Friday, September 11, 2009

Being True To Yourself...

We set out on journeys for many reasons. In my case, this exploration of Creativity and Self is going to be spread over a full year.  Today, I went in to substitute teach at my youngest daughter’s school after the Subfinder program rang our phone at 6:23 am.  I was covering a Grade 4 class for the day on the Friday of the first week of school.  Before you decide to pity me, remember that I have the ULTIMATE WEAPON... I can draw monsters, dinosaurs and goofy things on the board if the kids get their work done!  
This display of talent on my part lead to a discussion with the kids about how practice is an important component of learning any skill.  When I explained that I had been serious about drawing ever since I turned 11 about 33 years ago, one small boy yelled out “Wow! You’re WAY older than my Dad... he’s only 32!”
Kids keep you grounded and humble.
Every age has its own joys and challenges.  I may not be as flexible and energetic as I was when I was a teenager and I may not be able to pull all-nighters like I did as a 20 year old University student, but I am far more confident about the person I am today. It is important to have a sense of who you are when you set out on a journey, because you may be a different person when you finish the adventure than you were when it began.
INHALE:  As you breathe in, remember that you are a totally unique creation.  There isn’t another person on this planet that has the exact combination of outside appearance and inner talents, personality and potential, experiences and insight. You are the only one who can share your particular Creativity with the world.  
In her book Eighth Day of Creation, Elizabeth O’Connor writes: “When we talk about being true to ourselves- being the persons we are intended to be- we are talking about gifts.  We cannot be true to ourselves unless we are being true to our gifts.”
As I set out on this journey, I need to take stock of where and who I am right now but in a fun, creative way.  I’ve done this type of exercise with elementary and middle school kids as part of a self-awareness module, but it works no matter what age you are.
EXHALE: Find a moment in your day and a quiet space to curl up where you won’t be interrupted.  When my children were smaller, that sometimes had to wait until they were asleep.  Make yourself a mug of something warm to sip on while you think if the nights are getting colder or pour yourself a glass of something cool if it is still warm out.  
You can doodle, write, collage or scrapbook the answers.  It doesn’t matter if  you can only draw stick people.  The act of making an image on a paper, however basic, holds a certain power in it that we often overlook.  Most of all, have fun trying this exercise:
Divide your page into 5 sections: 4 quadrants and a shape in the center where they intersect.  The shape at the center of your page can be a square, heart, circle or diamond.  The sections don’t have to be even like mine are... if you decide that you’d like to give one area more space or emphasis, feel free.  
This is just a guide... I am going to go curl up with my sketchbook after I post this, so I’m still not sure how mine will turn out. I’ll show you tomorrow!  The important thing is to have fun exploring who you are.

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