by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
Have you ever considered how absolutely freeing it might be to just let go and say "I don't know."
When we sink into the possibility of not knowing something, we open our minds to new ways of thinking, doing and being. When we admit that we don't know something, we dive into exploration.
We begin to discover.
But admitting you don't know something can be a very scary place to be so ...
Let's sink together into the unknown. Let's listen deeply. Let's gather. Let's learn and watch the world and our hearts and minds expand together.
Falling softly into the idea of what's unknown is like falling in love with curiosity.
To be infinitely curious is a way to always have ideas. Curiosity is an extremely important part of being creativity. Who doesn't want to be curious?
How to sink and when to dive in:
In order to sink, we need to do three things:
- Let go of control. When we feel the need to control things, people, ideas and events, we disallow for authentic learning and true knowing. A lot of times our external beliefs become obstacles that disconnect us from reality. Let go and see where that expansion takes you.
- Become comfortable with uncertainty. One of the hardest things for a person to do is to give themselves room and space for uncertainty. To wrestle with uncertainty is to deny that life is impermanent. We view uncertainty with a lack of safety. The irony is that when we become comfortable with uncertainty, we actually give ourselves more stability because we are grounded in ourselves.
- Practice having a beginner's mind.
In order to dive in, we need to do only one thing : believe in ourselves.
Believing in yourself is the only certainty you need when diving into the unknown. Once you realize what you're capable of accomplishing, you will find that life will become a joyous flow of waves rather than a struggle of swimming upstream.
Water Element Artist.
Inspire. Enchant. Enlighten.
Being highly intuitive, tell me about your journey into art. What lead you into becoming an artist?
I can remember when I was about 7 yrs old and one day thumbing through a book titled, A History of Horses. I came across a Native American riding a horse and for some reason I was captivated by this particular illustration. I just knew that I could replicate that same picture on my own. So I grabbed some paper and a pencil and after about an hour scrutinizing over line and shading, I sat back in awe at what I had created. It wasn't exact, but it was pretty darn close. I can remember intuitively knowing in that very instant that I was going to be an artist. And that was the easiest part, knowing that I was going to grow up and be an artist. It was later in life when I began to ponder the question: what kind of artist will I be and how will I use my art to help others? That is when the journey really began.
Throughout my entire life, I have always had a deep connection with nature and it has always been my goal to present to others, through my art the hope, inspiration and beauty that the planet has to give to each and every one of us. Over the years I have studied and experimented with various subject matter and mediums. I can look back now and see how my art has been a reflection of my journey into self-discovery and self-love. Throughout the years, as I have moved through the various stages of enlightenment, I have watched my art grow and evolve with me. Sometimes the process was exhilarating and at other times very painful.
Then, about three years ago, I began to open myself completely to the Universe with the intention of broadening my intuition and to discover higher levels of consciousness. It has only been in the last few months that my global purpose has been revealed to me. As I currently learn and advance through higher levels of consciousness and work more closely with the emotional levels of nature, I have watched my art skyrocket to heights I never dreamed of. The creativity flows through me onto my canvas with ease. These days, the ideas are so precision sharp in my mind's eye that it's very rare that I actually sit and contemplate a composition. I can honestly say that I feel the most centered and whole that I have ever felt. Allowing the emotion and enlightenment to flow through me into my art is not only a captivating experience but makes me feel both humbled and blessed everyday.
How do you hope your art helps to heal the environment?
I hope my art helps to heal the environment in a four step process. First, my art will bring a heightened awareness of the beauty of the planet and that everything on this planet is a living, breathing, energetically charged intelligent force. Second, through this newly heightened awareness, people will begin to take a more in-depth look at the state of the planet and the part that they are playing in her emotional rhythm. Third, they will bring on the necessary lifestyle changes that will encourage themselves to strive for the greatest good, in turn, positioning themselves into a rhythmic cadence with the planet. And fourth, that others will give back to the planet this new found knowledge and enlightenment.
Just as the path was laid before me by those older generations, I am laying the foundation for younger generations. As each generation grows in awareness and enlightenment, so the cycle continues with each new generation becoming wiser and more connected to the Earth.
What sparked your specific interest in Marine Art? Any sea animal in particular?
Ever since I was a little girl, the sea has always called to me. I could blame it on that I was born under a water sign but I think that is only a small piece of the larger picture. The ocean has always held both magic and mystery to me. When our family would visit a beach, I felt like I could just walk into the water and keep on going. I wanted to be out there, under the waves where I belonged.
Before I reached my mid-twenties, I was able to visit Hawaii on two separate occasions. On one of my trips to Maui, I had an opportunity to swim with a large pod of dolphins in the open ocean. I distinctly recall not having any fear as I allowed myself to sink below the surface. Dolphins were swimming all around me in every direction. Hundreds of them. It's one of the single most amazing experiences I've had in this life so far. I am at ease in and by the water. Water is the breath of life to everything on the planet. Without water we wouldn't survive. There is still so much we don't know about our oceans and the life that lives below the tide.
As for a particular sea animal, I have a penchant for painting sea turtles. If I feel connected to any sea animal, it would be the turtle. I once read a page on turtle medicine (power animal) and I was blown away by what I had read. I frequently work with power animals, and reading about the turtle really touched me at a soul level. No other animal has done that. When I paint the sea turtle, I paint them as though I have painted them a million times before. There is a familiarity there, one I can't deny or ignore.
What are your feelings regarding mentors? Is there any artists that are influencing you at the moment?
The dictionary defines a mentor as; a person looked upon for wise advice and guidance.
I think what people forget or are unaware of is that we have mentors in our life on several different levels and we have mentors from the moment we are born until we pass over. For starters, your parents were mentors because you didn't come into this world with all the knowledge there regarding this particular life. In fact, your parents were most likely your first mentors when you entered this life. And then our mentors continue from there. How about your teacher, coach, counselor, pastor, boss? I'm sure you get the gist. But that is just on the human conscious level.
Let me ask you this; does a mentor have to be a person, living and breathing that you can physically touch and see? Have you ever prayed to Angels? Spirit Guides? God? Universe? We have mentors on a spiritual level as well. And now let me throw you a curve ball. Is it possible for nature to be a mentor? I once had an artist tell me that, as a student, I could spend a month sitting in front of a tree and learn how to draw that tree better than if I paid thousands of dollars to go to a college and have someone explain it to me. So if I sat in front of a tree for a month then wouldn't that tree be mentoring me in the art of drawing trees? My answer to that is yes, it would. Nature has it's own language on the emotional level. If we tune ourselves into the frequency of nature, then there is a lot that can be learned from nature.
As far as mentors go, I think having a mentor is a necessary tool for the growth and advancement of our soul. To achieve this, I feel that we shouldn't limit ourselves and our minds to a socially defined framework of what or who a mentor is. We need to keep a very open mind and heart because a mentor could be anything or anybody around us, conscious, spiritual, or emotional. As long as we listen, have patience, and open ourselves up to the energies surrounding us on the conscious, spiritual, and/or emotional plane, I guarantee that you will receive some form of advice or guidance.
As a self-taught artist, in the past I have relied on several artists who have already paved the way for us newbie's when it comes to technique and trick's of the trade: Wyland, Leonardo DaVinci, Author Rackham, JW Waterhouse, Robert Bateman, John Seerey-Lester, Morten E. Solberg, and the late Charles Frace. However, now that I am completely comfortable with my very own technique and style, I rely heavily on Mother Nature for inspiration though inspiration can also come from meditations or reading.
If you could speak to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give?
First, I would give myself a big hug and say, "I love you for who you were, are, and will be."
Then, I would let my younger self know that not all things we learn in childhood are unbreakable vows for adulthood except laughter, curiosity and questions. No matter what anyone tells you, this life is all about your growth as a divine spiritual being so no one has the right to make you feel or do anything you don't want to and, most of all, you can be anything your heart and soul desires. Don't be too hard on yourself. And reach for the brightest star because when that star goes shooting across the night sky, the possibilities are endless.
Tara Houston is a Water Element Artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Along with being a fine artist, she is an illustrator, muralist, instructor, and author. She will begin teaching classes this fall on how to understand and heal the planet by working with the intelligence of nature.
Tara aspires to be the best possible artist for the higher good and, through her art, bring inspiration, enchantment, and enlightenment to all those around her. She encourages everyone to create beauty everyday. Visit her website at artbytarahouston.com to see more of her artwork.
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
Listening deeply requires 7 things:
- Removal of the ego
- Allowing distractions to happen without judgment
- Recognizing our own triggers and weaknesses
- Understanding our strengths
- The ability to sit still and not give advice
How does deep listening help your creativity?
Deep listening allows you to follow the undercurrents of what's going on underneath the surface. When we listen deeply, we're not just listening to the words. We're listening for the tone, the patterns and choices of words, the symbolism, the imagery, how body language is used and also what's been omitted. All of these things can be even more revealing than what we hear.
Deep listening enables you to connect to people on a more universal level. We're not focused on our own inner worlds when we listen deeply. We become more expanded and begin to understand how our actions and reactions affect one another.
Deep listening cultivates your curiosity. When you listen deeply to someone, you begin to wonder about a person's world and choices in a nonjudgmental way. You begin to understand how someone's perspective and life choices are different than yours and gain an appreciation for the differences.
How do you feel about deep listening?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
Two years ago I found out about laughter meditation.
At first I didn't know what to think. My experience with meditation was very minimal at the time and limited to the idea of sitting indian style on a pillow.
But meditation has many different styles and forms and laughter meditation is another one of those forms.
The concept of laughter meditation came from Hotei, an eccentric monk who who was said to have lived during the Later Liang dynasty. His laughter was known to be infectious as well as inspiring. The tradition of laughter meditation stems from his own practice which he shared with others.
From my own personal experiences with laughter meditation and my training with Pragito Dove to become a laughter meditation coach, I learned how the practice can be just as joyous as it is releasing and expressing of negative and bottled up emotion. In a lot of ways, I felt that it helped me move through and integrate the grief I've experienced over the past couple of years.
Laughter meditation is also a great practice for helping people reconnect or deepen their creativity.
Below is a video of Pragito Dove demonstrating what laughter meditation looks like when in action:
Have you ever tried laughter meditation? Would you be open to the experience?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
There is nothing more attractive in a person than a good sense of humor.
When a person has a good sense of humor, they've achieved a sense of balance about themselves. They're at peace with who they are and the events and circumstances of their lives. They can laugh at themselves and the absurdity of life.
When we use humor in creativity, it doesn't always come from a sense of balance. It generally comes from a need to break the tension or make light of a specific situation. Humor in creativity can be very dark or it can very light, but it often inspires movement and change.
But, humor is very selective and always involves judgment. It's our attachment to situations, people, things, ideas that create our need for humor. Whether rising us up or bringing us down, humor helps us to restore the status quo.
How to use humor for your creativity:
- Make conscious notes of what types of humor inspire you and what types of humor you find humorous. The two may not be the same. For example, intellectual humor might jumpstart your creative juices while slapstick might just give you a good belly laugh and stress relief.
- When you're working on a project that has dark subject matter, take time to decompress with humor. This will help restore your own personal status quo so that you can return to the work vibrance and enthusiasm.
- Consider incorporating humor into your creative ritual. Begin your process with a laughter meditation or watching your favorite funny skit.
What are you feelings about humor and creativity?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
How comfortable are you with the idea of uncertainty?
Very few people really are, but it's in embracing and flowing with our feelings about uncertainty that we discover who we truly are and what we're really capable of doing. Living with uncertainty isn't easy, but learning to can help your creativity blossom.
When we start a new project, we might have an end set in mind. But, what if somewhere along in our process we realize that how we planned to finish it isn't really how it's supposed to take shape? Does knowing this stop us from finishing? Does feeling this make us revise our plans? Does understanding this open us up to the possibility of a new direction or help us to stay on target to our original plan?
All of this is uncertainty and becoming at one with our feelings, thoughts and intentions regarding uncertainty can help us move forward with powerful decisions and actions. The key is being mindful and centered in our beliefs, strengths and values. If you can stay centered internally, uncertainty about where you're going and where you've been won't throw you off track. In fact, it might even help you thrive.
Three Tools to Help You Gain Comfort with Uncertainty:
1. Start a creative ritual. Rituals help us stay centered and give our passions meaning and purpose. By establishing a ritual we also increase our stamina and ability to persevere. Rituals can also help us focus in times of stress.
2. Take small risks. Make a list of small tasks or projects you'd like to work on, but haven't for various reasons. Pick one that feels like a small risk. By taking on a small risk, you help to build your confidence and comfort level gradually in working with uncertainty.
3. Practice meditation or a centering practice that resonates with you. This is separate from a ritual because this is about you taking care of your wellbeing, not just your creativity. Find a way to regular ground yourself on a daily basis and you will find that you will be able to manage with uncertainty much more effectively.
Listen to Jonathan Fields talk about uncertainty in the video below and how it lead him to create his business and write a book about it. Steven Pressfield says, "Jonathan Field shows us to turn the fog of self-doubt, fear and internal paralysis into the clear sailing of focus, concentration and results."
How do you cope or thrive with uncertainty?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
Earlier last month I wrote a guest post for Linda Ursin regarding 4 ways to use rituals for establishing a creative habit. I believe that rituals are very useful in helping spark and tune ourselves into our unique creative rhythm. They can be incredibly useful for people who resist the idea of creating a routine or a daily habit and are more called to the idea of spontaneity.
What is a ritual?
A ritual is a series of habits that are connected to one specific celebration of an event or thing. In creativity, a ritual is generally the series of actions you do before hand, during and/or after.
How can a ritual benefit me?
Help you to find your purpose. Rituals are a way to allow you to feel a more profound connection to life. They will help give you a balanced perspective about your uniqueness and your place in the universe.
Create access to your flow. The act of creating a ritual is a way of developing a link to your own creativity. By creating a ritual you are showing yourself and the universe that you are intending to honor your creative rhythm.
Gain insights into your creative rhythm. As you work with rituals, you will find what works for you and what doesn't. The key to using rituals is to view them as something that is necessarily set in stone, but as a tool that changes with the flow of the seasons of your life. By giving yourself permission to be flexible with your rituals, you will learn what practices work best for you.
For more about finding a way to establish a ritual, please read my post on Linda Ursin's blog here.
How do you use rituals in your creativity? What are some of your best practices?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
It seems against the very idea of spontaneity to considering building a habit out of being spontaneous.
But, if spontaneity is not a part of your creative toolbox, you will find that adding it will add more flavor and layers to your creations.
- Spontaneity breaks routine and encourages a fresh perspective. Sometimes all you need is a new outlook to feel your creative energy surge and finish the project you've yet to complete.
- Spontaneity involves the subconscious mind, the fertile environment for gestating ideas and working through problems creatively. A regular practice of spontaneity will bridge a deeper connection between your subconscious mind and conscious mind, allowing you to work with a consistent rhythm between the two.
- Spontaneity reminds you that you're alive. It's a key part of wellness and an aspect that comes out of mindfulness. Learn to be spontaneous and you will also learn to be mindful as well.
- And the most important part of spontaneity: it is on the opposite spectrum of feeling guilt and shame. Developing a practice of spontaneity will move you away from focusing and dwelling on feelings of guilt and shame, an issue that many artists and writers struggle with during their creative process.
Three Easy Ways to Build Your Spontaneity:
- Learn to appreciate. Appreciation is at the heart of spontaneity. Start a regular practice of appreciation by expressing thanks at the moment you feel appreciation.
- Make a list of all the hobbies or recreational activities you'd like to do, but never seem to get around doing. Schedule an hour each week for spontaneous activities. Do one thing on your list at a time, adding new things as they come to mind.
- Journal and celebrate your spontaneous moments. Focus only on the successes you've had with being spontaneous. Consider having an art journal for spontaneous inspiration.
How do you practice spontaneity?
by Jocelyn Paige Kellyoriginally published in the Creativity Coaching Association Newsletter, March 2012. When Spring comes around, there's always a sudden urge to celebrate the renewal of nature and of our spirit. Spring is the time we take action and move forward. We spring clean, we plant gardens, we start new projects.
That's why Spring is a natural time to be spontaneous. Spontaneity is an important ingredient in any creative practice. It's what makes a painting or a book come alive. It's the lifeblood behind inspiration and the fluctuating rhythm of a bird's song that awakens us to the pulse of our own creativity.
So, how do we get in touch with this spontaneity? We cultivate it during Springtime, and carry it along with us throughout the seasons.
- Listen deeply to the world around you. Keep a close ear for sounds natural to this time of year as well as sounds that are unusual. Ask yourself: What do you notice? What have you missed? How does this inspire you?
- Take deep breaths. First, to calm and center. Mindfulness is another key ingredient to developing spontaneity for it opens your mind and expands your awareness. After centering, breathe deeply and notice the scents that surround you. How are they different from other times of the year? What surprises you
- Walk with the intention of paying attention and allowing your mind to flow with the surroundings. A place in nature is the perfect setting. Notice how the ground feels underneath you as you walk. Do you find yourself feeling renewed after and did any new ideas come to you?
- Look deeply and imagine with your heart, and not just your eyes. Take photographs with your memory. This will serve you well during the other three seasons of the year when spontaneity may be harder to observe.
- Start a spontaneity journal and take notes of experiences that capture this feeling for you. Keep it with you wherever you go and beside you when you're actively creating. One day, when you feel a bit low on inspiration and spontaneity, you'll be grateful you did.
What roles does spontaneity play in your life?
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
How does water keep our creative juices flowing?
There are so many ways and in this post I'm only going to explore five of them. (Feel free to add more in the comments!)
A Relaxing Bath
Who doesn't love a good soak in hot water? This is one of my favorite relaxation techniques and I often find that it helps rejuvenate my creativity. Some people also believe that taking a bath can also cleanse your aura.
Sometimes just soaking your feet can be a great stress reliever. Add some epsom salts and you'll also be giving yourself some much needed magnesium. Most adults are deficient in this one mineral and one thirty minute soak a day in an epsom salt foot bath can increase your absorbency and reduce inflammation in the feet and legs. There are even some beliefs that a daily foot bath can increase your energy levels and keep your grounded.
Diving into the ocean
A friend once told me to dive into the ocean in order to transform my energy from negative into positive. I was a bit skeptical, but did find the experience very refreshing. There is something hypnotic about the waves, watching and feeling them come and go into the shoreline. I feel like it's a huge release, one that can allow our energy level to change and recycle back into a better form.
In an earlier post I wrote about the importance of drinking enough water to maintain hydration and how this helped the brain in its' ability think as well as to be creative. I find that drinking water throughout the day increases my ability to focus and maintain motivation.
Using watercolors is a very relaxing and easy way to create flow with water. There's something about the use of water alongside paint that creates a deep feeling of connection between what you're making and what has come from the Earth. I think this is why we often see so many aspects of nature represented in watercolor paintings.
What is your relationship with water? How has it helped you in your creative life?