As I focus in on my creative art goals for the year, I consider what skills and experiences I need to have within me in order to be able to achieve these goals. Of the possible technical skills & experience I have gained on the job or formally via education over the years, I conclude the one element I predominantly require this year is ……. gratitude.
Many have said to me over the years, in order to get success “all you need is will .. will-power”. Having applied this perspective in many instances with varying degrees of success, I now wonder whether this was the best advice. Whilst it may have helped me to achieve certain outcomes, I am now pondering at what cost this orientation has had in terms of my creative arts aspirations.
Reflecting, the more I willed an outcome perhaps the farther I moved from my creative centre. And the farther I moved from my creative centre, the more I put my creative goals on the backburner. So was willing my prioritised outcomes actually bringing me closer to my core needs of creative expression, or in fact taking me further away from it?
So lets look at the act of willing. Will-power to me is the act of trying to guarantee an outcome, by trying to manipulate (via planning and coordinating) a number of different variables, in order to best promote the chance of realising the desired outcome. The possible negative of this orientation is that perhaps one overthinks the process, highlighting an amount of detail, and then gets caught up in trying to manage this detail. In my experience, the more one focuses on detail, the more detail one sees, and then the more one has to attempt to manage it.
An alternative perspective could be to care less about attempting to manipulate outcomes and just let things happen in a more natural way; allowing the energy to flow from oneself through a range of creative pursuits. “Life is about the moment ….. all things fluid ……. experiencing the moment… listening, observing, interacting, laughing, loving, enJOYing, soaking the moment in, digesting it, considering it, reflecting …. expressing ones’ being, streaming ones’ consciousness. While in the moment, everything appears suspended – almost in slow motion – and yet is still very much part of life and moving somewhere… “ (DLP, 2014)
In my observation, the elements of this orientation of letting it happen naturally are: self-belief and trust in the moment and process; regular quiet time, centring oneself to allow ones’ creativity out (often referred to as meditation); and perhaps most importantly, self-acceptance of all things around, including/most importantly, where one is at in life.
I think a key element of this orientation is being, and demonstrating gratitude. The Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as: “The feeling of being grateful and wanting to express your thanks” (Wehmeier, 2005). I see gratitude as being grateful for one’s circumstances in life; accepting one’s position, whatever it is – no matter how humble or grand it is; accepting one’s success, and failures; being grateful for one’s degree of health – physical and mental – wealth and happiness; being grateful for one’s opportunities to experience, to travel, to learn, to meet, and to teach; being grateful for having received an education irrespective of the level realised; and being grateful for being brought up in a relative safe environment.
I also believe in demonstrating gratitude when I receive creative inspiration; and yet accepting when I desire creative inspiration, but it is no where to be found. For me, gratitude is to be able to be grateful for what one has in life, for what experiences occur in the moment; and for all of those opportunities, that still lie in front …
I am grateful for all experiences in my life, for I know I have lived a fortunate life. Looking over my Pinterest site (http://www.pinterest.com/dpgold), I accept that most of that which I have posted, is not what I aspire to, but that which I have experienced. I accept the opportunities and the wonderful experiences that my family and friends have provided, both intrinsic and material.
But in saying that, I accept that I still have things on my bucket list still outstanding…. Many things that I have wanted to realise since a very early age, but not yet done so. I accept these aspirations are what keeps me heading in a forward direction; they are what motivates me in the evening to conclude my day, get some rest, and then to spring out of bed in the morning to get busy with …..
Do I still have creative arts goals and aspirations? Of course. I actually feel, in many ways, that my greatest creativity is in front of me. I really believe my greatest creativity is still yet to come. I feel that in many ways, my experiences to date have just been establishing my foundation, coming to terms with myself, learning about my aspirations, my desires, myself: how I need to communicate better, express myself more effectively, and generally overcome my inhibitions. I feel, in many ways, my life has just begun.
But that is what I now realise life is about. What do they say? ‘Life is what happens to you while you are planning for your dreams’. So if that is the case: I have led a very full life, a very blessed life. And as the years pass by, I realise I am getting closer to my real core; to who I really am, and what I really stand for. And for this distinction, and opportunity, I am grateful…
So I suppose my goal this year is to be grateful for what I have, accept what I have not yet become, and to a greater degree, let things happen. Of course, I will apply myself to my creative pursuits on a daily basis, but not at the cost of a state of busy-ness, that will actually prevent me from being in a still space where I can creatively produce my art.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study Part 1(Page 2015). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
Wehmeier, S et al. 2005. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th Edition), Oxford, UK SBN-0-19-431606-8
With over 20 years experience in the arts & post-compulsory education, David has lived, studied and worked Internationally including Japan, India, Fiji, the US and NZ.
David has extensive interests as per the extensive blogs hosted on his site (see below).
Additionally, David has published in both lay texts and academic (peer-review) publications.