As I grew up, I knew I wanted to create and build beauty, so I embarked on a design career and soon realised how I filled myself with prejudgments, dos and don’ts in the designers act of creating. At this point, the journey of self exploration began.
Conditioning of the creative process
It began when I discovered I had a deep fear of authority - teachers, managers, supervisors and the like. I came to discover this part within myself that said “creativity is this way, not that way” so I unconsciously learned at school and university a concept of how creativity was meant to be, feel and look, all in the name of aesthetics, and of course our beloved intellect.
At this point I also realised that creativity goes beyond beauty and proportions, so I went exploring for the elements of life that brought me joy. I moved out of the city into a place closer to nature, where I could get back in touch with mother Earth. I began to search deeper into art as an expression of self, finding a door wide open that slowly allowed me to regain my own creativity.
In 2015, I came across some hand woven mandalas in Argentina while travelling with my brother. At that time, I had given up my career in design. These mandalas opened in me a door of endless possibilities that I began exploring with a lot of curiosity. I was creating for the sake of joy as the mandalas allowed me to learn endless things about myself. My creativity was suddenly alive again.
I loved the depth and symbolism carried by woven mandalas or so called "Ojo de Dios" ("God’s eye" in Spanish). As I learned the technicality of weaving, I saw myself going back into those years where I was making crafts, cards, and all sort of things. I soon realised that these "God’s eyes" were teaching me on so many different levels. I did not know how the next mandala was going to look and this was so exciting. The first teaching was to go step by step and drop all expectations of how things should look. I slowly managed to put my thoughts to one side and focus on one knot at a time.
“What is” versus “what is meant to be”
I dived into exploring my creative process in a completely different way, with no methodology or trying to break through the preconceived "should" and "shouldn’t". I began weaving mandalas, enjoying and exploring colour combinations and seeing concentric figures expand from the centre outwards into all kind of possible geometries. Seeing how different they all were, I began to remember that there are infinite possibilities and that creativity is not a competition. I realised it was ignorant to believe that there is just one way to create something.
With this understanding, I slowly began to allow myself permission to be flexible.
I had been very rigid in my intellectual mind for a very long time. This manifested with tension in my physical body, and my shoulders and stomach would get very tense. In my mind, I began to notice these dense voices of self-criticism and high expectation. So I sat with these voices as I weaved and I would just weave and weave with so much joy and, well, tension, even though my mind wanted to plan the end result of this mandala and plan in advance every single step, I simply took deep breaths and repeated to myself: “step by step”.
By sitting with these contradictory emotions, I discovered that the colours I used were deeply related to my state of being at that moment. From frustration moving into surrender, fantastic colour combinations were emerging from the centre. With this, I began to create with awareness, by expressing through colour threads and knots in my state of being. The self-criticism did not matter and the end result was always fantastic.
While being creative I was embracing my qualities; the aspects of myself that are naturally doing. Using my hands and fettle with small objects, combining colours and feeling the story around each mandala, all came naturally to my creative process when weaving. On the other hand, I was being nourished by the symbology of these mandalas, which, for many native communities from Central and South America are not just decoration but rather a talisman offered in pilgrimages, seeking protection, health and wellbeing. When weaving a four point "God’s eye", one is weaving in a spiral like manner, connecting with the dynamics of creation itself.
Spiralling into the centre of the heart
Art without the “h” is just empty.
I had forgotten how to create from my heart. This was my missing piece. The nature of the heart has no expectations, past or future, it is simply present and expresses the core of our true essence. For centuries throughout many traditions around the world, the heart has been the considerate source of courage and wisdom. The human heart is the first functional organ to develop, it connect us to the very core of who we are from that first moment we came to creation in our mother's womb.
The courage to express
Everything is relative, there is no absolute.
My heart taught me there is no such a thing as “perfection”. This was just a concept in my mind based on social construct and learned behaviour. Only by going into the discomfort of feeling imperfect in what, how and why I do it, was I able to learn to be present with myself with love and acceptance, embracing what I create in whichever way it manifests. When I can relate to others without the self-generated feeling of being judged, then I can act from my creative centre consciously and receive others and their gifts with love an acceptance. Therefore there is no such thing as comparison, because I recognise myself in every human in our differences and uniqueness.
The sense of healing that arises while weaving and painting is manifested with warmth and joy in my chest, in my heart. It is like entering into a timeless space. Here, I nourish myself and feel strong and courageous to continue cultivating the “being” instead of just “doing” mechanically. Creating with awareness, I give myself the greatest gift of self-discovery and my curiosity is alive again, like a wondering child.
I put my hands on the fire for the heart’s wisdom. We live in a society where the doing is highly praised and the being is underestimated. Our earth is deeply wounded because we have forgotten our true centre and relationship with everything. It is time again to come back to the heart and use the intellect as its humble servant.
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