Last year, while I was still teaching in Clermont on a regular basis, Caireen from church started a creative journalling group. It was really good: every week I had “permission” to mess about with glue and paper for no other end but for my own pleasure and creative growth. I wasn’t making a card to sell, or to send; there was no aim but to create.
Since I stopped going to the group, I haven’t done anything creative just for myself. I have thought that it was too much of an indulgence, that I “should” be doing something else – even when I’ve not had anything else to do, and have therefore just wasted time surfing t’internet, reading blogs and just faffing.
Well, at the moment there’s not much work around (fingers crossed for September!) so I’ve got quite a lot of free time. Doing my usual surfing of favourite blogs, I came across a post on Arial’s blog, “A Blog of Hours” where she talked about the Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann, a twentieth-century American poet.
I remember this from my youth – it was very popular then – and I had a rather nicely calligraphed version. It is an interesting mix of self-help and spiritual advice, or mantras. I won’t reproduce it here, as you can read it over on Arial’s blog, but several lines have resonated with me…
Remember what peace there may be in silence…
Be yourself, especially do not feign affection
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth
Whether it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God…keep peace with your soul
Be cheerful: strive to be happy.
I have decided to create 18 post card sized pieces of art which are inspired by this piece of writing…I’m not sure how long it will take me to do, especially as I start feeling guilty about having “me” time (even though I have no other work to do! Although I suppose I could do some housework! ) but I look forward to doing it.
I have already been inspired to create the first three, but I will put them away now until the next spark of creativity lights up! And in the meantime I should remember something that Ange said to me:
Every act of kindness and nurturing I show to myself impacts those around me: something “just for me” is in fact a gift to my whole inner circle who benefits in turn.
If I am nurtured, and relaxed and content then it will impact on those around me. If I take time to breathe and to create then I will grow and that will impact on those around me.
Interestingly I discovered (thanks wikipedia!) that desiderata is the plural of desidiratum, which is Latin for “something that is needed or wanted”. So not only is the Desiderata giving us hints/mantras/call them what you will for what is needed, the creation of my version of the Desiderata is in fact a desideratum in it’s own right!