Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September Vision Quest

Happy September, all! I love this time of year: the first autumn leaves and breezes, back-to-school supplies at bargain prices, renewed goals and the determination to follow through. After a wonderful summer, I'm ready to put on a sweater and dig deep into the creative goldmine. In other words, I'm ready to write, draw, and make stuff.

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday weekend I had a chance to completely unwind and prepare for this coming season of harvest. To get the ball rolling I turned off my computer, grabbed my journal, and planted myself in my own backyard to embark on the equivalent of an artistic vision quest. My intention was to re-set my inner compass and find the most natural, most productive path to follow until the end of the year. It worked like a charm; here are some of my discoveries:
  • I am a sketchbook artist. Sketchbooks and journals are my true north. Having extra on hand for future projects is not hoarding, LOL!
  • I love color above all else: deep rich, evocative, transparent color. A good meditation practice this fall could be to paint watercolor washes while listening to music, the dreamier the better.
  • The drawings and paintings I consider my most successful all contain what I can only call a sacred loneliness, an emptiness that is completely full, patient, and wonderfully open to Being. It's a paradox, perhaps even a koan of sorts, but it's a path I'll never tire of exploring. So keep going!
  • My best work also contains a strong sense of story: what's behind that tree? Where are those people going? What is this place? Consequently it makes sense to paint my picture book illustrations first and write later--the pictures, just like any good writing prompts, will inspire the text.
  • Randomness is EVERYTHING, again for both my art and my writing. Happy accidents, impossible-to-hide bloopers, unexpected sources of inspiration or research, an unusual color mix I'll never be able to repeat, a character who suddenly announces he or she spent time in prison and now wants to move to Fiji (hey, that wasn't in the first draft!). Random occurrence, prompts, and choices are exciting, something to actively seek. More importantly, they're inevitable--might as well go with the flow!
  • I received a totem animal--yes! A little black cat, new to the neighborhood, has started napping on the path to my front door. I've yet to explore all the symbolism, but I'm sure this one is loaded. The perfect conclusion to a perfectly lovely quest. 
Taking time to step away from the Internet, social media, and your everyday routine is one of the most valuable gifts you can bring to your creativity. It's good to check in at various seasonal points and ask yourself where you really want to go and what the Universe is asking of you. Although I chose Labor Day to mark the end of summer, the actual equinox isn't until September 22--plenty of time to get your journal and plan your own personal vision quest for the next few months.

Tip of the Day: Taking a creative time-out for personal evaluation isn't the equivalent of math homework or any other kind of assignment. It doesn't have to follow a set formula and it certainly doesn't have to fit any preconceived plan. The only things you need are a peaceful setting, your favorite pen for jotting down notes, and an open mind. Enjoy the process, welcome the discovery.