What do you bring to your work?

by Starla J. King on March 22, 2013

“It is not enough to have thought great things before doing the work.  The brush stroke at the moment of contact carries inevitably the exact state of being of the artist at the exact moment into the work…” ~ Robert Henri in The Art Spirit

Technique can be taught, and to a certain extent learned by anyone, and skills can be mastered with enough dedication and practice.

But what makes the difference between art (in the broadest sense of the word) that merely shows impressive skill and art that moves us?  It’s what we bring to our work.

If, as Robert Henri says, our work is imbued with our “state of being” at the moment of creating, we would do well to place high importance on the preparation phase of our creative process.  To increase our potential to impact our readers/viewers/audience, we need to create from the state of being that exudes the message of our art.

For example, if I’m writing about the healing power of compassion while I’m angry, resentful or bored, the words will come from my head, not my heart… not from the place that houses and disperses compassion … and chances are those words will be flat messages that come across as snooty commandments or egotistical directives.  Some might want to convey that; I don’t.

If instead, I’ve taken the time to step into my internal space of compassion, the words come from the fullness of that state of being, having a much greater chance of providing a message that reads as an offering, a salve, and a heart-wrapped gift of healing.  And if I’ve taken the time to “court my muse,”  chances are that s/he will give me words and wisdom beyond my own.

So how to prepare?  Ah, yes.  Tough question actually, as it’s different for each of us, and often takes time to discover for ourselves… but… here are a few of my own creativity preparation tactics to get you thinking/experimenting:

  • Take a brief stroll outside
  • Read a few paragraphs of a book that inspires the intended “state of being” in me
  • Write the non-compassionate layers away in my journal
  • Listen to carefully-selected music
  • Talk with a friend, colleague, or coach who helps me picture how I *want* to feel … and it catches on
  • Word play in email exchanges with a friend
  • Luxuriously drink a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop to de-stress and re-energize (hey, at least it’s legal!)
  • Meditate (although this one’s tricky.  sometimes quiets me TOO much and my words fade away)
  • Take photos of the intricate details of nature
  • Go for a run
  • Watch birds with my cross-eyed cat at the back kitchen door
  • Look at this pic of my great nephew –>k_with_waterglass
  • etc.

I’d guess that if you take just 3 minutes right now to jot down your own list, you’ll come up with several “get you in the creating space/mood” tactics that you already use.  Then come up with a few more.  Then go try them … today, and tomorrow, and next week.  And share in comments here what is working (and not!) for you.

Then pour that creatively prepared version of yourself into your work… and move people.  I’m pretty sure they want that experience as much as you/we do. 


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Newport Beach acupuncture May 30, 2013 at 7:08 am

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