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time, in a moment

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Since my last entry, my efforts to nurture my creative core have not been entirely successful, but rather interesting and insightful. It takes a lot of effort for me to tone out the part of my brain that thrives on incessant planning, often much too far into the future for realistic comfort. There was a point when I was in high school that I stopped making doodles in the margins of my notes and instead willfully calculated projections of how much money I needed to make to have my own apartment, how much I would need to feed myself, or how much utilities might cost, and how many hours I could sanely work while still in school. Years later, I still feel like I am spinning in a hamster wheel when I get in that mode.

As it ends up, an influential force through all this is my perspective of time. My creativity simply cannot flourish when I am consumed by sequential constructions such as cents, dollars, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. In fact, it becomes a little too overwhelming for me to think of what things might be like years from now. I mean really—if I was given a glimpse at my life now just five, ten, or fifteen years ago, I certainly could not have believed it. The point is, letting go of that neurotic forward thinking provides the opportunity for my creativity flourish with a sense of the present.

Living day by day is something I am very new at, and when I get “off-track” it takes quite the effort for me to become aware of the present again. But when I am able to allow my mind to interact with the present, I begin to see things differently. Colors, textures, and images all seem clearer. Laughter, birdsongs, and silence seem crisper. Relationships seem richer. I feel more of what surrounds me and become intoxicated by the beauty in it all.  It kind of sounds like falling in love, doesn’t it? Those moments when the sky, the trees, the ground, and the love of your life all become one and nothing else matters. Or the genuine experiences of childhood discovery—these are examples of living in the moment at its finest. 

I think that is what art allows us to experience with ourselves, and why it is so important for me to embrace my creative side, listen to it, and care for it. Today I am revisiting Hannah Hinchman’s “A Trail through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place.” I found myself suddenly relaxed and totally present as I read about how Hinchman interacts with her art materials. I’ll leave you with a sample of what moved me:

All of this material-gossip has one real goal behind it: to get me to pay attention. To get closer, to slow down, to use a loving, inquiring touch. I can’t think of any work of integrity in which the materials aren’t respected, known intimately, and asked to perform at a high level. That’s part of what moves us when we admire a piece of art, though we may not recognize it. This is all part of not staying on the surface of things, but dwelling, really dwelling, in the moment that contains all the sensations. In the best drawings and paintings you can isolate any section, any square inch, and find evidence that the artist attended carefully to it.

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About Rachel

Rachel is an independent artist and writer who thrives on sharing her deep appreciation for the natural world. She has taught college courses in wildlife identification, ethnobotany, environmental science, natural resource management, and cultural studies. She offers professional services to help organizations build and sustain projects in community development, sustainable agriculture, and environmental education. She writes a blog about her experiences becoming an entrepreneur at pagesofparadigm.com. She lives in North Dakota with her two boys, husband, dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. She enjoys gardening, cooking, drawing, writing, hunting, hiking, and snowshoeing.

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