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Mar 21, 2020
I send out a Creativity Prompt every morning five days a week to help us get through this social-distancing-time creatively. Here are the first five. If you would like me to add you to the list, I would be happy to send you a short positive inspiration and a creativity prompt each morning. Just send me an email and I'll add you to the list. firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the years I’ve loved reading historical accounts of ordinary people doing extraordinary things against the backdrop of historical events. I love reading diaries, perusing through sketchbooks and accessing old letters from history.
We are navigating new territories that will be seen in the future as historically world-changing.
So, let’s create a book… something we can draw in, paint in, write in…
A journal to explore what we are going through. This artwork can be something we can leave to others so that they may know how this time affected us not only collectively, through newspaper articles and online posts, but also individually, through our writings and art work.
So, part of the first prompt will be to find a blank book. Look around the house to see if you can find one.
For those of you who don’t have any way to get your hands on a blank journal, or a watercolor sketchbook, here’s an idea.
Make your own book.
Use printer paper. Keep all the pages in a folder together for now.
You can write and draw with ink or graphite on printer paper.
I will show you, at the end of our social-distancing-time, how you can bind your book.
Keep all your pages dated and numbered as you go. I suggest you only draw or write on one side of the paper.
Okay let’s get started.
Here’s is your first prompt:
Divide the book into segments. A place for you to write and a place for you to draw or paint. If you want to paint, but your sketchbook does not have heavy enough paper, then paint on a separate sheet of watercolor paper and tuck it into your book. I love the old books that I’ve gone through where things fall out of it as I leaf through it. This will be your creation.
Writing Prompt: Envision someone in the future reading your words and looking at your artwork to gain a deeper understanding of what life was like during the 2020 World Wide Quarantine.
What do you want this lovely person to know first?
How are you reacting to the idea of not being with others for an extended period of time? This is the first part of our journey, when we realize that we must stay away from one another as it slowly sinks in.
Art Prompt: Then paint or draw something you noticed today that looked really beautiful. Perhaps a bowl of apples in the sun, or the way a small spring flower pushed through the snow, or the way your yard is changing as the tide of winter recedes. There is so much to be grateful for. Hold that precious thought in your heart today.
Quick Mediation Suggestion:
Time: For 5 or 10 minutes
What to focus on: Close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax your whole body. Inhale slowly and as you exhale relax your head and neck and shoulders,
Inhale slowly and relax your arms and hands and torso.
Inhale slowly and relax your hips and legs and feet.
When you are relaxed, imagine a golden healing light come up from your feet and go all the way up to your head, naming each area as it fills with the light of good health and protection.
Then surround all your loved ones with healing, protective light.
When you are done slowly open your eyes.
This always helps me when I start to feel anxious.
Are you scared? Well yeah, of course we are, but there’s something more here. Fear can be the great deceiver, so be cautious of letting it take you down the hell-hole.
Against a backdrop of global anxiety remember that excessive fear and worry will only sabotage our efforts to bring the highest good to our situation.
But how do we manage the fear?
Here’s something that has helped me for years and maybe it can help you too.
Anytime my thoughts drift toward an imagined future of the worse possible outcome, I close my eyes for just a moment, and surround my concern with light.
Since learning this simple technique, I now look upon worry very differently. When I feel the urge to worry, I see it as a reminder that the situation needs light and love focused on it. Doing this simple technique, which fully engages the imagination, sends a message of love into the fear and I envision a totally different outcome.
Dear SweetArts, here’s one way to think of what we are going through…we have been training for this moment our entire lives.
Courage is calling to us. So, write about your Call to Courage.
I’m seeing it everywhere, from the offers of food from restaurant owners for children out of school, to the way people have stepped up to help the elderly, to the way some governors have taken the bold step to close schools and public buildings, to the people who are willing to stay home and not be spreaders of this virus.
What is courage to you? Ruminate on its implications, find a quote or two that really speaks to you and add them to your writing. This does not need to be a long, carefully crafted essay. Your writing just needs to be you exploring what courage is on the page.
Paint or draw a plant that makes you think about courage. Perhaps it’s a tree that has formed its roots around a large stone, perhaps it’s a single blossom on an undernourished plant, or maybe it’s a cactus blooming in the arid dessert.
Find a plant that exemplifies courage and draw it. Plants have a language all their own. We just need to slow down to become more fluent in their native tongue.
5 to 10 minutes
Take several deep breaths and relax with each one.
Once you are relaxed, envision your heart glowing for the world.
The glowing gets larger and larger until it fills up your entire being and then glows beyond your body.
Now surround your beloveds with this glowing light from your heart.
Say to each one of them, you are protected and loved. Your health and strength are improving every day.
I love you dear SweetArts. Remember even at this challenging time, we are creating our lives, let’s make them courageous masterpieces.
Let me introduce you to something I’ve used in my life and art for almost 30 years.
Do you remember Joseph Campbell? And his work with the Hero’s Journey?
In the 1980s when I became aware of his work, I loved it.
But I was also a bit troubled.
You see, I thought it was such a male construct and me being a young mother and caring for daughters… well… I felt left out of the journey. I know, maybe I was being a little sensitive, but really I wanted to see my life through the eyes of the Hero. But my journey was so different.
I remember at one-point thinking…I’m going on a Heroine’s Journeys and I’ll see what comes of it.
I divided the journey into four main stages.
Campbell had 12 stages to the journey. But being a busy mother at the time, I had to simplify.
So, I quickly realized this…There are four stages to the Heroine’s Journey that I wanted to stay aware of.
The four stages are …The Call, The Journey, The Illumination and The Return.
I know, pretty simple, yet having these four benchmarks have made a huge difference in my life.
As I heeded the various Calls that came to me in life and then viewed my situation through the lens of the four benchmarks, well, it really gave me perspective.
So, weather you are a woman or a man reading this, I invite you to join me.
I’m seeing, once more, this poetic construct to be a powerful lens in which to view what is before us.
Right now, we are standing in The Call.
This pandemic is calling to us to respond in the deepest and most profound way we have ever responded to anything!
This is a Sacred Calling to all humans on earth.
The question is, will we heed The Call? Or will we deny it?
If we heed The Call, it comes with lots of responsibilities, we will be tested in ways never before experienced. Our faith, our spiritual understanding, our very souls will be tested to the max.
If we deny The Call, we will whine and writhe, complain and be anxious, feel out of control and helpless.
I know which one I’m choosing.
I’ve done this before and I know when I heed The Call I’m making a commitment.
But here we are.
It’s the beginning.
Here’s what I ask of you.
Write about this. Will you heed The Call right now? Maybe you’re not ready. That’s okay, none of us are ever ready to be Called.
The Call always catches us off-guard. That’s part of the gig.
Just write about it. Because if you Heed The Call, your mind will completely shift, your heart will open and your way will be guided.
Art Prompt: Draw a heroine. For me that could be a little girl or an elder woman. It could be something like a monarch butterfly whose thousand-miles journey pulls them toward their own Illumination and Return. It could even be Mother Nature, the greatest Heroine of all. Right now, she is taking a huge deep breath as air pollution around the world begins to dissipate.
Perhaps this is part of the whole deal, that Mother Earth finally gets a chance to regenerate.
I love you SweetArts, stay well, and remember we create our lives so let’s make it into a masterpiece!
If you have done any of these prompts and want to share them with me, I’m here. J
So, what exactly does it mean to Heed the Call?
For me, it means many things, but at the core is the commitment I make to the journey. Wherever it takes me, whatever tests I am given I’m saying… I will learn from this.
At it’s core, The Call asks each of us to ponder the deeper questions.
So, I think… what does this virus come to teach us? Here’s a question I ask myself frequently.
“Is this a virus of the body or of the mind?” Both can be just as deadly. I think, probably… it’s of the body and the mind simultaneously, but I have to ask if the virus of the mind is running the show.
As The Call comes, will I turn and face the journey ahead with heart and mind? Spirit and love? Creativity and intuition?
I live in the countryside, so I can go outside anytime I want. Yesterday I spent a while outside, smelling the greens in the greenhouse, running my hand into the soft melting soil of the garden, walking along a country road.
Nature is not only our healer, but our teacher as well.
In the mythic Heroine’s Journey, once a Heroine hears the Call… and this part is really important… she always wants to refuse it… it’s too overwhelming, it’s too demanding… but the Call nags at her, and the Heroine heeds.
Once she answers it, and the commitment is made, a mentor is revealed to her in time.
A mentor doesn’t always have to be a person. My greatest mentor is nature. Once I get to the point of Heeding the Call, I go outside and I wander around until something grabs my attention.
When I look at it closely, I start to decipher the lesson. When I write, many things become clear, and I see the connections that were previously hidden from me.
Will you answer The Call to live the Heroine’s Journey as we pass through this difficult time? If you are not ready, that’s okay, but to change the mindset from …we are all helpless victims of the virus, to…we are the Heroine of this part of our stories, is deep.
And if you do heed the Call, keep your eyes and heart open for your mentor to reveal herself to you. Many times, art has been my mentor. (More about that tomorrow.) Sometimes books are beautiful mentors, whatever reveals itself to you will teach you many ways of being on the journey.
Write about heeding the Call, feeling the mind-shift and opening yourself to your mentor.
Draw or paint a landscape. What do you see outside your window? Or paint a view of what you would like to see outside your window. I know some of you are in the city and perhaps your only view is of walls and a bit of sky. Use your imagination, paint the mountains, or a lake or the ocean. But make it beautiful as it truly is. Nature is speaking, she will love your painting.
Stay well SweetArts, I love you. Keep creating.
Day Five: ArtWord Creativity Prompt
Now we are on the Heroine’s Journey. We face it with full commitment.
Remember, we will be tested. We are being tested hourly!
We have crossed the threshold from the ordinary world, of systems and institutions that we thought would likely never change in our lifetimes, into a world of the unknown.
Also known as the Extraordinary World.
We must remember, tests and challenges prepare the Heroine. Our understanding and our consciousness will expand as we face each test. (That’s why we’re being tested)
Right now, things are collapsing and being propped up hourly. It looks like a losing game and that we are headed into the darkness.
In the Heroine’s Journey, we view the darkness very differently than a big scary, evil place where we can’t see anything.
This one thing, I know to be true, I learned from gardening.
We are all seeds.
We need the richness of the dark to nourish us. We all come out of a dark womb, weather we are animal, human or a plant germinating in the earth. We grow and develop, we form who we will become all in the darkness of our beginnings.
We have all been in darkness before, and we know that we can emerge with greater love and insight having gone through dark times.
So, we need to face this darkness, but remember, we want to grow through this experience, not shrivel up and become small, afraid of our own shadows.
It will take courage and self-reflection to face the darkness. We can do it. We are artists and writers. Our creativity will show us the way. Art will also become our mentor.
Writing Prompt: When you view the darkness as a place of germination instead of a place of the fearful unknown, how does this change your perception of what we are facing right now?
Art Prompt: Draw a seed germinating out of the soil. You can find photos of seeds germinating online. This drawing or painting will keep us hopeful.
I love you SweetArts. I send you healing energy every day.
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