I recently had a pretty amazing synchronistic and serendipitous experience that I wanted to share with you all, partly because I am just excited, but partly because it's such a great example of the ins and outs of the creative process.
I've always wanted to see my name in lights!
About a month ago I got an email in my inbox from a young guy named Peter Lee who is a student taking a class at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmaking. The message was related to his curiosity about art as a spiritual practice and his interest in having me be the subject of a documentary film project he had to complete in the next couple of weeks.
Now, I have been wanting to have a video made of my Wild Heart Painting classes for a long time. But considerations like the cost of such a venture, all the work it would involve to find someone who I trusted to make it AND educating myself about the whole video process just seemed incredibly daunting. Plus it just wasn't something I had time for given all the other projects I had on my plate. So it was one of those "maybe someday" things that was hanging around on my wish list.
You mean I have to follow the energy in my life, too??
When I am engaged in the creative process I am always asking myself the question "Where is the energy? What has the most juice for me right now?" knowing full well that that flow of energy can completely and without warning change on a dime.
One minute I might be happily painting green dots and then all of a sudden the desire to paint red will come in seemingly out of nowhere. If I allow my mind to take control I might try and talk myself out of the red. I can easily convince myself that I NEED to finish those green dots, because it makes sense, or if I don't do it the painting will look unbalanced or I have to complete something that I already started or some other reason that my plodding, linear focused, left brain can come up with to keep me from doing what I want in the moment.
The email from Peter was exactly like that. It was a complete and utter surprise that showed up out of the blue like a shocking brushful of red paint.
When opportunity knocks.... don't hesitate to answer the door
I knew right away that this was something that I wanted. And that I needed to take immediate action. However, my scaredy cat left brain was busily coming up with all kinds of reasons why I shouldn't do this now.
I really didn't have the time for another project. It would cause me all kinds of additional stress. It was an uncertain proposition. After all, this guy was just a film student. How good could this actually end up being? It probably wouldn't be worth all the effort and blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!!!
Meanwhile my intuition was saying one thing- very loudly: "YES! Get back to this guy NOW!!" So thankfully, I did listen to that intuitive voice because I have learned over time that she is often way wiser and smarter than me.
I am reminded, once again, how little I am in control
So I contacted him and we set up a time to meet and to get the ball rolling. The next part of this process had to do with hanging out with a lot of unknowns. I was being offered a real gift here. But since this wasn't something that I contracted or was paying for, I had little say about the direction or structure of the whole deal. This project was really Peter's project. He had a certain vision about what he wanted. He was essentially the director of this film.
I knew that he was interested and curious about creativity and spirituality ( And I did make one request of him. Which was that he come and attend a class so that he could get a sense of the intuitive painting process as a participant). I met him and got a good feeling about his sincerity and desire to do the best job he could possibly do.
But beyond that, the rest of it was out of my hands. I had to let go and trust that this was going to be whatever it was going to be. My participation, my saying yes to the opportunity, in NO WAY guaranteed that I was going to be happy with the outcome. I might hate the film or not agree with his vision.
Saying yes to this meant that I was taking a risk. I was risking my time and my energy for an experience that might prove to be disappointing or frustrating or difficult. I had no way of knowing ahead of time how it was going to end up.
But again, that's how the creative process works. You try things. You experiment. You say "Oh, what the hell! Let's just give it a go!" and hope for the best.
I knew that at least the whole thing would prove to be interesting cause I had never been part of a film project before.
Oh no, another opportunity to practice that darned radical self acceptance
Experts say that most people would rather die than get up in front of a group and try to speak in a coherent way and I've YET to meet someone who likes any photo of themselves. And here I was signing up to do both of those things. I mean, I was going to be on camera for crying out loud! Being 10 lbs heavier than I like to be and looking as old as I am.
By participating in this video I was also creating something that I was hopefully going to put out into the world. So a lot of concerns came up for me like " How would I come across? Would I sound like a total idiot. Would I look like I knew what I was doing? Would I be able to convey the power of the expressive arts in a way that felt good to me?"
Before he recorded the class itself, he interviewed me for about 30 minutes, asking me questions about the intuitive painting process while I was being filmed live. That was a completely nerve wracking experience of accepting that I could only be myself. Nervousness and all. Old and pudgy. Imperfect and real. And that had to be good enough, cause I couldn't do anything more.
Why does fear have to be so darn scary?
Any true creative enterprise always requires a huge amount of courage. And this was no different. I was shaking inside during the entire interview. Sweaty palms. Heart palpitations. The whole bit. Part of me wanted to run out of the room or just say "I'm sorry, but I don't know WHAT I was thinking. I really can't do this."
But somehow, miraculously, I kept moving my lips and words kept coming out. Even though I had the constantly running internal commentary of "I can't BELIEVE you just said THAT! You obviously have no business being in front of a camera and acting like you know what you are talking about ", I didn't stop. The part of me that needed to be doing this, that wanted to be sharing who I am and the gifts that I DO have to offer, which is my true hearts desire, was stronger than the part of me that was much more interested in staying small and hidden.
I really love happy endings
The video is now complete. When Peter brought it to me for my own personal showing I realized that in creating this he had been as scared and nervous as I was. After all, this was also HIS creative heart that he was risking putting out into the world.
As soon as the video began I knew that it was going to be something very special. It is incredible and I couldn't be happier. Peter captured the heart and soul of what I offer here at the Creative Juices Arts studio with amazing sensitivity and artistry. Even though I struggled with my bad hair and double chin, even I had to admit that I actually had some pretty good things to say. And the power of the intuitive painting process as it shone through my students overshadowed any concerns I might have about how well or poorly I came across.
Which is another thing that I constantly have to be reminded of. The creative process has a life of it's own. It's really never about me. And if I can just remember that, and get out of the way, and let that creative energy have it's way with me, I am often blessed in all kinds of amazing ways that I could never manifest if I tried!
The fabulous filmaker Peter Lee doesn't have a web site at this time but if you would like to contact him or give him direct feedback on the video please contact me and I will pass the word along.