...and the river of creativity is overflowing this year. Six months after my last journal entry on this blog, I realize I already had the perfect word, hidden in Rilke's prayer in one of my own creations, and in his message was my 2016 word ...FLOW.
SERENDIPITY—not this year: I wondered why Serendipity has only appeared a time or two. My usual experience would have my chosen word taking hold of my life and guiding me through the year. Not so with Serendipity.
FLOW: My Soul had spoken and I’d missed the message. I got caught up in someone else’s beginning of the year process (lesson learned). As I looked back over the year at my journals to get a sense of what I would share on this neglected blog page of my creative life, I found this photo/quote from 2016 picture calendar I'd created. The word is FLOW. Flow like a river! And, wow, have I been flooded with ideas, new techniques, and output: writing, photos, collages, art-journaling, and a new project—doing the newsletters for the San Juan Animal League. I realize I’d become one, in the zone, with Rilke’s prayer as I layered it over the photo I’d taken at the River Walk. I am deeply grateful this prayer has been answered, that my year has been creatively amazing—no forcing, no holding back, and totally FUN!!!
ART JOURNALING: In January I joined Journal52, a group of thousands of art-journalists on FaceBook that create a journal page a week. An initial prompt this year was, “What You Will Say Yes To This Year” or alternatively "What Will You Say No To?" I posted my journal pages on Pinterest (my user name is LLeeRussell). I started the year the same way I pretty much start each day, with a doodle. Here is my YES journal page Opening My Heart to Love. As I doodled, the walls around my heart melted away.
Prompt: "Self-Love" I took myself on an all-day date with my Intuition in functional mode. I began to write again when I had coffee with my journal. Then Intuition took me (just turned the steering wheel in my car) to two Dollar stores, instead of Hobby Lobby, and down every aisle to see what they sell there. Art supplies. Cheap. Greeting cards. Cheap. Gift wrap. Cheap. Information gathering. No purchasing. Since is another story. And the rest of the day was an incredible blessing.
Prompt: "That Thing You Love" That Rilke line says what again... “May what I do flow from me like a river…” What I do is write, take photos, and do a little art...I express what I feel. I put words in print and combine them with images. This is my passion.
APRIL LOVE LETTERS (a writer's journal): Back in April, I knew I needed to really write again, to get back into a daily routine. I decided to see if my muse would surface during the 30 days I signed up for with Susannah Conway. She offers a few free month long exercises with delightful, mindful people taking part in private groups on FaceBook. I find this group energy is supportive and expands my creativity. April was a remarkable month in which my writing went deeper and deeper as the month went on. I’ve continued writing as the ideas pop up. The more Love I express, the more Appreciation I express, the more everything flows smoothly, and the more deeply connected I become with nature, the people I love, and most importantly, with Source and my own greater Spirit. I have been in love with life this year and with everyone I meet, animal, vegetable or mineral. Except cauliflower and brussel sprouts. The result: MORE than 30 beautiful Letters from My Heart and Soul. Here is what I wrote to "Senses." If anyone would like my scampi recipe...let me know.
The knob is cool and smooth. I turn it. The gas ignites instantly and flames rise under the saucepan. The butter melts quickly and as I add olive oil, chopped shallots and garlic, the sizzle begins and the aroma of Love fills the kitchen. The flow of liquids as they hit the pan—lemon juice and dry white wine—throw off a mood-boosting odor of citrus, and the aroma shifts again as the alcohol from the wine is released into the air. Adding shrimp, I watch with wonder as they turn from raw white into juicy pink.
I serve the Scampi over a nest of homemade linguini drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and garnish the dish lightly with fresh piquant parsley.
As we eat, the flavors arrive in layers: the earthy olive oil, a touch of creamy butter, the mellow kick of garlic, the special taste only shallots can deliver, a bright pop of lemon, the sweet sea flavor of shrimp, a touch of savory from the seasonings, and the dry white wine as the background of all this sensation.
It is Christmas on a plate.
I'm choked up at how difficult it is for me to express to you, dear Senses, how special you are to me. I've only now realized that cooking is the only time—other than sex—which commands my full awareness of you. My newest mindfulness practice is to be conscious of all of your attributes and how they impact each moment. I am a typical Taurus, and am here on this planet to experience every bit of you, dear Senses, to.my.fullest...in writing we call it the climax.
Without you, I was a no-body.
AUGUST BREAK (a photographer's journal): Embarking on another Susannah Conway adventure with a new group. I'll be practicing mindfulness and posting a daily photo to Instagram (#lauraleerussell). Some photos may surely become prompts for Love Letters! Check out more of my art just posted on the MY ART tab / click this link.
"My role in society, or any artist or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all." —John Lennon