Morning pages and my old friend, The Grumps.

Every morning my goal is to write three pages of thought stream. Sounds easy enough, but I can’t tell you how hard it is not to sensor myself! Even in a piece of writing that no one will see, I judge. I worry. I think too much.

It has gotten better especially when I wake up too late and run out of time to finish before an impatient toddler wakes up! On these days, it is easier to just rush through and not think about it!!

It has been such a great way to get the crazies out and get through to the real stuff that is in my head. My day goes better because my thoughts are clear.

So here is the thing, on the days when I do my pages, I can be positive! It turns out that letting all the crap out of my head leaves space to be positive and grateful for this life. It helps me smile more and frown less and hopefully laugh more with my beautiful family.

I am a worrier by nature, but this simple act of writing every morning helps me be a nicer and kinder person to everyone, including myself.

I don’t like new years resolutions because I find it so hard to stick to something (that is for another story!), but my goal this year is to keep up my Morning Pages so that I can share the best part of me instead of the part that is clogged up with grump.

More writing, less grump. Here’s to 2013!

Learning from a Master

“If you hear a voice within you say “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent van Gogh

I am sure we hear this voice all the time. In fact I just spent a day trying fight past those words just so I could get done real words down on my page.

This Spring, F and I had a rare trip together without Little Bee. Of
course I missed her, but she was in good hands. My mother took care of her for two nights while we adventured through the city of Amsterdam. Pure heaven to be free of little feet for a few days! The freedom was good for my creating soul and I did lots of writing while free of household worries and to-do lists. And the long wine filled dinners with my handsome date, helped a bit too!

We visited the Van Gogh museum and I learned so much about this amazing artist that I have loved for so long. The thing that remained with me was his determination to get better. He refused to believe that he could not paint. His early works were highly criticised, but he kept on at it until finally he was a master. He maintained that the more he did the unfamiliar, the better he would get. The only way was up, basically.

Now why do I want to be perfect the first time? What makes me so special that I don’t need to practise?

The masters of creativity were great because they believed that they could succeed through hard work and determination.

And they never listened to the voices that told them that this plan wouldn’t work.

A date with myself.

ImageWhat a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Some oil pastels, butterfly shaped card, glitter, leaves and feathers…….oh, and a cup of green tea.

Artist’s dates came into my life this year (that story another day…) and they have really changed the way I think about creating.

I used to really get down on myself for not having something to write or getting on with this storybook that I wanted to do.  And then I used to sit and think and think and think about why I couldn’t trust in my own writing, even though I had so much that wanted to come out.

Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way course suggests going on a creative, playful date each week with just yourself.  The idea is that if we let our minds wander and play, creativity is set free.

Sometimes we do a gallery, sometimes a walk through a pile of leaves, sometimes a good rummage in a charity shop for beautiful, forgotten things, and sometimes, like today, it involves glitter glue and sequins!  Although I can’t do it every week, and more often than not, I do it with my Little Bee, it always leaves me feeling calmer and happier and ready to play with words.  

The one where she realised the beginning of a truth…..

I did start writing yesterday.  And it felt great, kind of.

And then I read this post by Autumn.  It was about being authentic and being yourself and letting it all shine out, even if you might not please everyone with the outcome.  And I wondered if I too was writing what I think people wanted to read about.  A story that had a good plot and interesting characters and those kinds of things that check boxes.

Autumn wondered if writing was best coming from a raw, gritty place deep inside.  From the things we don’t let out or let shine in case of offending others.  It was a great post and really struck something inside me.

There is a reason I started writing in the first place.  I was once a lonely, scared eleven year old girl who felt invisible.  I had a home life that felt out of control and the only safe place was my room, with my pen and a notebook.  Writing was the only way out of a life that I didn’t really think I was destined for.  I wanted more and I wanted out.  So I wrote about the person I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live.  I wanted to be far away from the sadness and the anger at my home.  Writing was my way of coping with everything else that was out of my hands.

I guess I did escape it all, but in the process lost the real part of my writing.  As soon as I was “happy”, then I stopped writing about the raw stuff that made me write in the first place.

If i find the spirit of the girl who started writing in the first place, I might be able to access what I need to be writing about.  It might be amazing, but it might not be the kind of thing that everyone (by this I mean, my family) will want to read.

But I said I would try not to be a people pleaser any more and I guess this is part of the way forward.

So, back to the drawing board I go.  See you in a few…

I’d like to build the world a school……

….and it would be like this.

There would be all kinds of children – not just the ones who could afford the tuition.

Our curriculum would be relevant, inspiring, challenging, intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, creative and joyful.

Our teachers would be there because they care about inspiring a new generation of thinkers and creators.  They would be experts in their fields and itching to make a change.  They would respect students and the creativity youth brings.  They would build meaningful relationships with their students and never forget that a sense of humour goes a long way.  There would be no place for shouting or put downs.

Our resources would be chosen with thought for the environment and our health and people around us.

We would grow vegetables for our lunch in the playground and try not to take more from the world than we need.

Science would be with our hands and in nature and on top of mountains, and not just words on a text book page.

Literacy would be storytelling, story writing, debate, drama, talking and using technology to connect with the world and ourselves, and to make movies and music and not just comprehension questions at the end of a chapter.

We would read books, and books and then more books and look at illustrations as art.  We would choose our own books, instead of being told what to read all the time and we would talk about all the words we love.  We would have comfy chairs and beanbags and a quiet, soft space designated each day for wallowing in books of all kinds.

Maths would be solving puzzles, taking risks, creating games, playing games, talking about numbers and patterns and how the world is one beautiful number game.

Music and Art and Drama and Creativity would integrate and permeate everything, not exist in isolation in small dusty rooms at the back of the school.  Music would be heard in the hallways and in the classroom….

We would do Circle Time each week so everyone could have a chance to be heard, even if it was just to share that they had juicy, red tomatoes for lunch!

We would be Thankful each day for all that we have and teach the children by example that we are the lucky ones and not to forget that we need to change the world for the not so lucky ones.

I’d like to build the world a school where education is about experience and doing and not simply measuring a child by the answers they write on a test on one day of their lives.  I want a school that sees the whole child and where assessment is everyday by both the intelligent students themselves and by the brilliant, capable, creative and attentive teachers who know the students better than a test written by a random person.

I’d like the school to be built and loved by everyone who had a stake in it….students, teachers, parents, investors, support staff, gardeners, administrators, cooks, cleaners….

Students would learn that we all have a gift to share with the world and we would support and encourage them to find theirs.  I would like each child to be valued as an individual and noticed for their gifts.

I’d like to build the world a school where children leave feeling able, loved, supported, creative, inspired and ready to create the world that they wish to live in.

I’d like to build the world a school.