The Creative Freedom Project

Deliberate practice for the art of life.

Be True

Kirsten Malinee1 Comment
Photo credit: avanzero from stock.xchng

Photo credit: avanzero from stock.xchng

It was morning - not my best time of day. I was standing in front of the kitchen sink rinsing out my coffee cup and staring out the window looking at our back yard. I was thinking about God. I actually think about God and spirituality and religion a lot. I have so many questions and concerns. And I'm completely brazen about sharing them with whoever or whatever my current concept of God may be.

So there I was thinking my questions in my head while taking in the bare trees and the gray/blue sky. I was feeling peaceful and open. Then, I heard this message, "Be true. Just be true." There was no voice saying, "Be true". But, I "heard" it. And it came from a different place than the thinking I was previously engaged with so it felt more like a message than a thought.

Be true.

"Okay", I thought. "I can do that."

Later, I made a note of this little conversation knowing I would want to write about it. Now that I am writing about it, I have to ask. Have I been true?

I've been trying. (Can you hear Yoda hollering in the distance?)

It's easy to get distracted by the maintenance and doings and events of life. Maybe distracted isn't always the right word. I get distracted by the maintenance and, hopefully, engaged in the events. 

Be True is a process just like mindfulness or authenticity. Maybe - Be True - includes mindfulness and authenticity - not as activities, completions or states of finality - as in I am "finally authentic!" Ding! I'm done. Take me out of the oven.

Actually I think, Be True, may mean always being in the oven. Turning up the heat on awareness and questioning, on boundaries and knowing the difference between your "yes" and your "no".

As I suppose any mindful or deliberate practice would, art helps with this. Always asking the question - what do I see, what is the truth of what I see, and what is the essence of what I see, what do I see that is there and what do I see that isn't there. How is my vision unique? How is it honest? Is wishful thinking clouding my vision? If it is, is that okay with me? 

You may ask, "Where is she going with this?"

Nowhere. Right here. I'm not trying to be mystical or "woo woo". I have a low threshold for "woo woo". Here's the deal. I've been deep in the throes of exploring the purpose for this blog and the meaning of Creative Freedom. What am I creating. Am I creating deliberately?

I believe I can promise you that I'll never write a post titled "Ten Easy Steps to Be True". I'm not wired liked that. Don't get me wrong, if there were 10 easy steps to accomplish anything I wanted in my life, I would want to know about them. I might wander off after reaching Step 3 and jump to Step 7, then get bored and start looking for a better 10 steps, but ...

Do you see what I did there?

So the question remains. Have I been true since I received that message. Nope. Most days I forget all about it. I get busy. I get engaged. I want to numb out and ignore all my responsibilities and eat a pint of ice cream. So...nope.

But, my desire to Be True remains strong. My hope is if I keep returning to the thought/message of Be True like a touchstone or a mantra - that eventually, I will be more true than not. So this writing is merely an exploration of the mantra Be True. 

My hope is that truth will float through everything I do here and that it will become more rather than less a part of my whole life. If this kind of journey - or musing - resonates with you in any way - we may be siblings. ;-)

Blog Updates

Kirsten Malinee2 Comments

Hello! I'm working on updating Disbelief Suspended every day. You may not see much evidence of that, but it's happening. Some of the work is tedious and most of it gets tossed out at the last minute. 

The upshot is. Disbelief Suspended will be leaner. I hope I can stick to that. I love to add more and more and more, but I'm trying to restrain myself. The About & Why page is updated! Finally!

I'll be adding more about Creatively Fit with links to classes and coaching opportunities this month. There will also be a resources section with book reviews, etc. Maybe a book club!?!

In the meantime the DIY MFA is offline, but it will be making an appearance in a different format very soon.

The Performance Lab is no more. I took the webpage down and the FB page should be going offline shortly. It takes FB approximately 14 days to remove a page. Letting go of The Performance Lab is sad and liberating at the same time. My goal is to create white space - blank canvas - in my life so I can play and explore with an entirely new vision. Well, not entirely new, but very much evolved vision.

I'm also resigning from the Columbia Entertainment Company Board of Directors as soon as I have completed my duties as Chair of the Play Selection Committee - this month or next depending on how the Board rolls with our recommendations. More white space.

I hear crickets.

All of this letting go, is sad and happy at the same time. I don't want to lose connection to my friends from the theater crowd because I love them! I do! And, at the same time, I'm being called to a new adventure and I have to honor that. I know. I've written about this before, but part of the process of me letting go is reiterating the what and why. I'm not trying to convince myself or anyone else - but I'm finding that I do need to reaffirm my purpose so I can keep moving forward.

Moving forward to more art, more writing, more creating, more work with Creatively Fit and the wonderful Creatively Fit coaches, more exploration. I'm making a map while I'm moving through new terrain. Just like Lewis and Clark!

Technical Update: when I exported Disbelief Suspended to the new format - many of the posts didn't get imported. I will be importing some of them manually - and some of them will just blow away into the nether of the interwebs.

Exploring White Space: Moving Forward and Inward

Kirsten MalineeComment

It's been awhile. Some questions have been brewing and stewing in my brain for a long time. And it's difficult for me to show up in this space - the blog space where I share my process and introspection (because that's what it's about for me) - when I haven't had the time to engage in introspection.

It's like I'm walking in circles and I know that in order to stop walking in circles all I have to do is step into the center, leave the periphery. But there are so many goings on at the periphery - shiny wonderful things - that keep me distracted and I haven't reached the point yet where I have the will to stop walking in circles and take that next step towards the center - in fact I've been so engaged walking/running in circles that I've created a rut.

My rut is my comfort zone and my comfort zone is my rut. I know how to deal with all the shiny things on the periphery and climbing out of the rut I've dug for myself would require...letting go of what I know - what I'm comfortable with - and climbing into the unknown.

See?

What happened?

Well, last year I took part in the training for a Creatively Fit Coach certification. And I did that without giving anything else up - without clearing space for it. So I did it, and performed in a play, and directed another play, and tried to keep up with my Board of Directors duties for the theater, and did my best to be a good full-time employee ... and ... and ... and - and I didn't have time to understand how much the Creatively Fit process was changing me, lighting me up, opening me.

It was calling me away from my comfort zone, but I was too busy to answer the phone.

That's what Creatively Fit is about. Your life is your canvas and you are the artist. The act of painting, and playing in your art journal and having wonderful conversations with life-artists who are also painting and playing changes you - even when you're too busy to let it change you.

I needed white space to explore new dreams and desires. But, I wasn't ready to let go of ANYTHING. And so, just now, I'm taking steps to create the white space I need:  

  • Close The Performance Lab.

  • Resign from the Board of Directors. (As soon as the play reading committee - that I'm chairing - has completed the season selection.)

  • Do not take on any theatre projects for at least one year.

It's hard to let go. I love all these things and they've been wonderful outlets for me, but they've also become my comfort zone - my rut. I think I've been putting the letting go off because while I'm ready to explore this new calling, I'm also feeling some sadness. Change and transition can be hard. And I want to honor that. I don't know yet what I'm being called to. I have some inklings and some practices to explore with. I'm listening to the still small voice. And that's all I know.

Maya Angelou's Rainbows

Life ChangeKirsten Malinee1 Comment

Well, Maya Angelou is absolutely brilliant. She made me laugh and smile a lot. I was sharing the evening with my husband and daughter and that made me happy and proud. And my friends from work were there. We have a great work family and we share a wonderful daily-life culture with each other. In spite of collective hot flashes, we manage to have a good time together every day. We were in the third row on the right side of the theatre and there were times when I felt Maya Angelou was looking right into my eyes. She has this huge wonderful beautiful warm smile that welcomes you in to her stories and poems.

There had to be over 1,000 people there and I'm sure, like me, everyone of them felt connected to her. Quickly and it seemed without any effort she created a bond and a connection with all of us. It was as if we were receiving a blessing and I think we were.

She didn't make me cry like I thought she would. She made me laugh and nod my head and smile. Afterwards, when we were leaving the theatre, two of us said at almost the same time, "Can you imagine being her grandchild and getting to listen to her stories and her wisdom and her humor all your life - visiting her every holiday? How incredible would that be?" Just goes to show you that she made us feel like we were her cherished family - grandchildren, brothers, sisters. Her smile is that big. It included us all.

She talked about being a rainbow in someone else's cloud. About being the light that inspires their life even when they can't see past the clouds. How we are all here to be rainbows in one another's clouds. That the world needs our light. That we never know how our light, our brilliant colors, will shine and illuminate the way for others. We are here to shine and share our light with others.

She illuminated her point with stories and poetry and song - even if I could transcribe her talk word for word - I couldn't capture it. But, I hope you've caught a glimpse. She said, "You are important. You are needed. The world needs you. I need you."

I was thinking about writing. About learning to draw. Learning to make art. Loving my family. I was filled with hope for my daughter. Who will she be? Who will she inspire? I hope I can be a strong brilliant shiny rainbow in her life and in the life of her children and her children's children.

I was thinking about the rainbows in my life. My mom. She's a high-beam high-wattage rainbow - a force of nature. The acting teachers who taught me how to stand in the light. The other teachers who taught me how to live off the stage. My friends. God bless, my cool friends!

And the rainbows who aren't on this earth with me anymore. 

My grandmother, Nanny, and her unwavering love and support.

My great aunt, A.J. - her friendship and her spirit - she gave me the desire to learn every day - to never stop learning - never stop being curious about life. And she passed on to me her love of ice cream!

Uncle Larry - when we would visit his house, he would bake cookies or a cake with me. I remember those times when Emma and I are cooking together.

Uncle Skip - who has to go down in history as the best family man I've ever known. His family is the strongest family I've ever known.

Gran and Gramps - Gran with her righteousness and her sharp intelligence and the best cheese enchiladas I've ever eaten, and Gramps - his gentleness, his love of nature and the land and apricot turnovers that were nothing less than a blessing. I remember the fig tree in their back yard in Denton, TX. How the figs were full of the hot Texas sun and he pulled a fig off the tree and gave it to me to eat and how it practically melted with sweetness in my mouth.

I still see all their rainbows in my life every day. Thank you, Maya Angelou, for reminding me who these people are in my life and who I am meant to be in theirs.

The 10-Point Plan for De-Stressing

Life ChangeKirsten Malinee4 Comments

So the neck, my neck, is still a disaster zone. I've been thinking about stress. Since I went to the massage therapist, I noticed how I constantly hold my shoulders up and keep my jaw clenched. I'm pretty sure this episode is a revival of my PTSD after the house imploded last week. It was scary - loud explosion sound, shaking house, debris flying into the hallway. That's some flashback fodder for you. Even when I am lying down my shoulders are raised. I'm getting better at noticing when I'm doing this and letting go. It's all about letting go. I've been saying to myself, "Just drop what you're carrying. Just let it go."

The thing that's bothering me is that I'm not sure how much of this is purely a physical issue and how much of it is stress related. I keep thinking, if it's stress related, I can control it by de-stressing my life. For some reason I don't think I have as much control over physical issues. That kinda strikes me as weird. I think most people would think they have more control over a physical issue. If it's stress, that means I'm responsible for it in some way.

Guess what!?!

It doesn't matter. Hello! Just let it go. Erg. I'm a control freak. As soon as something seems to be broken I have to craft a 10 point plan to FIX IT. Then the 10 point plan becomes a point of stress in and of itself. This is cracking me up. This control-freak neurosis is counter-intuitive to who I think I am. I think I'm a laid-back person. Lord, have mercy, I'm a funny woman.

This mid-life crisis shit is taking its toll.

Okay - moving on. No drawing class for me tonight because I am going to hear Maya Angelou speak. How awesome is that!?! I dreamed about her all night last night. We had very nice warm conversations with each other. I'll probably start crying the moment she walks into the room. I can't wait! And I'm looking forward to telling you all about it tomorrow.

Here's my 10-Point Plan for Destressing

  1. Keep breathing
  2. Notice the shoulders and say, "Time to let go of what you're carrying. Just drop it."
  3. Go soak in Maya Angelou's brilliance.
  4. Go to chiropractor.
  5. Go to massage therapist.
  6. Drink lots of water.
  7. Avoid Percocet. (That just makes things worse and weird.)
  8. Gentle yoga. Gentle. Gentle. Gentle.
  9. Breathe.
  10. Smile at Maya Angelou.

Sucky Fortune Cookie Fortunes

UncategorizedKirsten Malinee2 Comments

We have our play reading meeting at Hy Vee, talk about the plays we read, then splurge on Chinese food. Tonight we had a rash of sucky fortunes. For your reading pleasure: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Prepare for a new perspective in the new year.

A half truth is still a lie.

You will gain more if you save now.

Rome was not built in a day. Be patient.

Be prepared for the truth.

FYI we kept Good People on the list. I also read The Spiral Staircase. Hated it. I'm the only one out of four people so far who didn't like it. Maybe I was just too stoned on Percocet to appreciate it. But the crazy lady and the thunder storm and the mute woman and the drunk housekeeper just added up to too much melodrama for me.

Reading Plays on Drugs

UncategorizedKirsten Malinee2 Comments

Dosed up on painkillers today. Ugh! My brain feels like it's coated in mud, but my neck hurts less. Today has been a blank kind of day. I haven't accomplished much other than sleeping, taking pills, and sleeping. It's difficult for me to stop when my body says stop. No yoga today. Body said no yoga.

I did get a play read. Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire. (I'll have to put links in on Monday when I have access to a computer and Internet. I'm still posting via 3G on the iPhone.) The play is excellent, unfortunately I don't think it will fit our season for the community theatre. I hate having to pass on a good play because it won't "sell". I would love to do this script. But a drama about a woman who loses her job at the dollar store because she's late too many days because the sitter who takes care of her severely retarded adult daughter doesn't show up, who then meets a successful man who she dated in the old days and begins to beg for him for work and harass him. And he knows that kid is his but he was so bent on getting out of the hood that he never stopped to take responsibility. And there's more than that, but ... It won't sell.

Art is like that. It may be wonderful and truthful and beautiful, and in spite of all that, it may not belong. God, I find that depressing.

The characters think they are good people. He thinks he's successful because he's good. She thinks she's stuck because she's good. And the truth is both of them made crap choices and neither of them wins the gold medal for being good.

It certainly fits with the political debates of the time though. Haves vs. have nots. Women's issues. The American dream. Unemployment...

Now it's time to take more meds and read The Spiral Staircase.

Curiosity vs. Exhaustion

Creativity, Life ChangeKirsten Malinee2 Comments

This will be a quick update. I'm in pain today and finding it hard to type and sit at the computer. I have a neck injury that acts up occasionally and the entire right side of my upper body is in lock-down. I went to see the chiropractor, and he worked to get the muscles to release some and I have a massage booked at 3:00 today. So that's the status report.

What I want to do today is explore the emotions that go along with this process of change, mid-life crisis and learning. I did a little writing exercise during the 'free reading' period in my kiddo's English class yesterday. Still working with the book, Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life, the author asks us to write down the emotions that we experience when we think about being a life change artist.

Here are mine:

curiosity vs. exhaustion longing vs. exhaustion excitement vs. numbness/apathy and exhaustion

I know exhaustion isn't an emotion, but it is so present in my life right now that it feels emotional. And I'm flip-flopping back and forth between exhaustion and all the juicy stuff. I think I am worn out, but when I think about and take action on my desired life, I feel energized. This has been an exhausting week - the wreck, the day at jr. high, the neck ...

But I want to learn. I want to create. I'm getting energy from the act of blogging every day. I'm working through Tangie Baxter's Photoshop classes for Mixed Media and Art Journaling and they're awesome. When I'm taking the class and doing the lessons, I get lost in time. Re-emerging back into real-life can be a bit difficult.

I'm meeting lots of bloggers through NaBloPoMo and their stories inspire me. I think because I am exploring my growth process and change process and my creativity online - that act of sharing connects me with other writers who are doing the same thing. And that feels so good. But, if I read all the blogs I want to read and write as much as I want to write, I start to feel exhausted.

There's a fine line between doing what I want to do and doing to much. And I really haven't found it yet. Right now I feel like I'm straddling a chasm between current life and new life, between learning and overwhelm, between connecting and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. (I hate that image, but it's such a perfect description.)

My current strategy is to go and do as much as I can - then collapse. I think a different strategy is called for, but I'm not sure how to get to it. I've added a lot to my life and I haven't subtracted much. I think the next step is to evaluate and let go of some things, but that thought fills me with dread and sadness.

Can anyone relate?

In Jr. High Again

UncategorizedKirsten MalineeComment

It's 7:30 am. I'm sitting in math lab while my daughter works on her math homework. All the cool kids are here. At least all the cool kids in Algebra I Honors. It's all Greek to me. Today is Parent's Day at school. My daughter has reiterated a couple of times (approximately 18 times) that I don't need to stay for the whole entire day. I love torturing her with my constant presence.

8:56 am

We're in PE. God, I hated PE when I was in school. Emma's experience seems to be similar. It's Badminton today. They offered to let the parents play. I said I was afraid I might injure someone - myself.

9:39 am

English. Today is 'free reading' day. So they sit and read whatever they want. I would have liked to see this class in action. Last year reading and writing were Emma's favorite subjects. This year she seems to be bored. She's in an honors class and it seems to be almost remedial.

11:45

Algebra. Something about y intercepts, slopes, and points. I like the way my kid applies herself to the task at hand. She even managed to focus in science I'm spite of a chatterbox lab partner.

These kids are speaking algebra. I don't understand a word they are saying. But they sound like smart curious kids.

3:00

I'm taking refuge in Michael's while Emma is in choir rehearsal. I have always wanted to peak into my kid's life and I'm grateful I had the opportunity today. I am humbled by how smart and kind these teenagers are. If I had it to do over again, I hope I would be as gracious and engaged as the teachers were and as curious and excited as the kids were.

My Crazy Morning Was Better Than My Neighbor's

UncategorizedKirsten Malinee8 Comments

Going off-topic here for a personal crazy morning update. Let me start by saying my crazy morning was not nearly as crazy as my neighbor's was when she backed her car out of her driveway and into the front of my house. She wasn't hurt. Thank God! Here's how it started. I was late to work because I couldn't wake myself up this morning. My husband took my daughter to school and woke me up before he left, but I went back to sleep. Instead of taking my melatonin last night, I took two Advil PM. Knocked. Me. Out.

Finally I was up and getting ready around 9:00 am. I was in the bathroom putting on my face and I heard a car engine revving. It was loud. I thought, "Holy crap! Who is driving like a maniac?" Then I heard tires squealing. Then there was what sounded like an explosion. Our house shook and pieces brick flew into the hallway.

At this point - still in my bra and undies with half of my face on - I was running down the hall with a 30 pound dog in my arms saying, "Shit. Shit. Shit. We gotta get out. Shit. Shit. Shit." The dog and I freaked the hell out for about 15 seconds - which felt like at least 5 minutes until I got it together enough to toss her in the backyard, grab my robe and run out the front door.

I made three phone calls. The first to 911. Then to my husband. Then to my office. All three conversations went like this:

Me:  Oh, my God! Oh, my God!

Husband:  What's wrong.

Me:  Our neighbor drove her car into our house.

Husband:  What?

Me:  Our neighbor drove her car into our house.

Me:  Hi. My neighbor drove her car into our house.

Co-worker:  What?

Me:  My neighbor drove her car into our house.

(Sirens in the background.)

Me:  I gotta go. Fire truck is here.

My dog, Annie, was still a little freaked when I left the house - after the fire department, police department, EMT's, the Tow-truck dude, and Stanley Steamer came to visit.

Here's the slideshow. I reiterate. My neighbor was NOT hurt. She walked home.

2012-11-07 09.33.06

This doesn't look like much of an issue. Just a bad parking job.

2012-11-07 09.32.33

Okay, now we have a problem.

2012-11-07 09.29.39

And from the inside it looks like this.

2012-11-07 09.54.21

They're towing the car away. And we have a lovely new outdoor indoor patio area.

2012-11-07 10.01.25

The outside-in view.

She is so lucky she wasn't hurt! I hope your crazy morning was better than mine and especially better than my neighbor's crazy morning.

Abolish Self-consciousness!

Art JournalingKirsten Malinee4 Comments

This is probably my favorite piece I did for the 2012 Art Journal Caravan. I love her face. She's precious and happy and warm. So sweet and unafraid. And I finally figured out how to put text on a shape.

Journaling:

If I could change one thing in the world it would be to abolish self-consciousness. Not the kind that makes us aware and compassionate. The kind that makes us afraid to be seen. What is the worst that could happen if I let you see me? I am not afraid. & I promise I will not hurt you if you let me see you. I will be a loving witness to that which you are - to that which makes you - you.

Journaling on the journaling:

Icky sticky self-consciousness. Comparison. Judgement. Fear of being who we are. Worrying and fussing about what people think of us.

All of the above = pure poison to the soul.

I get caught in this trap every other day. Or is it every other Wednesday? Actually it hits me at random. It's a side-winder side-swipe kind of thing some times. Other times it feels like a cast iron pot in the middle of the forehead.

In contrast to being caught up in all this self-consciousness is the pure bliss of letting go of all the fuss. That's where I want to live. In a state of freedom - simply being who I am without worrying about what other people may think of it. Without comparing myself to other people.

The truth is most of the people don't care about me. They're too busy worrying about themselves. How cool would it be if we all just let go of all the worrying and fussing and re-channeled that energy into some art-making?

Having a 13 y.o. daughter really brings this lesson home. By surviving 47 years, I've learned its possible to let go of all that internal noise and judgement. But, holy cheese and grits, I remember being her age and how miserable I was. How every morning was a battle of wills with the mirror. How I felt like I was on trial for every word that came out of my mouth and there were judges everywhere.

Ick! Awful!

I asked her one morning, "Can we just skip this self-conscious stage and get on with you being who you are without all that crap?" She, of course, had no response to my eloquence. I suppose it can't be skipped. It's a trial by fire kind of thing. If you survive it and grow out of it, you know you can face almost any demon your mind throws at you.

Credits:

Holliewood Studios Flying Free Kit: grass, bird, coupon, trees, roses, stitches, sun, music paper. Crowabout StudioB: Doll from Funky Creatures & Papers Kit, Background Paper from Dreamstage Papers Kit.

Gray Hair Colored by Hope

Art JournalingKirsten MalineeComment

Kirs10_TheNextSmallStep_Web This is another piece I did for the 2012 Art Journal Caravan. It's called The Next Small Step. I've always believed this to be true:

I believe it is possible to change the path and the nature of your life by making a decision and taking the next small step. Each moment is a beautiful opportunity.

I have always believed this even in my darkest hours. That it's up to me to make a choice and make a move. I think it may even be easier for me to create change when there is a lot of chaos and/or pain in my life. Pain is one of the most motivating things we meet.

When life is good, I get complacent. Creating change in the face of complacency? Not so clear-cut, not so easy.

I never thought of myself as a hopeful person, but when I was confronted with the evidence that I am hopeful by nature, I accepted it with a little more grace than I accept having gray hair. Hope is a part of me that keeps me moving forward. I always have faith that the next step or the next choice will carry me to a better place.

When I was in the darkest place of my adult life - ending an eight year relationship, taking my child away from her father, facing the world as a single mom in NYC, one year after being a first-hand witness to the violence and devastation of 9/11, falling into bankruptcy minute by minute, not knowing how I was going to pay for food for the week - still - I was always sure it would get better. I never doubted it. I cried a lot. I was terrified. I worried. I was plagued by guilt. But I knew it would be better one day - somehow.

I still believe that. It's an unshakable part of who I am. I don't know why. I didn't cultivate or search for hopefulness. It was never a quality I valued. It's a blessing - something bestowed upon me. It colors my life. I color my gray hair.

Here are the credits for the images:

Liana by Rebecca McMeen Frame - StudioMix14 - Carnivale Water& Moon Paper - CrowaboutStudioB - Dreamstage Typewriter - Marta VanEck - Journal Elements Butterfly and 'FREE' word art - Holliewood - Flying Free Paper with tree, stage, and curtain - Holliewood - Art Dollies Door - Finecrafted Design - Door Freebie (no known link available)

To Keep Our Creativity Flowing

Quotes, ReadingKirsten Malinee7 Comments

I'm blogging on my iPhone. A first and a last time for everything. I'm in my bed under flannel sheets and an old quilt and my feet are still cold. I've been reading and gawping at Sabrina Ward Harrison's Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself. (I'll add links tomorrow when I get back on the computer.)

I read more of Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life this weekend and I found a quote I want to share with you. A life change artist is someone who is:

Deliberately working to create a more fulfilling life.

I like that definition. But I want to make one caveat. Deliberately working to create a more fulfilling life does not mean I am unhappy. My life is fulfilling in many ways.

What I am working to deliberately create is a fulfilling creative life. I have a longing to make something or many somethings that communicate and connect and touch, move, inspire someone. I suppose in hopes that somehow whatever this making is will make life better and more fulfilling for me and for the someone who receives it.

I don't know why I have this longing. I only know I've always had it. I've always been motivated by this desire. A lot of times I struggle with it. Because I think it would be easier to not have it. But, when I try to ignore it, I just make myself miserable.

Another quote I like from Becoming a Life Change Artist is about the need to carry a sketchbook and put things into it:

...to be consistently creative, we need to transfer what is in our hearts and minds into the concrete form of writing or drawing. ... The point is to keep our creativity flowing.

Pretty cool, huh? It makes me smile to read that.

A Different Trip on the Yoga Mat

YogaKirsten Malinee6 Comments

I’m going to get my blogging in under the wire today. I’m typing on my old Alphasmart. It’s fun to play with this thing. The keys are very loud so there’s lots of clicking. Typing on the Alphasmart inspires me to spill without thinking because that’s what I’m used to doing with it. I type very fast and don’t make any paragraph breaks. I ignore sentence structure, spelling, etc. Just spill. Spilling doesn't make for an inspiring read, but it's a helpful process for writing on occasion. I'll finish up the bare bones of this post on the Alphasmart and edit in Wordpress. Moving on - This post is about yoga class.

I was thinking about how different it feels to be on the yoga mat on a different day. Last week I was completely blissed out for the entire class. I was on the mat and I was happy and in love with being on the mat and being in my body.

This week my brain was all over the place. I was visiting the other students on their mats – in my head only – I could not stay put and keep myself to myself. I wandered all over the room and spent a good portion of the class on the ceiling.

Last week during Savasana I got lost in the music. No. That's not right. The music felt like it was pouring into my body. Like it was filling me up and pouring out of me as if I were an empty glass and the music was the water overflowing.

This week I was thinking about the book and the film Sheltering Sky. I haven’t picked up that book in several years and I saw the film ... It has to be a minimum of a decade ago.

So odd that Sheltering Sky would pop into my head. For the life of me I can’t figure out why. It’s such a sad story. I'm not sad, but I saw the scenes play out in my head as if I were watching them again for the first time.

Clearly there are some images and themes from the story that mean something to me. What are they?

Getting lost in a different culture. Getting lost and separated. Ego – lots about ego. Thinking you are open-minded and learning you are not. Thinking you are special and learning you are just a man like every other man. Letting yourself be reduced, diminished, changed, burned away. Getting lost in sensation. Leaving yourself behind. Seeking salvation. Other worldly experiences. Slipping back into your life and pretending you are the same as you were. That’s the sad part. Realizing you were always lost and you still are.

I suppose I should add Sheltering Sky to my reading list and explore it some more.

But here's my conundrum: Why did I have such a different experience on the mat? The experience of Savasana last week was a kiss on the forehead from Kuan Yin. This week, I get Sheltering Sky. I suppose next week will be...next week.

How remarkable - the same mat, the same class, the same me – different week, completely different Savasana.

So maybe I wasn’t the same me. Maybe there’s never a same me. Only the me of the moment - who has all the same predilections and programming and tapes, but in the moment all those tapes are playing a different song or a different film in my head.

And my struggle is to get my mind on the mat with my body and my breath. Whoever I may be in the moment. In spite of being filled up with books and films and dreams and desires and self consciousness and desire. Yes. Desire twice over. And longing, yearning, impatience, self-righteousness, anger, bliss, love, happiness, questions, questions, questions. More questions. And peace with all of it? No. That's the process. There's no end to the process. No end to practice. That's the good news. Different day, different trip.

The Reading List

ReadingKirsten MalineeComment

The last thing I do before I go to sleep is read. I love nothing more than to spend an entire day in bed with ... a bunch of books. I get to indulge this erotic fantasy when I'm home sick or when I play hooky from work.

If I were going to take very good care of my mental health and treat myself like a treasure, I would schedule at least one full day of reading for myself each month. THAT's a mind-blowing idea! A legitimate day off in bed with a bunch of books and my journal. Can you hear the soft music in the background?

I am addicted to non-fiction, but I can't read non-fiction before I go to sleep because my mind will start racing and then I'll need to do some journaling before I go to sleep and then there will be one more thing I'll want to look up and then more journaling and reading one more chapter...

Fiction is my prescription for sleeping. More specifically 2 melatonin and a fantasy. Lately I've been immersed in a series with lots of crazy fairies running around San Francisco. Tons of fun, but fairies can be exasperating after 4 books worth. So I moved on to another urban fantasy series about woman who can talk dead people. Jury's out on that one so far.

Here's the current non-fiction reading list:

Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: HOW TO CREATE YOUR SECOND LIFE AT ANY AGE Page after Page Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life

Here's the current fiction reading list:

Grave Witch: An Alex Craft Novel BRAINRUSH, a Thriller (Book One) The Red Tent: A Novel The Dog Who Danced

Art books I'm working through:

You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less Digital Art Wonderland: Creative Techniques for Inspirational Journaling and Beautiful Blogging Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements Inner Excavation: Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media

Life is just full of all kinds of joy between the covers! Please share your book list with me. I'm always looking for more, more, more ...

My Fave Quote for the Official Launch of My Mid-life Crisis

QuotesKirsten MalineeComment

TallulahBankhead Nobody can be exactly me, sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

-Tallulah Bankhead

What Tallulah said!

Today is the first day of my birthday month. Yes, I'm a Scorpio.

I'm turning 47 this month. I woke up this morning and thought, "Damn. I'm gonna be 47 this month. What the hell?" Literally, that was the first coherent thought I had.

I launched Disbelief Suspended in October to help myself make a transition. This blog is about my process growing from the me of the last decade into the me of the decade to come. And, yes, I'm giving myself permission to go ahead and get started with my mid-life crisis even though I'm three years away from 50.

I'm an impatient person.

So far, I know that my self-prescribed medications for dealing with this crisis include (but are not limited to): love, truth, yoga and learning to make art.

They are the main ingredients of the new recipe. Problem is I wasn't given the whole recipe. There's no cookbook. All I know is, I'm making something new.

Mixed metaphors will fall from the trees!

A friend sent me one of those ecards that circulate on FB. It said:

I am currently unsupervised. I know, it freaks me out too, but the possibilities are endless.

That sums it up perfectly. "The possibilities are endless." I love that and, at the same time, I'm thinking, "Holy crap!?! What does that mean?"

I was looking for some confirmation that I can officially call this is The Official Launch of my Mid-life Crisis and I found something cool.

In the lore of Numerology, November 2011 to November 2012 was a 9 Life Cycle Year for me. 9 is about paying off debts, wrapping it up, letting go of what you don't need/want, completion and finality.

2012 to 2013 will be a 1 Life Cycle Year - all about beginnings, discovery, exploration and new journeys.

Aha! It IS the official launch of my mid-life crisis! I knew that already, but I just wanted to make sure.

I found a lovely site called Creative Numerology written by Christine DeLory this morning. According to Christine the 1 Year Cycle is "A journey of change, new beginnings, independence and becoming who you really are!"

No matter how familiar things may seem, you are on an entirely different road now. The 1 year is the first year of a brand new nine-year cycle of your life. It urges you to create a more satisfying existence by recognizing the new potential that is developing. It is a time of change and new beginnings. ... This is a year of new interests, experiences, goals, and understandings: about life, about you, where you have been, where you are now, and where you would like to be. And, because so much drastic change is required, you will also be learning the meaning of courage. You will gain self awareness this year. You will learn about individuality, and the vital changes that must take place within you if you are to attain what you need. You will be learning about independence, leadership, and originality, and you will need great faith in yourself in order to take appropriate action. You will encounter situations involving your deepest feelings, your unique mind and talent, and your need for greater freedom.

Please check out Christine's Creative Numerology and, if you're feeling adventurous or curious and you decide to calculate your Year Cycle, let me know if it lines up with your experiences. She hit the nail on the head for me.

All that talk of my Scorpishness and Numerology, you'll think I'm so woo woo. I can be. In times of transition, I seek recognizable patterns. Assurances. Little lights of encouragement. Truth is, my woo woo self and my practical "keep the drama on the stage" self can get into some clashes with one another. My woo woo self is one of the pieces of me that I don't let out much.

I'm thinking part of this living your truth deal might include letting all the parts of myself that I keep quiet have their say. That's a little bit frightening for me. As Tallulah said ... "sometime even I have trouble doing it."

Happy trails!

Make Your Art Where You Are

DrawingKirsten MalineeComment

2012-10-27 11.41.21 I had a flash of "Aha!" after yoga class this morning. During Savasana I was blissed out. It was lovely. And there was beautiful music playing in the background, Om Mani Padme Hum by Jane Winther.

Then, I was driving home all blissed out and thinking about drawing and I had a vision of a face I wanted to draw. But I wanted to draw it big - big round happy blissed out face. But, my big paper is for drawing class.

Then, Aha!, I don't have to wait to have excellent-mediocre-or-good drawing skills before I can start making the art I want to make. I can make art with the drawing skills I have now. I can make art right where I am. If I wait until my skills are good enough to make the art I want to make, I won't make any art.

I didn't know I'd made this rule for myself. It was a secret rule that led to to other rules such as:

The Rules: You can't use the big paper to make anything you want. The big paper is for drawing class and you can't draw on it until you can draw.

Me: But, I want to make a big face on the big paper now.

The Rules: You can't.

Me: Why?

The Rules: Because you think you have to learn to draw before you can make art and you don't know how to draw yet. It will take you years of practice and many more classes before you learn to draw. So no. You can't use the big paper.

Me: What if I decide not to think that way any more? What if I decide I can make the art I can make now? And learn and practice at the same time. What if I decide I can do what I want with the skills and supplies I have and make the art I want to make right where I am?

The Rules: That's totally up to you.

Me: Really?

The Rules: You're the one who makes The Rules.

That would be like me telling a new acting student the she can't work on a scene until she has perfected her acting skills. That's silly. We do exercises. We work on our skills and we work on a scene. You do the scene you can do now. A year from now after continuous practice of the exercises and after working on many more scenes, she will perform a different scene. That will be the scene she can do then. Now, we'll do the scene she can do now.

Oh, my little head gets all twirly from time to time.

By the way - Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra to/for/associated with Kuan Yin, the embodiment of compassionate love, loosely translated as, "the jewel in the lotus". I didn't know what the mantra meant until I came home and looked it up after I had my little Aha! dialogue in the car.

Kuan Yin, of course.

A statue of Kuan Yin sits on my bedside table. I forget about her for the most part. I forget about compassion and gentleness especially when it comes to the way I treat, think about and talk to myself. This whole experience - the bliss, the Aha!, my little chat with The Rules - feels like what it really was - was a kiss on the forehead from Kuan Yin. And she whispered in my ear, "Make your art where you are."