me and my art. But the lineman are out are they are busy repairing the damage.

I am very certain that I am unwilling to compromise with my art. I have completely stopped allowing the process to lead. I have an image in my head of what the picture needs to look like. If it doesn’t, it is a complete and miserable failure. No comprise. No deviation. Just what I think it should be or nothing. Wow, when did I become so rigid with myself. I have always been hardest on myself and my work but I can’t remember when it become so stiff and hard and, well, uncompromising. When did I lose sight of the fun and the exploration and the joy of it? When did I lose that connection, that communion, to that part of me that loved the process? Where did the child go who justed loved to draw?

Are my differences with my art insurmountable? I sure hope not!

“Take no prisoners”. That certainly doesn’t apply in this case. I take prisoners all the time. Everyday! When ever I see something that I want to capture on canvas, when ever I take a picture for a future painting, when ever I have an idea that dies within me, unmade, unvoiced, never to be mourned with its passing, any time that happens I take prisoners. I have many of them. They wander around the prison camp in my mind, occasionally rattling the fence and screaming to be let out, kicking at the dirt and cursing the jailers. Maybe I should send in the Red Cross workers with relief packages and sympathy? Maybe I should just let them all go? That scares me. I have such resistance to it. “If I let them go where will I get my ideas?” Like there are a finite amount of ideas in the universe, like I will never see another flower against a stone or light playing in the tress that I must capture. How ridiculous! Let them go and let them find their way to other artists who will take them in, love them, cloth them feed them and give them back to the world. Just let them go. There will always be another idea.

“Death before surrender” Well! I’m certainly dying here, me and my art. So how do I surrender to it? Stop trying so hard. Stop forcing it to be what it may not be. Just stop. Go back to doing the art for the joy of it. Stop caring what it looks like and starting caring what it feels like to me. Stop looking over my shoulder for someone to tell me it’s good, or bad, or the wrong color or the right combination. Just stop and breathe and look and play again. Just surrender to the joy of it and the beauty of it and the place of “no time” where it’s just me, the paper, the idea and Spirit.

In love and light
Celina