I'm preparing creative regeneration workshops for the new year, to bring the spirit of terrealuma to Glasgow while raising some money for the road. This is a blissful and enlightening process. At the same time I am attempting to manage a pile of presents which appear to have been quietly breeding in the secret depths of their hiding places, by wrestling them first into paper (I didn't get the wrapping gene) and then into my suitcase. I am going to Poland for Christmas.
So... creative regeneration. I know how to do that. It starts with what I call basic meditation. This is a way of making space in what buddhists refer to as the 'world of the ten thousand things'. Or rather keeping my attention in that space, which is always already there, and coming back to it again and again when those ten thousand things intrude. Thoughts, interpretations, fears, expectations, stresses. I think I am reasonably proficient at keeping my seat in the world of the ten thousand things. I just had not anticipated trying to get them all into my suitcase.
The next step in my creative regeneration process is focusing. I get a sense of something in my life that can't be fitted neatly into any box (sic), it isn't really a thought, it isn't an emotion, it's just this.... this. I have a chat with that, I find a way in which I can talk to it and it responds. It tells me things I could not have thought up on purpose, sometimes in words that don't normally go together, or words that aren't even in the dictionary. As Gendlin, the founder of focusing, put it, 'words mean the change they make when you say them'.
This leads me to the third step - writing. Writing words so they make the change that feels right. Sometimes just writing the same word, over and over. Sometimes writing a poem, sometimes a novel. Words are magic.
Last but not least, and for me personally at the moment the most important, is art. So yesterday, instead of sorting out the present, cracker, gravy, oh - and as an afterthought, clothes situation, not to mention boots because there is a lot of snow I hear, and facing the big question of whether another larger bag will actually need to be purchased (not as in adding a bag to my flight online but as in getting on a bus in the material world and buying one...) instead of all this, a decision I only half-regret today, I stood here at the table and painted a lotus.
I didn't know it was a lotus when I was painting it, because I painted it vertically. The lines flowed, and the creative process - by which I mean something responding and telling me what to do, and me listening, and it listening back, and the steps forming, all without discursive thought - was well underway. So I knew it was something. But I didn't get a sigh of recognition until I turned it sideways.
The painting is still rough, but that's it - it's a lotus. A glorious flower growing in the mud