Change, the only constant. This idea was first recorded by the Ionian Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (born around 535 BC).
Creative practice certainly involves change – making things different from their original forms, putting forth new combinations that change the viewer’s perception of each element, sometimes changing the fundamental nature of the medium – malleable clay fired to hardness, fabric dyed to difference, a blank page filled with new thoughts. Change also means thinking about time, whether change is instant or gradual.
However, in terms of a creative practice and reclaiming your creative thinking, I was considering a more metaphorical aspect of change than the idea of physical alteration. The desire to change one’s circumstances most likely comes from dissatisfaction with the current situation. We want more of something, less of something else. The desire to change means we will make a change in action. We will have to DO something differently, to get different results. After all, the change that comes from doing nothing is entropy, the inexorable movement towards chaos that is evident in every studio when we haven’t cleaned up. We want to change to improve ourselves or our lives.
Here are Five Questions to consider about Change.
- Why do I want to change?
Is the desire for difference the result of a short term circumstance, a mood, a temporary event, or is it a more fundamental urge? We have seasons in our life. Maybe the desire to change comes from wanting to restore the status quo after external changes. Maybe external changes have finally facilitated possibilities.
2. What will be the results? What do I gain? What do I lose? How do I measure? How can I even predict the outcome?
I’m a bit of a goal oriented person. I like having a sequence of goals that are achievable, measurable and have a deadline if at all possible. The more specific your change is – the more it is quantified and written down – the clearer the action steps to get there become. “Do more art” is too fuzzy for me, until I write down “create a plan for monthly creative projects where I make a specific number of things in this or that medium”. You can follow my “A Month of….” projects on my Iggy Jingles Crafts blog.
Then again, your goal (desired change) might be to become more spontaneous in your life. How do your change your surroundings and environment to facilitate that?
3. How will my change affect others?
This might be unpredictable. I recommend trying to keep the idea of “positive intent” in mind. (In the absence of an actually abusive situation) your spouse or friends might appear to be reacting negatively only because ANY change is disorienting, rather than because they disapprove of your specific new arts practice, morning routine, furniture rearrangement or new circle of associates. I like to think that when they start seeing your increased joy, they’ll come around.
Ask for help, invite participation, explain the end goal. Or at least try and warn them.
4. How long will it take?
Maybe a day, maybe a lifetime. Maybe the crucial change inside your heart and mind has already begun.
5. What if it’s a disaster? What about revolution?
Not every change takes hold or lasts. Not every change has to, or should. Most of the time, especially in creative practice, it’s OK for things not to work out. It is definitely fine for some changes to be temporary, for ideas to be explored then go on hold. Sure sometimes we end up with a plethora of art supplies (aka “stash”) that we will or won’t return to, that we will or won’t sell, that we will or won’t hide under the bed or in back of the closet. (I prefer to keep my stash visible as a guilt inducing inspiring reminder of what I have.)
Only you can know how risk averse or not you are. If you buy it, the money is gone whether it works out well or not – and that applies to everything including your education. Time too is used when it is spent, and you only notice how much of it you had when you look back.
Reframe disaster as learning experiences.
Revolution is the act of returning. It is revolutionary to return to the seeking, excited, creative thinker of childhood if at all possible. Remember Picasso – “Every child is an artist. The trick is to remain one when you grow up.”
Change our thoughts – change our words – change our world.
What changes do you yearn for? What is your next action step towards your new reality? If you want to discuss change, come and join my Facebook group, and talk about it.