Updated: May 13, 2021
However you're spending the start of the new year, I'd like to wish you a creative and resilient one because goodness knows we need our imaginations, and we require all the strength we can muster to weather whatever may come our way.
Of course, we didn't openly ask for the pandemic, but we're in it, and although if we had a choice we'd probably say we didn't want it, there are some things that this experience brought that we can use for good, one of them being to see those who slip through the cracks.
Shortly after the WHO announced a global pandemic I participated in an event where five Indigenous women discussed what it was like on the frontlines for their people during the pandemic, such as lack of clean drinking water, lack of food, increase in violence towards women. Clare Dubois, founder of Treesisters.org** summarized the overarching theme of this period in history when she said: "We are not acting as a global family and we need to be in order to survive."
What I've seen since the pandemic began is that many black and brown folks, Ingenious, and other marginalized and disenfranchised people have had it worse than others and that we need to consider everyone on our beloved Mother Earth as part of our human family if we're to survive.
Part of my work as a creativity coach, teacher, and writer is to imagine a world and to actively create a world with others, that is based on human rights and equality. One of my goals for 2021 is to foster more meaningful relationships with those who have different experiences and histories than myself. Meditation teacher and writer Tara Brach say the following in her 2016 essay Facing My White Privilege:
White people need to be in solidarity with those who have been suffering from white dominance. We need to get on their team—not in order to help out “the other” but because it frees us all. This means that rather than simply trying to bring people of color to our centers, we transform our culture. We extend ourselves by building authentic relationships with people of color and, by engaging as allies, actively support initiatives that undo racism in our society.
Being open to the world and others starts with becoming more conscious of how our actions and privilege impact others. To live a creative life doesn't mean shutting off from the world and its injustices, rather it's about engaging with what's going on and recognizing that we can make change together. As American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist Buckminster Fuller says, "We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common."
Extending our humanness involves coming into focus with what other communities, other economic brackets, are experiencing and being able to listen to their perspectives without defaulting to our own biases. Becoming conscious then isn't only a personal experiment on the way to enlightenment, it's a collective experiment where we all need to understand our interconnectivity and sameness. And the sooner we do that, the more we can get on with the juiciness of living and loving one another with all the passion and awareness we're capable of.
5 ways to make space for creativity and self-care
1. Start a mindfulness practice that you can rely on during difficult times. This could be a morning meditation practice of 5-10 minutes or a short walk you take every morning or at lunchtime.
2. Choose one activity you can do regularly that fills you up. This could be drawing, cooking, or knitting or sculpting. Schedule it in the calendar and try to do it once a week. Don't make it negotiable. Notice how your energy returns when you allow yourself this small pleasure!
3. Tell your family and/or others what you're doing such as knitting or taking a luxurious bath. Don't refer to it as a guilty pleasure but rather as a regular part of your day. When we tell others, then this becomes a thing we do that's to be celebrated and not hidden away.
4. Connect with others every day; those people you meet such as the guy packing your groceries or the person behind the counter of your local convenience store. Look them in the eye and let them know you see them. Smile--it's contagious!
5. Are there any nourishing rituals in your culture (or another one) that you can adopt or adapt? This may include burning a candle, preparing a cup of tea, or offering up flowers or fruit to a god or goddess that's meaningful to you. Building sacred rituals into our day helps us to be more present and alive to each moment.
As I write this we're on the eve in the Celtic tradition of honouring Cailleach. At this time the doors and windows of one’s home were opened to her, the queen of winter in order to clean out the old, and the year gone by. By welcoming and honouring the wisdom of the grandmother we seek rest and renewal before the seeds of our labours can grow.
Finally, take some time to reflect on what you'd like to create in 2021. What project would you like to launch? What steps do you need to put into place to make this happen?
**Tree Sisters, a global organization that focuses on creating resources and experiences that empower all women to step into their feminine Nature-based leadership to restore the planet and its inhabitants.
Photo credit: Clay Banks