These suggestions can be helpful before a Process Session. Some may feel really alive for you, some not so much… but all of them are pointing at certain habits many people carry into the creative process. Think of these rules as possibilities to explore, with nothing to lose (similar to how one might look at insight meditation instructions – you have to do something differently to see something differently)
Necessarily some of these suggestions may not be helpful or even possible when working outside of this context. Stages of completion and demands of presentation will require other attitudes – but here the intention is to play as freely as possible and to touch something within creative engagement that is new for us. To discover what is essential for us, so that we may weave those things back into our own work rhythms and methods. Or simply have the chance to just be really free to play, and be surprised!
Ways to unburden upon entry...
- Know that you don’t have to like what you make here.
- Know that you don’t have to show anyone what you make here.
- Know that what you create doesn’t need to be important, or have meaning outside of here.
- Know that you don’t need to be expert, skilled or masterful. Aliveness and connection depend on none of this (and sometimes expertise obscures them)
Ways to Honor the process/mystery while creating…
- Don’t erase or delete or cover over anything. What is alive can’t always sensed on the fly.
- Don’t stop to step back and evaluate (literally or figuratively). Resist the temptation to judge, reflect, or see the whole of what you’re making. This has its place outside of the sanctuary – but here staying connected to the process, to the working, and to yourself is paramount.
- Set down accumulated habits / tricks / patterns of creation as best you can. If you always start with the same color, set all the colors out and let one speak to you freshly. If you have familiar rhythms or structures you use to begin creating, see if you can set them down. What is the word that wants to be first today, out of any word?
- Trust that you can’t see or know everything about what is unfolding from where you are now.
- Be brave. Don’t shrink from disturbance. If images are disturbing or taboo, be curious. If your body/being feels churned up, keep painting/drawing. Let the moving brush/pen/body carry you.
If you feel stuck…
- Don’t stop moving/working – keep going if only in very small ways until something else catches. Little dots, the same word over and over, slight variations on the same gesture.
- Go where its easy / do something easy – it’s often our habit to be drawn to the most messed-up, impossible, unbalanced part of our work and to try to fix that first. You don’t need to engage that way – sometimes the most beautiful solution/way through doesn’t happen in a straight line.
- Check in with yourself with kindness vs. checking out. If you feel strongly compelled to quit or take a break or take care of something important that isn’t really urgent, first check in with your body and being. What is happening in the emotional space of the body? What is the emotional tone present? Are there any thoughts that are unkind or narrowing (demands, shoulds, musts etc.). Offer kindness and appreciation to yourself – its not easy to do things in new ways, even if we want to try. When it feels the being has been met, go back to the work – starting small and gently.