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November 24, 2007

artist's way: session 9

by gl. at 7:43 pm

a smaller group this time: two people couldn't make it. i myself barely made it: there were two people waiting outside as i flew down the sidewalk, and they helped me set up. everyone in this group, especially, feels different when they have people missing but it means they get twice as long to check in. the "touchstones" exercise in this chapter seemed pretty popular. one woman came up with a great mantra for her to move beyond her usually introspective nature: "connect, create & commit." i love that! that's very much what artist's way is all about.

one of our members will be in the "thirty" show in december and she said, "people i don't even know might buy something!" so we had a good discussion about why people who don't know you seem more valid than people who do, and talked about the ways in which people are more likely to buy art (or buy anything, really), from people they know (or think they know). so if people you know are buying your art, great! those are the people who really appreciate you and want you to succeed! i went through this when colleen bought the 4x4 version of "you don't own her" and between her, sven & the job club, i've really come to appreciate & better understand the patronage process. :)

this group has asked me to checkin more than once, but they'll get plenty of me when they transition to the "sacred circle" email list, a place for former artist's way participants to maintain their progress with a supportive group who's been through the same thing. a few of us still check in every week, while others go in waves depending on what's going on in their lives. the great thing about it is that whenever you want to get creative again, you'll always have a group to cheer you on!

this week the art activity was "authentic dance." anything with the word "dance" in it is still scary to many participants, which is why we save it till the end. even people who have adapted well to exploring visual creativity exercises find creating art with something as intimate as one's own body is a challenging experience. but i feel quite strongly about exposing people to a wide range of art in order to develop a larger creative vocabulary. and i am always gratified when i know participants would never do something like this except in a creative cluster, because it means they trust the process, they trust the space, they trust the group, they trust me.

authentic dance isn't really necessarily "dance" in the traditional sense. there's no choreography or specific movements you need to accomplish. it's not a "performance." you simply allow your body to move in the way it wants to move next. it's sort of like morning pages that way. if this means you're petrified and you can only wiggle your toes, that's fine. each person had 5 minutes to do this (though usually they have 10). you work in pairs: one of you is a dancer, the other is a witness. the witness' job is to anchor you, to beam good will at you, to watch you as if to look away would cause you to disappear. watching a dance in this way becomes active rather than passive, and allows the dancer to know that only one person is ever really watching them (in a pretty intense way, but it means all your self-consciousness can be narrowed to one person instead of diffused among four and keeps competitiveness at bay).

i know when i first tried this myself i was terrified. i almost refused to do it. understanding i had the option to not move at all gave me a way to try it without feeling (too) foolish. it was horrifying and liberating at the same time, and i never forgot it. this group, though, handled it with much more grace than i did my first time. :)


center (self-protection): each candle safe & beautiful in its own bowl of color. i usually have four bowls, but one of them is still at trillium after the holiday sale. :)

music: a selection of songs from peter gabriel's passion. i especially like "a different drum," "the feeling begins" and "with this love (choir)" for this exercise.

posted by gl. | November 24, 2007 7:43 PM | categories: artist's way