This week we have a guest blog from Bethan Woodward who has been a brilliant contribution on our Get Stuff Done calls, Creative Practices call and now The Art of Autobiography calls. Here, she shares what the Creative Practices call gave her.
Bethan has her own digital marketing company Beth W Digital, and her website is bethwdigital.com
“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow”Kurt Vonnegut
Creativity is important. As humans, we need to create; we do it instinctively every day and every one of us has an incredible capacity for it. Even those of us who don’t believe ourselves to be creative are creating on a regular basis. Whether in the form of a nourishing meal, a conversation with a friend or an acoustically enhanced ballad in the shower: We create our vision of the world and therefore our experiences and place within it. Yes, we are creating all the time, but do we take the time to notice, to make space for that quality of creativity, and to really enjoy it and honour the process?
And how rare it is that we share that messy, untamed and sometimes emotional process with others… More often than not, it is not until our creation is finished and polished that we allow it to be seen by the outside world. We focus on presenting the end product and how well it turned out, rather than the journey we took and the things that emerged along the way.
As someone who has had a love/frustrate relationship with creativity, always more focused on the quality of the outcome rather than that of the process, Life Itself’s Creative Practice Calls were a dose of medicine for me and my perfectionists mind. Encouraged to leave my judgements and preconceived ideas at the door, I embarked on a journey of topsy turvy exploration alongside a small group of other adventurers, each one of us, it seemed, with our own bespoke map, ready to compare notes on what we found.
Through the medium of imperfect art and honest conversations, in the space of an hour, carved out before the hustle and bustle of the working day began, we tried new things, shared openly and encouraged each other’s curiosity. The exercises on the call had us engaging with different senses, mediums and perspectives, bringing to life everyday objects and giving form to abstract feelings and impressions.
The change it made to my day, my week even, surprised me. In between calls I found myself carrying the quality of the exercises with me into the day and engaging with the world differently. I also found that I had a new enthusiasm for waking up early (if only once a week). I loved that even as I sat alone in my apartment, I had access to a window into my virtual coursemates’ lives and artistic souls through the magic of zoom and the creative curriculum of Life Itself. Led devotedly by Sylvie and Petronella, we dove weekly into exercises that asked us to consider our perspectives.
Over the space of the six weeks on the call I wrote a heartfelt letter to my late grandmother expressing my admiration of her wild and taboo behaviour as a young woman; I mused on the life and previous experiences of my houseplants; I painted my emotions in blobs and swirls of colour (an exercise I have repeated many times since, when at a loss of how to articulate how I feel) and I created my first self portrait, studying the contours of my face like never before. Do you know what the space that you live in feels like from behind a blindfold? I do. There are things you don’t notice when you rely on your eyes, even in a place where you’ve been isolating for weeks. On the calls I learned not only about myself but also about the space that I exist within. I realised that there is magic in the interval between a blank page and a finished piece- that the masterpiece is a souvenir of the journey you took, and the way that it changed your view.
So when was the last time you truly made space for creativity? The last time you wholeheartedly gave creativity the centre stage to really let loose? Give yourself permission to create without purpose, without reason and without the worry of it making sense to the eyes and ears of others. Share it. Share what you found rather than what you made, invite others to enjoy the process with you, spread the word that by collectively engaging with the magical quality of our creative process we can better understand and connect with ourselves, our communities and the world.
Thank you Beth! If you would like to join our latest call that combines the Creative Practices call and Autobiographical practices, The Art of Autobiography, book here!