So I've started a new challenge which I am finding so exciting that I decided I really wanted to share it with you guys and to keep it as a record to see how the challenge progresses....
I am taking part in the 100 Mandalas in 100 Days challenge hosted by Kathryn Costa and Megan Warren.
It's an interesting story (to me at least!) as to how I came to have a daily creativity practice....
I never used to consider myself to be creative, artistic, talented or gifted in anyway when it came to drawing, painting or generally making things. I always remember growing up and wishing for one of those awesome crayola sets, you know, the ones in the carry case with paints and crayons and pens and stickers and EVERYTHING in. But there was no point asking for one because what would I do with one of those? And I would feel sad but resigned to my fate of not being gifted with an artistic flair.
I'm not really sure exactly what the first step was that started cracking the ice that formed around creativity in my life. All I know is that while I was travelling in Australia a few things came together that all pointed me in the direction of 'The Artists Way' by Julia Cameron. A blogger I followed mentioned morning pages (a key tool in The Artists Way); a host we WWOOFed (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) with bought me basket making materials; another WWOOF host had the actual book of 'The Artists Way' which drew me in with it's essays on blocked creatives; and another WWOOF host who had completed the course highly recommended it and said she thought it would be great to do whilst pregnant when I tried to say I couldn't because I was pregnant. (I was in early pregnancy at this point!).
A series of seemingly small things that added up to me seeking out the book in a bookshop in the next big city we visited.
And I have completed 'The Artists Way' 3 times now.
I love it.
Every time I do the course different creative things open up for me.
I decided to pursue Pregnancy Photography as a career after opening up to the idea that I could actually earn money by using a skill which I have and which I adore doing of capturing the beauty in people.
I picked up a paint brush and painted for pleasure after admitting to myself that I adore redecorating purely because I love working with paint and brushes.
I went to an Ashram in Australia to meditate, practice yoga and learn to paint yantras - yoga art.
I started a blog after acknowledging that I adore writing letters and I feel like this is one giant letter to you, my friend.
I am currently exploring belly dancing as a hobby. Ha? Me?! Dancing!? I haven't done dance classes since a ballet teacher said I danced like an elephant (ouch!).
All these creative avenues have added to my life in ways I could never have imagined. And the latest avenue is drawing mandalas. I love mandalas and have always been drawn to their beautiful circular forms.
The latest Artists Way course I did as part of a group, led by a wonderful and inspiring teacher Angela Wales Rockett of Painted Crow Studio
Angela added a number of her own tools and exercises to the course which deepened my enjoyment and experience of the course. One of the tools she offered was the practice of daily mandala creation. Wow -that sounded fun but impossible to me...
I embraced the idea and leapt straight in and for the last 5 months I have drawn a mandala every day. Some I like. Some I really don't. Some come with huge insights. Others are boring and dull and I can't wait to be finished. Everyday the experience is different and I wonder if that is part of what has kept me diligently creating mandalas daily.
And so as our group came to an end, a friend suggested the 100mandala challenge. It was only a small step to take this challenge on and here I am playing and creating with some very talented artists. I can't quite believe I am here, a part of this group. Just 4 short years ago it would have been a huge leap to believe I could complete a challenge like a daily creative challenge. No way, not me. Even 6 months ago, drawing mandalas was not a skill I would have claimed as my own. And now? Well. Here I am.
Fancy joining me...?