Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Killing Time, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

The Advantages of Playing Dead

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

This morning when I was out with the dogs, Archie alerted us to the fact that there was a possum tucked in the branches of one of the shade trees. It took us a moment to spy the frightened, frozen creature whose bright eyes seemed to be looking far far away. Given the fact that we were anticipating that temperatures would rise to 42c our primary concern was that this creature and its access to water. I have been filling vessels for the bird life at my house but with no tap in sight, there was little we could do.

Possum medicine uses a great deal of strategy. Possums are well-known for one of their tricks. These small animals are amongst a group of animals who have the capacity to play dead when predators are near. This way they trick other, larger animals, that they are dead and then attack them or avoid them after they give up on the hunt. This trick helps possums to survive in often dangerous habitats.

Despite idleness being dammed as slothfulness, as one of the seven deadly sins, inactivity plays a perfect role in human life! When we are idle we are actually keeping up a valuable tradition. There are many advantages to inaction! For a start, immobility conserves energy. A half an hour siesta can ward off coronary disease. Plato tells us that Socrates stood still for nearly 24 hours while ruminating on some particularly intractable problems.

Most people would recoil at the idea of doing this but they would be wise to learn from a possum. Sometimes we need to go into a torpor and not think about anything much. Sometimes we need to rest our brains and replenish, in readiness to receive messages from the creator and enjoy another creative spurt.

 

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Heather Blakey, Just Killing Time, Killing Time, Wild Play

Go Coddiwompling

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week three and the creative force has produced the Musk Lorikeet to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

Musk Lorikeets are endemic to (only found in) south-eastern Australia, being widespread in eastern New South Wales, all regions of Victoria and in the south-east of South Australia. They are found in tall, open, dry forest and woodlands, dominated by eucalypts and are usually found in the canopy. They are also seen in suburban areas, parks and street trees. They roost or loaf in tall trees away from their feeding sites.

Musk Lorikeets are considered nomadic, following the flowering or fruiting of food trees and they travel widely for food. One might say that the Musk Lorikeet likes to coddiwomple! To Coddiwomple is to travel with no fixed destination. Coddiwomple is just one of at least six words that habitual travellers need.

In 2001 my late husband and I travelled for six months throughout the United Kingdom, Western Europe and Scandinavia with no fixed destination and no forward bookings. Our theory was that if we did not have a destination or a specific address to find we could not get lost. It was an amazing journey and we never slept in the car we had hired. We always found a bed for the night. We didn’t realise it at the time but we were Coddiwompling! To Coddiwomple is To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination. The Coddiwomple family are constantly travelling with no fixed destination. After he died and I sold the family home I had no real destination in mind. I let fate guide me to my current home in Central Victoria.

Believe it or not, you do not have to leave home to coddiwomple. Travellers who joined me in Lemuria had no fixed purpose and no fixed destination. They were virtual travellers who slipped through the portal and let the Enchantress decide where the next adventure lay!

They wandered about in Gypsy Caravans, stopping occasionally at mysterious places like the Well of Remembrance, the Lemurian Abbey, the Isle of Ancestors, Owl Island, the House of the Serpents and Riversleigh Manor. Jo Chapman is a virtual Coddiwompler! She has an imaginary boyfriend who she travels with and they have been to some exotic places.

These days my main coddiwompling is with my little Mazda 3, Akari! She and I love to go out on mystery tours! I let her randomly decide where we are going. Yesterday I went coddiwompling out into the natural habitat of some of the wildlife that also makes its way into my backyard.

 

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Just Killing Time, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

Exploring the Expressive Arts

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week three and the creative force has produced the Musk Lorikeet to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

Lorikeets are full of silliness and humour, and they are also inquisitive about their surroundings. These comical birds remind the writer and artist to be expressive and bring colour, humour and light into their work. Lorikeet has drawn me to examine Expressive Arts. Expressive Arts and Art Therapy are creative therapies. The concept of expressive art resonates for me because it honours the process, rather than the final product.

With the arrival of Lorikett I decided that this 52-week project is an expressive art project. I am unashamedly doing this for myself. Committing to 52 weeks is huge and it represents a major shift for me to be genuinely creating FOR MYSELF and FOR THE CREATIVE SPIRIT. I do not actually care if many people engage or follow what I am doing! I am interested in observing and researching the process of being responsive to and feeding the creative spirit.

The web is full of expressive art material. It is a huge field! I was particularly impressed to find the work of Shelley Klammer. On her site, she has an updated list of a popular internet list of art therapy activities which were originally posted by the Nursing School Blog

Lorikeet has suggested that I reprint the section on relaxation, along with a link to Klammer.

Relaxation

Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you’re looking to feel a little more laid back.

  1. Paint to music. Letting your creativity flow in response to music is a great way to let out feelings and just relax.
  2. Make a scribble drawing. With this activity, you’ll turn a simple scribble into something beautiful, using line, color and your creativity.
  3. Finger paint. Finger painting isn’t just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well. Get your hands messy and really have fun spreading paint around.
  4. Make a mandala. Whether you use the traditional sand or draw one on your own, this meditative symbol can easily help you to loosen up.
  5. Draw with your eyes closed. Not being able to see what you are drawing intensifies fluidity, intuition, touch and sensitivity.
  6. Draw something HUGE. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release emotion as you’re drawing.
  7. Use color blocks. Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you’ve created a colorful masterpiece.
  8. Let yourself be free. Don’t allow yourself to judge your work. If you think your paintings are too tight and controlled, this collection of tips and techniques to try should help you work in a looser style.
  9. Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.
  10. Draw in sand. Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.
  11. Make a zentangle. These fun little drawings are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress.
  12. Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.
  13. Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.

Perhaps I will get back to drawing a donkey and a raven a day!

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

Freeing the Caged Bird

Caged Bird By Maya Angelou was first published in her book, “Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?” in 1983. The poem is a Metaphor illustrating the differences between African-Americans and Whites during the civil rights era. The author, a black who grew up in the South during this era, is expressing her feelings at the discrimination she faced during her life. Her first autobiography published in 1970 is titled, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Flying Free by Heather Blakey 2004

Angelou’s poem, Caged Bird, speaks to many who have known what it is to be caged, to have their wings clipped and struggle to leave the cage even when the door is opened. Over the years I have found that many creative people have had their wings clipped by the inner critic.

The inner critic or “critical inner voice” is a concept used in popular psychology and psychotherapy to refer to a subpersonality that judges and demeans a person. The inner critic is usually experienced as an inner voice attacking a person, saying that he or she is bad, wrong, inadequate, worthless, guilty, and so on. It feeds on the words of some teachers, parents and other societal influences.

When I slipped through the portal into the imaginary world of Lemuria I found a world where I could become a bird and float on the back of the Lemurian breezes, dip my golden wings and claim the sky as mine. It was a glorious sense of freedom! More recently I have collected old bird cages and leave them, with doors wide open, scattered throughout the garden.

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings-by-maya-angelou

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Wild Play

Sing from an Elevated Perch

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

Blackbirds are known for their melodious voice where they sing from high places such as; rooftops, trees and any other elevated perch. They enjoy standing alone singing and catching the attention of others. Today blackbird is asking us to recognize our creative talent. While this may not be singing, there is a talent that each of us should unhesitatingly express. Rather than hiding our Light under a bushel we need to be singing from the rooftops!

Blackbird inspired The Beatles who wrote a song about him:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Today Blackbird is reminding us of the need to celebrate our creative talent, build a firm foundation upon which to create and pay close attention to the details. Blackbird is reminding us to listen to the wisdom of Paul McCartney and Maya Angelou’s And Still I Rise.

Blackbird is encouraging us to repair our broken wings, take the moment to arise and share our inspirational gifts with the world.

A participant in one of my writing courses told me that, I had to keep sharing my gift, that I would be selfish to keep the gift hidden under a bushel! Blackbird has encouraged me to arise, puff out my chest and sing, without inhibition, from an elevated space! I am a gifted purveyor of creative stimuli who has shared inspirational ways to promote creative endeavour. I do this by working on projects like this and by putting together an apothecary (a new form of the Soul Food Cafe) for those who wish to feed the creative spirit.

What will you share with the world?