July 2013 Seminar

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July 2013 Seminar

Postby mistletoeoak » 30 Jun 2013, 17:40

Telling that voice in your head to say yes to creativity on your Druid journey…

This seminar is also available as a pdf for anyone who prefers that format with the images easily to view http://mistletoeoak.weebly.com/resources.html :)

How many of you have thought about having a go at writing a triad, putting your hands in soil or sculpting with some clay? How many of you have wanted to take a photo of your favourite tree, paint, write a poem or song, start drumming, play the harp, start baking? How many of you out there when looking at an old gnarled tree hear music, see images, feel patterns and you want to express this in a creative form, because somehow this makes sense to you, like an inherent understanding that just is? You cannot explain it, it just feels right.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-JiDQ3Id5854/U ... 3-1459.jpg

BUT… you feel no one else would understand, they just think you have gone mad. Well, in that case best be safe and not have a go then. How many of you have felt that something has stopped you?

Something has blocked you from taking that first brave step at just having a go even. How many of you have had the thoughts: I can’t do a drawing, I am not an artist, I cannot write a song, I don’t do drumming, I am not a musician. How many of you struggled at Bardic level in being a ‘bard’ and tapping into that part of your being. How many of you felt overwhelmed at discovering, let alone letting your inner bard out?

Okay it is a cliché, but you CAN do anything you put your mind to. You do not need to be trained, just be and do what feel right.
The issue is taking that first brave step … just having a go. That is what I want to address in this seminar, the fact that many of us have felt just like all the above, but sometimes it is hard to realise you are not alone, it is okay to let that creative bard out.

So what is it that stops us then? A brilliant term I have come across for this is by Jani Franck, she calls them ‘block monsters.’ We all have those gremlins, those voices in our head or pressures that prevent us from creating. And, for anyone on the Druid path, especially when starting out at the bardic level, many block monsters can appear.

Before I go any further I want to highlight a huge monster that I hope after reading, many of you will identify with. As you set out on your Druid journey and get used to the Gwers, you also have the unknown to contend with, you then have new emotions and outlooks to process, on top of that you need to process this for yourself and then somehow you need to put it into words to your tutor and well, on top of on top of all of that, it is new to you and so much is going on. As you start to delve into your Druid path even further, it can feel very daunting to put into a physical creative form that thoughts and emotion that you experience, be it for personal viewing in a journal or to share with others or just your tutor. It all involves risk, and it is that initial risk, that fear, that moment where you go beyond your comfort zone, that puts the brakes on your creative flow.
Many reasons can be behind that risk element and that could become a seminar in itself, but very briefly you may feel that your physical response to your experience may come across as sounding a bit mad, you may fear criticism or it may be the fact that you have not done anything like this before.

This is all perfectly fine, it is part of the process . Had I known that this block or scary monster was part of the process, I could have greeted it , accepted it and then been brave and had a go. I hope that makes sense! ( I used to pop that get out phrase in my letters to my tutor when I felt I had sounded a bit mad after putting into words or picture my ideas from a Gwers or question)

Okay, so you now know that initial step may be limiting your ability to put into physical form you creativity, there’s more ... Take this example, you feel so moved by an experience , maybe the full moon ,discovering an oak tree you did not realise was hiding in your favourite wood.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Okd5qXcNpVs/U ... ose+up.JPG
Words are singing and dancing in my head, you want to put pen to paper, sing or move because it feels right, it’s how you want to express your thoughts and feelings. You now feel ‘okay’ to risk this in a physical form that calls to you as you now know others felt a bit wobbly in the early days getting used to the Gwers and processing your creative bardic response.

But then:
1. That voice in your head mumbles, that’s silly. If someone sees you or looks at what you have done they will laugh. Anyway you do not do art so do not even think about going near paint, ha, singing, no chance, a poem? Nope, step away from the keypad and safely place all paper and writing instruments and in fact ALL ideas whilst we are at it, all of them go on, place them in a padlocked box before you dwell any further on this idea. Result, nothing because projected negative outcome, too risky. Creativity end of.
In NLP we have the term ‘perception is projection’ . Often how we act or what we choose to do is based on what we think the end result will be. So how about this for an alternative response:
2. You choose to put pen to paper, you feel fulfilled and energised by the experience and have a beautiful journal page that personally makes sense, you turn this into a canvas, some cheap poster paint, a bit of glitter maybe some sequins for flowers or you create a song, a dance or piece of jewellery. Take it one step further, you share that creative outlet it resonates with someone else, they too know that feeling, they struggled to put it into physical form and it means so much to them that someone else has had that same feeling or thought. This inspires them to take that leap and express their creativity.

Two very different outcomes I think you would agree! The point is, until you realise that obstacles exist, you cannot always appreciate them and then deal with them or choose to act differently. It is okay to feel nervous at taking that risk and putting into a creative physical form your response to your feelings and emotions on your Druid journey.

So, hands up, how many of you have had the problem that as you follow your Druid path you really want to write, draw, sing or create something to express how you feel or think about something, BUT that voice or monster has prevented you? Both my hands are up!

But I don’t do art or singing, and I can’t dance and well I am just not an arty creative type of person I hear you shout.
That is fine, some people do not wish to express their thoughts and feelings in a creative way and that is fine. At all times you must do what feel s right to you. What I am referring to here are people out there who desperately want to have a go, as I did, but are either not sure how to or feel worried about taking that risk at committing their ideas into a physical entity.

SO … now that is cleared up.

What creative outlets do you already have or would like to try?

Are there any creative outlets you have done before, maybe when you were young, or felt you wished you had tried? Have a look at my Creative Tree pdf to get started http://bit.ly/158ocTN . List 5 creative outlets, choose one and think about what stops you, what could you do to overcome this and what is stopping you from having a go now? Be brave and take that step, post your tree and creation on here or you are very welcome to post it on one of my social media sites which can be found on my blog listed at the end.

For me it was that first step, looking at what possible creative outlets I could explore, and realising I could express my Druid experience in this way and it was okay. I knew I wanted to draw my Grove, I wanted to throw paint at paper! BUT, the last time I had really done anything creative for myself was years ago back at school. The thought of painting or writing even when I had a really strong feeling inside me whilst working on the Bardic level Gwers, felt wrong. Not so much wrong, but the voice was saying no you cannot do this because you have priorities elsewhere, the last time you painted was over 10 years ago, you have children, you do not have time, you’re a grown up now don’t you know … people will laugh, it would be selfish to spend time doing this when other things need to be done and so on. Plus, does it mean I have gone mad? Drawing what was essentially my Druid journey could come across very wrong and do I dare mention the spirit guide I have? So I looked at my list of creative outlets and did a very simple drawing ... and this is where I began.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kJ5MkCGdd8Y/U ... 1-1343.jpg

I then started a simple blog, just posting occasional photos that appealed to me as I worked with each Gwers. I took a break for a while and when I came back to the Bardic studies I discovered Pinterest, I started collecting images and placing them in a folder for each element, my Grove and festivals too. As I progressed felt certain trees or patterns in nature jumped out and I began collecting these too, which led to more regular postings and a quick photo on my blog. It was quick, easy and not too risky. Soon people started to comment and share their blogs, I noticed when looking at their posts and links OBOD and Druidry often cropped up… this led to a new blog, a Facebook page, joining free e-courses on related subjects and so on. From taking that first step just sharing images, it made me realise other like minded people ARE out there, other people know what you are going through, and it gave me confidence to keep trying a bit more, resulting eventually in me unlocking the paint and papers from the dusty closet and creating a painting. In just over a year I had worked my way through my creative tree list without even realising, until I came across it when going through my folder!

The biggest thing I discovered at every turn was that ‘risk’ element that other people also said had held them back creatively. Not the coming out and saying you were a Druid but the fact you expressed how you thought and felt in creative form. The thing you need to appreciate with a creative physical piece be it a drawing, a song or a poem is that others then have a creative response. It is this response that 9 times out of 10 that stops us from having a go in the first place once we are brave enough to create that physical creative form or piece. Why? Because a creative response is subjective, personal, public, critical, political, religious, rubbish, confidence building, scathing, hurtful, encouraging, brilliant, joyous, boring, pointless, fabulous and all the other words out there.

What one person likes, another may dislike. A recent trip to the Turner Contemporary Curiosity exhibition highlighted this, as I stood and looked around a room with a walrus, a penguin with the head of a peacock, Swiss masks and a penguin in a wooden box, it was hard to believe anyone was looking at the same exhibits. Each person had a totally different view and idea. What one person felt was right and apt, another took take offence to. So for anyone on any journey be it a Druid encapsulating their ideas in a creative form or other, well, who likes confrontation, so yes you guessed it, we project and perceive it is safer to not have a go … NOOOO!!! Have a go! You can now appreciate the fact that this is part of the process. A friend once told me until you have a piece of work criticised you are not an artist!

Fact: you now know other people are having a go at expressing themselves creatively in an attempt to make sense of what they are learning, thinking and feeling on their Druid journey. You are not alone and what you feel is perfectly okay.

Fact: everyone will have opinions, some will not be good some will be awful and many will be encouraging. That is how art and creative pieces function.

Fact: some negative responses may not be intended as such. How about the green eyed monster, or maybe what they wanted to really say came out wrong. Easy to say but think about the response, is it what they really meant, could I use this feedback to improve my work, does it really matter anyway! Smile, say thank you and move on.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-l5V2t-Opd5g/U ... 4-1452.jpg

SO let’s fast forward a bit… you’ve decided to do it, you make that step and CREATE!!! You have a poem, a dance, a song, a photo, a painting, a creative response that feels right to you in expressing your thoughts, feelings or even just an observation. Hmm, now what to do with it - personal or public…
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6WQD4vEF5D0/U ... 6-1810.jpg

Let’s look at personal first. Many pieces I create remain in my journal, for me that is my personal way of getting an idea discussed in a Gwers out of my mind into physical form. But even just for your eyes only, this too can be a difficult risky step. But why? If there is no audience and only you whom will see, read, hear or dance your creative piece, what is stopping you? It could be that you are not sure if what you are doing is ‘right’ or is this what others do, is it ‘okay’ to be doing this? Even when for your eyes only, this risk factor will still restrict you if it is not something you are used to doing or have done before. As mentioned earlier, this is very new and scary. Again it is having that first attempt that will break that mindset, you will realise, you can draw write or sing, and you will then do it again and again and again. It will become a habit. I would suggest look online, look on forums, groups and pages, is there anyone out there who is sharing their work in the field you want to have a go at – for example, poetry. I found that as I encountered more people that created artwork showing nature and trees I gained confidence to have a go, I realised, hang on I am not the only one doing this, and do you know what, it is okay to be doing this. Some could say oh yes but surely that’s just safety in numbers? Possibly, but it is a great way to make a start and I also found it is a useful way to bounce ideas around. If no one out there is already having a go at what you want to do, then even better, shout from the tree tops you are a creative Druid and please share what you are doing!

My personal monster was the issue of having lots of lovely journals, aka empty notebooks from the pound shop. They had pretty covers, sumptuous glossy white pages, clean unspoilt pages, crystal clear empty spaces of nothingness, too pure for my feeble attempts. Who was I to write my ideas and doodles about trees, Taliesin, elements and rituals on these sacred lean pure pages? It felt strange to put these ideas that were in my head into a physical form there in front of me, what if I wanted to rewrite something and ruined those lovely pages? Through an ecourse I was doing with Leonie Dawson I encountered the most wonderfully cathartic exercise, paint a picture or write a poem, then scribble it out, draw over it, and recreate it. You realise it is okay to make a mess on those pages, it is fine to come back, experiment, not create a final pristine piece and it often leads to revising and even totally changing something. What ends up on a page does not have to be the final perfect creative piece, once I got out of this mindset and realised hang on just start again if needs be, I could not stop drawing! I even became super brave and covered more than one page! So, go and draw something anything, doodle a stick person. Now draw over them, paint over them, collage over them, tear it up and rearrange it and recreate. The aim is to get what is in your head into a physical form, not a final piece, but the technique of just expressing yourself.

So what about going public then …
Come and share on here, don’t forget the Eisteddfod competition http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewforum.php?f=29 , the forum Creative Bardic pursuits http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewforum.php?f=242 and more.
I mentioned having a blog, I use a free online site that is easy to use and update, it is a great way to share your work in the public domain. You can keep an air or anonymity if you want, use a different name and restrict your audience if you like, you can control where you share it and so on, as you gain confidence you can always adjust your settings and adapt. This is a simple yet effective way to ease yourself into sharing your creative pieces with the world.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WNBmVe_dHeI/U ... header.png

When sharing your creative works in the public eye, do not forget there will be criticism as mentioned earlier. Many times you will be hearing that inner voice saying ‘ knew I should not have done that, not making anything ever again … ever’ Welcome to the world of art and the various creative forms. Again, are they criticising? And, a huge aspect I struggled with was, will people ‘get’ my painting or writing? DO they need to? And is it not a case of the creative aspect posing a challenge to the audience, you do not want to make it too easy. Last year’s Mt Haemus lecture sticks in my mind with this ideas, Andy Letcher touches upon the idea of how we should not over explain things and trust the material, meaning will follow when we are ready. So thank people for their feedback, thank yourself for trusting in your creativity and move on.

A quick word from my limited experience, once you are out there sharing your creative works, and you have let your inner Bard out, make sure you put your name on it or a logo. Sadly people out there are always to happy to steal your drawings, poems, songs or dance ideas and it is heart breaking after all the time effort and soul you have put in.

I hope that this seminar has reached the inner Bard of everyone reading this, for those new to expressing their creative side, as you will now know, it is okay to take that risk, to take that first step and just be that physical form. There will be monsters to contend with, but that is fine.

So to conclude the seminar, a Triad:
Expressing yourself through art and creativity requires bravery, belief and balance
Bravery to make that first step and try, belief once you have taken that step the knowing that you can repeat this over and over again, and balance for you can now express yourself in many and varied forms as you can do anything you want to.
Blessings, Mistletoeoak

Please do share your creative masterpieces on here or you are very welcome to post on my social media sites that are on my blog http://www.mistletoeoak.blogspot.com

Here are just a few useful sites to help you explore your creative Druidic path:
http://www.janifranck.com free ecourse ‘unearth your creative side’ and #creativebeing monthly prompt for all forms be it writing, painting, singing and video logging.
https://www.facebook.com/PaganArtists?fref=ts Pagan Artists sharing their pieces
http://creativeeveryday.com/ monthly prompt for creating artworks
http://5preciousthings.blogspot.co.uk/ gorgeous nature inspired artwork
http://moonlightandhares.blogspot.co.uk/ nature inspired artworks
http://willworthingtonart.co.uk/ art

http://roselle-angwin.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://www.fire-in-the-head.co.uk/
http://www.paganmusic.co.uk Damh’s music, monthly Druidcast, poetry, songbook and more
http://www.wyldwoodradio.co.uk/ free Pagan radio, showcases all genres of music to suit all tastes
http://www.elementalheart.com/ drumming
http://www.prehistoricshamanism.com/drumming-tracks.php drumming tracks

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby Bracken » 02 Jul 2013, 15:24

What an inspirational seminar we've been given this month. Thank you, mistletoe oak. And I really enjoyed the blog and website round-up.

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby Oakapple » 02 Jul 2013, 15:36

Wow,what a lot of resources you have given us Mistletoeoak! That will keep us busy for a while.

At the moment I am busy with the knitting and patchwork, but those paints and pencils could be having an outing soon.

Nothing's forgotten......nothing is ever forgotten

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby Aphritha » 02 Jul 2013, 16:22

Thank you for this. Lately, I have been contemplating what it means to be a bard in today's world, and this helps highlight several areas that are available on the path.
I struggle with my creativity and trying to get it back, and I find my harshest critic is myself...sometimes by forcing myself to "do it anyways, even if I think it looks terrible" will make me feel better in the long run.

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby mistletoeoak » 03 Jul 2013, 13:39

Thank you for your lovely responses :)
Ooo knitting, now there i something I have not done for a bit and crochet, I am attempting to learn crochet via you tube videos!
Ah yes, what is a modern day Bard, that could be a seminar topic in itself, What is a Bard? http://www.druidry.org/events-projects/ ... us-lecture
As for getting back to the creative side, I really found Jani Franck was the key, have a look at www.janifranck.com so much inspiration, ideas and things to try. Loads of freebies and I just found it triggered me to have a go, stop being my own critic and just do it!
Whilst writing the seminar I noticed one area I know very little about was dance, I did a search and asked about but not much out there? Can anyone offer some wise words on dance and movement as a creative response, I would love to learn more and hear what people do.

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby stormarela » 10 Jul 2013, 01:12

Thank you for this! I have taken your advice and started sketching out my creativity tree!

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Re: July 2013 Seminar

Postby mistletoeoak » 10 Jul 2013, 20:24

Stormarela so pleased your having a go-enjoy!

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