19 January 2013

Word for 2013

It's nineteen days into 2013 and I'm changing my mind about my word for the year. If my word for 2012 hadn't been IMPERFECT, I don't think I'd be able to do this. I'd think "You chose this word and started the year with it, so you have 346 more days to go until you can change it." But living life imperfectly last year taught me that flexibility is a virtue. Instead of trapping myself in an arbitrary rule of perfection--that the word chosen on New Year's Eve must be held for the next 365 days--I've decided to change my mind.

I entered the New Year believing that 2013 would be my year to DARE. At first it was exciting. I copied all kinds of daring quotes into my art journal. I thought about all the opportunities I would seek out to challenge myself. I imagined myself living a bold, adventurous life.

But quickly I began feeling uncomfortable with DARE. I chalked it up to fear and my generally risk-averse nature. As days passed, DARE felt like a pair of shoes that don't quite fit. I felt pinched and trapped. I worried that DARE would lead me down paths that weren't right--that I would say "yes" to things out of a desire to be daring rather than from an intention to be true.

I thought about DARE as a word and what meanings it held for me. As a child of the 80's, the ultimate daredevil was Evel Knievel. But somehow jumping a motorcycle over a river while wearing a spangled jumpsuit wasn't the role model I was seeking. And then there is that famous Helen Keller quote, "Life is a daring adventure, or nothing." That always seemed horribly unfair to me to because a simple life can be profoundly beautiful.

So I turned the question around. I asked myself "How do I want to feel at the end of 2013? When I look back over the year, what do I want to see?" The answer was clear: I wanted to make a lot of art. I wanted to take risks and be bold with my art. I wanted to inspire and motivate and teach people to discover their own creative hearts. I wanted to create a beautifully simple home. I wanted to live a life of art.

I was reading Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch and came across this quote:

"The work of the improviser is, therefore, to stretch out these momentary flashes (of creative inspiration), extend them until they merge into the activity of daily life. We then begin to experience creativity and the free play of improvisation as one with our ordinary mind and our ordinary activity. The ideal--which we can approach but never fully reach, for we all get stuck from time to time--is moment-to-moment nonstop flow. This is what many of the spiritual traditions refer to when they speak of "chopping wood, carrying water"--bringing into the humdrum activities of daily life the qualities of luminosity, depth, and simplicity-within-complexity that we associate with inspired moments. We can then say, with the Balinese, "We have no art. Everything we do is art." We can lead an active life in the world without being entangled in scripts or rigid expectations; doing without being too attached to the outcome, because the doing is its own outcome."
We have no art. Everything we do is art.


Oh yes.

In my heart I felt a single word float into place: ART. 

ART will be my guide, my intention, and my constant companion. I will practice awareness and seek beauty. I'll challenge myself go deeper, express more, and live with honesty. I'll carry my sketchbook everywhere, dive into my studio whenever possible, and share my work with the world. I'll create with an open heart. I'll love abundantly. To be fair, that sounds like a daring life to me, but the difference is that it is daring on my terms with deep intention.

1 comment:

Melissa Dowling said...

Kim, I love how totally "True" you are to your soul. You constantly amazed and inspire me. xx