We often talk about the struggles with balancing work and our personal life, but I don’t believe that balance exists.
A few years ago the intense pressure of managing my own business and my many other commitments was beginning to take its toll. I was run down and close to burning out. I undertook some honest reflection on how I lived my life. I realised I was lacking creative energy. It wasn’t that I needed more balance, it was deeper than that.
The type creativity I was looking for wasn’t about perfection but more about exploration and play. It was this creativity that I knew would help me tap into my unconscious mind, think in new ways, but more importantly, give voice to my artistic side.
Not only did I find my untamed creative spirit, I experienced these three things that helped to reframe and reenergise my life.
1. I slowed down
A big part of what I needed was a way to slow down physically and mentally. So when I discovered sculptural basketry, I was hooked from the moment I picked up a vine to weave. Plus, it combined nature, imagination, and beauty in a way that was open to my interpretation and imagination.
Creating traditional crafts has been quietly making a comeback. I believe that this is the result of the digital landscape that seems to have enveloped our lives, as well as a desire to escape from the busy schedule that absorbs most of our time.
Creating art allows you to slow down, relax your mind, and get in touch with your inner wisdom. Similar to meditation, which some might find too hard, practices like weaving and painting force us to do one thing at a time, slowly.
For me, creating art is about being still, feeling the earth beneath my feet and letting the beauty emerge.
2. I found new perspectives
It is well known that art allows you to combine right brain imagination with left brain logic, which then helps to increase the capacity for breakthrough ideas and insights.
Doing art allows me to see and appreciate new perspectives. It unlocks a problem solving mechanism in my unconscious that has not only has it helped me to overcome challenges in my day-to-day life, but also challenges in my business.
Every art work is unique and has a different perspective, which is what I love about basketry. If you were to give 10 people the same plant fibre and teach them the same technique, each person would produce 10 unique baskets.
3. I looked at things with fresh eyes
When out on a walk, you could walk past a fallen branch and not even notice that it’s there. But now when I see that fallen branch I see the beginnings of a new sculpture. It’s about seeing potential, which may not be readily apparent.
Most of us have become so disconnected from nature to the point that we’re barely paying attention to the beauty that’s around us. Instead our eyes are glued to our mobile screens, checking our news feeds and missing out of moments that nature is gifting us. Next time you find yourself glued to your phone, consider are you missing a beautiful sunset, wildlife rustling in the grass, or a leaf drifting by in the breeze.
Now a make the effort to be present in my surroundings to pay attention to nature’s beauty. I don’t always succeed, but it’s opened my eyes to new sense of beauty and joy.