the spiral, we have been here before
It is day number I don’t know what in the corona virus confinement here in Spain.
Round and round the clocks go, 24 hours a day. One day more and one day less of the stay at home restrictions. The current plan will expire in a week, and while some limitations may be lifted, most of us, I expect will still be confined to home.
The perfect moment to share another one of my favorite symbols that frequently appears in my art work: the spiral, which also in my view combines nicely with my other cherished symbol, the (green) heart.
I love the spiral. I find joy and hope in how it goes round and round, advancing and covering new space or marking over the same space, yet willing me on to trust and know that at some point the curvy line will escape the well worn track and arc towards its own path.
I delight in the spiral so much that when I write by hand, I frequently replace the letter “O” with a spiral “O”.
The spiral means coming back to the same point yet this time with a wider view and different kinds of understanding that have been absorbed along the way. Like the learning spiral that is life, the round and round journey gives us time to think about a situation and consider how we will respond the next time.
the spiral, we have been here before but this time it’s different
During the last month I’ve started one of those self-help programs to explore my creative process with a particular view towards developing my clowning. This one is called Wishcraft, isn’t that a great name? And by the looks of it, it might be one of the first books of this genre. It was first published in 1978 and it’s still in print and generously the authors have made the content available for free on-line. Wow, what a gift, thank you. I can’t wait to see where this leads me.
It’s not the first time I’ve explored this territory. Like a spiral, here I go again peering into the cracks of the creative mind’s eye, eager and certain there is more to learn. There is always more to learn and so often the outcome has been a huge surprise.
The first time I knowingly and deliberately stirred and poked my creative fire was 12 years ago doing the Julie Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” with a group of colleagues. We met every Wednesday at lunch time and reported on our progress. I started the program with the intentions of breathing life into a writing project that was languishing. Working through the book with the support of the group helped with that, but it also – to my astonishment and joy – led me to discover the visual artist dwelling inside of me. Before that I had had no idea.
While I could talk about my drawing in the Artist’s Way group, it would take a while before I showed anyone my drawings and then yet a few more years to publicly share my work in spaces like this blog or expositions. But like a spiral, once I uncovered that facet of my self, there was no stopping, it simply rolls on revealing to me what’s next.
other d-i-y books and the creative process
Learning that I was an artist was life-changing and it led me to sign up to art classes and to work with more of these d-i-y books exploring the creative process. In the end, I have probably picked up and set aside more than I have finished, but I figure that’s OK. We are all different, different practices will suit us.
Ranking right up there with blowing me open to seeing new parts of myself, like the Artist Way did, was David Richo’s“Shadow Dance: Liberating the power and creativity of your dark side”. This book not only continued to open me up creatively it was also the beginning of my journey with mindfulness.
And the other book I’ll mention is “Personal Leadership: Making a world of difference” by a team of interculturalists, Barbara Schaetti, Shelia Ramsey and Gordon Watanabe.
This book is useful for people who collaborate with people from different cultural backgrounds, either living abroad or in their home countries. I came across this book some 20 years after having left my country of origin to ramble, live, love, and work abroad. What knocked me out was their description of creativity as a tool for living life. It helped me to see life as a series of improvisations and constant choice or a constant loop of living on auto-pilot and grasping for control.
It also integrated many different practices and disciplines that I had dabbled in over the years and gave me new words and ways of thinking about them. Some of my own auto-pilot tendencies, that were actually helpful and useful, but even more so after I expanded my view or looked at them from another angle.
the spiral as an eternal force of nature
It’s April, spring time again in these latitudes. The Earth is re-awakening its life forces and stimulating our own collective consciousness and subconsciousness.
The pandemic also marches along, doing its natural thing, and while policy-makers talk of the war against the corona virus it saddens (but doesn’t surprise me) to see them stuck in this aggressive, defensive narrative. This war rhetoric does not take into account economic and social differences nor acknowledge how the social sector has been gutted in the past year.
They completely miss the point that the danger the virus poses comes from the way we have structured society. And while everyone is at risk, some of us are in greater danger because of the work we do or our lack of access to medical care. Moral political leadership largely seems lacking. The politicians continue fighting for power and not cooperating or dismissing opposing parties’ approaches, which ultimately helps noone and further jeopardizes public health. Here in Spain the People’s Party (“Partido Popular”) and Vox have refused to attend all party talks about about to respond to the crisis. They accuse Prime Minister Sanchez of caring about power while they claim to care about the people, which they express by not going to the meetings. Huh? I know, it’s an upside down world and some how petulant children disguised as adults have been elected to office.
I am still holding on to hope that once this is over, or has become something less deadly and we return to so-called normal life, that we will have learned that like a spiral, we are all interconnected and we see another version of ourselves. A version of ourselves with greater heart and commitment to one another to work through differences and get sutff done. Because we have, we could and we can. As Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, organized citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Thank you for reading and best wishes with all that you do.
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