Cultivating and Choreographing the Rich Tapestry of Whole Hearted Creativity

Cultivating and Choreographing the Rich Tapestrof Whole Hearted Creativity

Elaine Patterson and Karyn Prentice from PattersonPrentice Designs

 

“All of us contain a divine, expressive spark, a creative candle intended to light our paths and that
our fellow travelers”
Julia Cameron¹

 

Introduction

We came together through our shared love of creativity and our belief that freeing our creativity is a radical act of hope in a world, which is reeling from three global pandemics.  In this article, we share with you the roots of our passion for creativity as an adventure of the soul in its quest for meaning – how we believe that we are all called to create in our own unique ways, how we can open the locked doors to thresholds of creativity, and why we chose the
word Tapestry as the title of our ground-breaking accredited EMCC Level 5 programme which is starting again in November 2021.

 

Why A Tapestry?

We chose the word Tapestry for our Diploma because we felt it offered a powerful archetypal image of woven fabric to show how each of us also weave our creativity. We see the process of people expressing their own creativity akin to the weaving of many beautiful shades, threads and textures into one bespoke tapestry, which is both uniquely them and which is also their to gift to the world.

As a word “Tapestry” conjures up for us a wide range of images from the famous medieval wall hanging La Dame Au Licorne in the Cluny Museum, Paris, to Carol King’s famous 70s album TAPESTRY with over 14 million sales worldwide, to the timeless, stunning rugs woven for centuries in many villages in North Africa, Turkey and other countries which speak to the transforming power of the human imagination.

As a metaphor Tapestry spoke deeply to us about how we had experienced our own work and creative partnership over time. Because of the warp and weft of all the different threads of our own individual encounters with a creative journey, our work enables others to explore theirs, and the rich collaboration and magic we have experienced when we eclectically draw upon all those ideas, and practices, as invitations to others.

These invitations are held by the loom of our intention which is to offer many options available for people to discover for themselves over different thresholds new perspectives on their own creativity, to experience creativity as a positive force in everyday life and with others, and to have a project to focus on during that time to put into practice what they are discovering.

One thing was sure: from our joint experiences as creative people, as coaches, supervisors, and leaders and as women we recognise a simple but profound message that everyone, wherever they come from in the world, is innately creative and everyone has their own unique way in which this shows up.

The access to that creativity is live and is only a breathe or a fingertip away, if we but take the time to incline our hearts and minds in that direction. As writer, philanthropist Lynne Twist².

 

“What we appreciate, appreciates”

 

How we cultivate this so that it grows and flourishes is a core part of our year long diploma process to allow for a natural maturation. This is because this cultivation cannot be rushed or forced or commanded or instructed into being or action! Each of us finds how we dance it into the world. Each of us will choreograph the movement and music that is ours as we explore, discover, play and craft – one strand at a time. This is because we completely understand that our creativity is initially shy and cannot be rushed, forced or commanded into action! As Dennis
Slattery writes³:

 

“Grace resides in the folds and in the palette of the creative spirit”

 

What Is Needed And Why?

Creativity asks for our courage. Courage comes from the French word ‘cœur’ which means heart. Being courageous is important if we are to commit to an active engagement with surfacing our soul’s creativity and the highs and lows of the creative journey even when we cannot always imagine the specific output.  Creativity requires us to let go of ‘performance’ and ‘production’ on demand. You may have a specific project in mind and joining a year long programme can help focus the mind and give permission, even self-given legitimacy – of some precious diary time to attend to that. That is a perfect place to begin. You may have nothing concrete in mind but feel a call to have more
space, a sanctuary to allow you to step more fully into creative living, or help others to do so, like getting re-acquainted with an old friend; your own creative soul. That is also a perfect place to begin. And it may be for other reasons. That is an even more perfect place to begin!

The benefits are many. As you cultivate and choreograph your creativity you will stimulate your intuition, extend your self-awareness, explore new routes and horizons, find new connections in surprising places, meet new part of yourself and you will plant the seeds of inspiration. You will delight and surprise yourself as you cultivate fresh perspectives as you move back and forth in the warp and weft of your own inner artistry. This crafting of a creative life helps us in a post pandemic world to reach out in fresh ways, to design a different path and be brave in the
smallest ways matters in huge ways. And it shows up in everyday living. To live as poet Mary Oliver [4] says this

 

“one wild and precious life.”

 

To recognise our creativity in its many guises is both a challenge – albeit an uplifting one- and a burden. We have found when someone declares for something, puts their marker down to engage in exploring making a space for some regular practices there is an imperative to listen more acutely. Doing relatively simple acts like walking in nature, listening and looking with an eye to marvel and wonder, playing, journaling, doing things that may have no immediate link to the area of creative endeavour someone has in mind. This widening the field of awareness indirectly opens mind and heart to the exquisiteness of the beauty of life in the present moment, even when it is tinged what feel like the unbearable. This invites the artist’s eye. For what is artistry but a perspective in how we live our lives?

As an example of this, the German poet Rilke was hired by Rodin as his personal secretary and they became strong friends. One day Rilke confided to Rodin that he had not been writing and had a kind of writer’s block so Rodin offered him some good advice. He did not suggest anything to do with writing or changing his habits. He told him to go to the Zoo and look at the animals until “you see it”. Three weeks later the result was one of Rilke’s most astounding poems ‘The Panther’. Exploring creativity also means giving ourselves permission to go through a process of unlearning.

Perfectionism and performance often creep into a mind set that wants a rigid structure, rules, instructions which the creative muse bucks against. Permission to set aside performance, grades, marks is important. Encouragement to bring compassion and appreciation take the place of the endless comparing, competing and contrasting with another person. This contaminates the space of learning, unlearning and discovery and kills the soul. There is a world of difference though between perfectionism and living wholeheartedly. Everyone who begins our Diploma begins as an A Plus student already and they spend a year living into that.  There are no grades. There is no exam to living artfully!

Permission to play more is important. Not to take ourselves so seriously sometimes and to take yourself off for play for play’s sake, to be dreamy sometimes, goof-off, notice, write, draw, make something in the kitchen even if it is just lunch, garden, show up on the page, the easel, in conversation with others, enliven your work, rediscover beauty, step into more of who you really are. This is a call to the soul, yours and mine.

What we know about this process is that part of learning about creativity and touching this innate capacity is about the importance of not ‘doing’ is as important as the doing for our creativity to flourish. In his book “Care for the Soul” Thomas Moore writes that living artfully might only require something as simple as pausing more[5].

Creativity is rarely straight forward. We are busy all day compartmentalising things to do,
deadlines, chores, meeting friends and doing. Time to lose oneself on purpose, get lost in the
flow where we go far and then make ourselves available to it, is like Rilke going to the zoo is an
act of radical love belief and compassion. It is not for the faint-hearted!

 

Creativity In Community

The saying goes if you want to go faster go alone. If you want to go further go with others. The collective effervescence of cultivating curiosity and interest together as a group experience and a call, too, to the Anima Mundi – the soul of the world as part of the warp and weft. And when we join with others in an environment gives us the permissions us to be with, and explore with what we love, we find ourselves magically also creating something joyful which is also a deepest expression of ourselves.

 

What Do Others Say?

The well of creativity is available to any who are vulnerable enough to encourage its presence.  Our participants come from a dozen countries, all keen in different ways to step into this space so beautifully. Here is what emerged from the first group of participants, half way through the programme this is what has emerged so far

• Creating invitations to self to draw out the shy creative inside the busy corporate person
• Manoeuvring around the chicane of blocks, and u- turns
• Reinventing ways of seeing and being
• Delighting in the self-given weekly practices
• Not constraining myself with ‘compare and contrast’
• Living into the abundance that everyday creativity gives me
• Exploring the distinction between art, craft and beauty
• Being braver and bolder
• Playing with unfamiliar connections
• Moving from the familiar to wider territories of what it means to make and do with my hands
• Playing more
• Exploring creativity has re-Sourced me and revitalised my work practice

• Helps me deal with death divorce, redundancy and confinement
• Moved me away from a mind set of scarcity
• Realisation that everything I do stems from creativity, that living is creativity
• Small touches have brought deep insights.

As one of our participants Urusla Clidiere writes

 

“I entered this program to enrich my professional practice. I am leaving this program as a more
inspired, open, brave, energetic, curious, creative, knowledgeable, and cultured person- and this in turn
enriches my practice. In gratitude to our guides, Elaine and Karyn”

 

And another participant Tom Finlay wrote in a poem dedicated to Tapestry:

 

wholehearted Tapestry
is giving me
a whole-of-life
makeover

allowing me
to mine
depths
and scale peaks
unimagined before

I am experiencing
an emergent
And ever expanding
New place
In which to grow
Play and create

In short
I am absolutely
loving the Programme
yet I am only
half -way through

 

The path towards and through your own creativity is both spark and explosion and any route you take will take you to more of who you really are. We are your guides and journey companions as we walk where you also walk. It is a call to listen, attend, nurture and honour both the woven and the weaver in all its guises and for that deep dive awaits us all. As Rumi invites us [6]

 

Let the beauty of what we love, be what we do

 

Join Us! For more information please visit our website at http://bit.ly/3asBHGi

References

[1] Downloaded 6th July 2021 from Julia Cameron at https://www.azquotes.com/quote/769982
[2] Downloaded 6th July from an Interview for the Network for Grateful Living
[3] From Dennis Slattery Quibell, D. A., Selig, J. L. and Slattery, D. P. (2019) Deep Creativity: Seven Ways to
Spark Your Creative Spirit. Boulder, Shambhala.
[4] From the poem “A Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
[5] Moore, T. (1992) Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday
Life. London, Harper Collins.
[6] From Rumi’s Poem “Spring Giddiness” Excerpts from “The Essential Rumi. Translations by
Coleman Barks with John Moyne, 1995.

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