The highest form of art-making is a practice of listening to and responding to who we are at the deepest level. The practice of paying attention and responding to what is deeper must be developed and honed. Here are nine elements of practice that can serve as a starting place:
- Simplicity–Able to be completed.
- Regularity–To make work regularly. This allows us to build and maintain the “muscle” of staying connected to the voice within. A regular connection will ensure that one’s inner voice does not become a stranger.
- Solemnity–To take one’s voice seriously and to respect one’s connection with the greater universe. Yet we must do so while also holding our work and ourselves lightly.
- Intensity–To be full present.
- Ceremony–To treat all aspects of art-making with respect and care. During a Japanese tea ceremony every gesture of serving is done fully and beautifully, not just the meal itself. So we can create ceremony in putting out material and putting them back, not just in the making itself. It is all part of the “dance.”
- Joy–Connecting to our deepest inner satisfaction. This comes from doing what our bodies crave in response to who we are intrinsically.
- Discipline–” Discipline: To be a disciple of oneself.” ~ Bev Down. This is my favorite definition of discipline. Even if one feels torn away or distracted, discipline means bringing oneself back to the commitment to self and voice.
- Self-trust–To trust that the voice inside is authentic and comes from a sacred place. This voice says: “I am responding because I am a part of a sacred universe. Let’s do our best.”
- Primacy–To get clear on one’s priorities and commit to the one(s) that take primacy.
“Practice” is an appropriate word. One of its definitions is “repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.” Skill and proficiency are not a destination, but a way of being.