Creative Ritual / by Susie Lubell



Let's just say, between you and me, that I don't have one. A creative ritual. Many artists do. I don't. The other day I was reading a post by my friend Lori describing her gorgeous, intentional painting ritual and I almost started to cry. It was that beautiful. And I know it's taken years of hard work for her to get to this level of mental and emotional clarity. She begins by lighting her abundance candle and then rubbing essential oils on her hands and heart. She breathes deeply and prays, summoning her angels and guides and asking for their help and wisdom in creating her work. She waits for their presence and the work flows through her. You can read about ithere. It's absolutely moving. I love that she has this ritual. I am considering stealing it. Because here's what it looked like in my world on Thursday when I tried to create. 

After I get my kids off to school I make myself some coffee and run upstairs to the studio. Then I realize my glass pallete is still full of paint from the day before and all of my brushes are rigamortis because I'd been distracted and forgot to wash them. So I bring everything downstairs and dowse the brushes in magical paint remover / brush restorer and I make some toast. Then I scrub the paint off the palette and head back up the stairs. I grab a canvas that now has several layers of ugly all over it. But I still feel calm yet excited for what might appear on the canvas today. I squeeze out my paint, dab my fingers and started smudging. I listen to music. It's nice. Then I hang up the canvas and squirt it with water so it drips and makes more shapes and I hope that when I come back it will resemble something. I go downstairs and wash my hands and flip the laundry. I fold the dry laundry. It's now about half way through my morning and the anxiety of picking up my kids starts to creep in. My coffee is cold. I grab my canvas again and I see what my be a goat. Maybe a ram. And I think, great! This week's Torah portion is the binding of Isaac so of course I would paint a ram! But on closer examination it looks like a dog. And when I flesh it out a bit more it is absolutely a dog. Huh.

By now it's very close to pick up and I still haven't made any lunch. So I hang up the canvas, run downstairs, throw some frozen shnitzel on the stove, heat water for the cous cous and cut up some vegetables. My son usually bikes on Thursdays because his sister comes home later and I don't want to have to pick them up separately. But he has a flat tire and I have to get him. He sits down for lunch and I run upstairs to try to make sense of the dog. My hands are a mess again but it's time to get my daughter so I run downstairs and get in the car and get paint on the steering wheel and pick her up. I'm still wearing my painting apron.

She comes home and eats and I run upstairs to try again. It is not flowing. I now have paint in my hair from trying to get the apron off because I have to pick up my three year old from his preschool and actually go inside so I can't wear the paint apron. I check the time and now there's paint on my phone. He comes home and eats and I make small talk all the while completely obsessed with the dog. Then it's 2:30 and my oldest has his piano lesson. Again, no bike. I take him. Baby falls asleep in the car. I put him down in his bed and my daughter comes upstairs to consult on the dog. She likes him. She makes herself a palette and starts to make her own painting. We paint together for half an hour and it's nice except the time is ticking. 45 minutes are up so I leave her and race down to pick up my son. I give up on the dog for today though he gnaws at me and I am distracted. I do the dishes which serves to get the paint of my hands. Very efficient. I flip the laundry again and fold. I will try again tomorrow.

And so it goes over here. There is no intention. There is only chaos. And sometimes I really like the work that emerges from the chaos. But mostly I'm left feeling like I just chased a chicken for an hour.

There's obviously more than one way to create. And each of us finds our way. My way, for right now, is mostly about survival which is true across the board, not just about making art. But I think if I could take a second and CALM DOWN and listen, really listen, I might get a little guidance and find that the work flowed better. I think an abundance candle would also help.

P.S. My friends Lori and Liv are starting what I'm sure will be a spectacular 8 week online course called Infinite Purpose. I just signed up, as I do most things, the last possible second. It starts TODAY. I have personal experience with Liv's intuitive gifts so I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience.