Tag Archives: creativity

Searching in the age of the internet 

Last night I sat opposite my therapist lamenting the days where I used ‘in-between time’, creatively. Where I used space in a way that saw me

…making jewellery my mum still affectionately wears

…painting images from thin air

…composing symphonies I’d try to articulate on the family piano

…reading in a way I’d miss outside sounds, too deeply immersed in the world I was creating between words.

Lately I’ve been desperately searching for ‘next’ meaning. I say next because I have had purpose before; but at 37 I am ready for something new. I am hungry.

Where I have turned to craft for searching in the past I now turn, like so many, to the internet. Sometimes two devices at a time. The internet is, after all, for searching isn’t it?

But for the first time in my life I’m not finding any solutions.

In the age where we have an overwhelming amount of sources to seek ‘answers’, this seems an almost impossibility. But never have I felt more incapable, more unsure and more anxious.

Hearing writer Mark Manson talk a couple of months ago at the Melbourne Town Hall I was reminded about the stress choice puts on our brain. Manson talked about experiments done …with cereal boxes.

Two cereal boxes. No stress. Ten cereal boxes. Anxiety.

Where it is considered ‘lucky’ if you are in the privileged position of having choice, our brains, in contrast, feel great pressure; and so when I turn to google for an answer say to a ‘next job’ question, I suddenly find myself with twenty tabs open that might stretch from ‘next job’ to …next travel opportunity, next retail therapy adrenaline rush, next social exorcism, and finally, next movie on Netflix.

Today I’m wondering…

What did I find without a phone? Without a laptop? Without the internet?

Sometimes, more questions.

Sometimes, deeper ones.

Sometimes

great knowing.

This ‘knowing’ wasn’t necessarily an answer in the way that we regard ‘answers’ in 2017. It wasn’t an immediate fix (in the form of a momentary high), a presumption that everything is black or white or that success would be born of it in a way that would see me known and recognised by many.

It was that ‘elemental’ feeling. The one Sir Ken Robinson talks about. Where I am in something that is intrinsically me. In and being and doing. Creating.

And there was simultaneous peace in that experience and great energy.

And that energy …used to carry me over into the ‘next thing’.

In my mind now I am trying to cultivate that feeling so I can investigate it more. I can sense that it’s about being present, about listening and about commitment. To one thing. Not twenty tabs.

In Krista Tippet’s ‘On Being’ podcast , where she interviews philosopher and poet John O’Donahue, she asks

‘…are we less capable of love and commitment and relationship in a mature sense, in our time than previous generations were? Or is this just a human dilemma that has different details in our time?

MR. O’DONOHUE: That’s a very interesting question. I don’t think we’re less capable at all. I think we’re more unpracticed at it and therefore more desperate for it. And I think it’s a matter of attention really, just attention.

In doing one thing I am attending to it. I am committed to it but not in a way that word seems to strike fear into the souls of many these days (those swiping left and right on Tinder, buying the next phone when there’s nothing wrong with the old one)… but intimately devoting myself to it, so I know it, so I am faithful to it.

I laugh here because I wonder if I too need to explain what I mean by faithful here. I certainly don’t mean to conjure up any notion of religion. I mean to imply –  ‘true’ – in an affectionate way, and in a way that doesn’t require any effort or sense of obligation.

In looking into the etymology of the word attention I find that it stems from the late 14th century meaning ‘ a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic’. It is the ‘giving’ and ‘active’ part I am so deeply excited by. Bubbling thinking to the words I used earlier – ‘energy’ and ‘peace’. For giving, hands over something. An exhalation. A kneeling. Peace.

And ‘active’ implies action. Doing something. Creating. Which of course we need and use energy to do.

So answers can be found in the space between letting go and creativity. Between emptiness and fullness. The space I think here is the important part as our brains can have some time to file here. To see if an answer can be created from all the information we already have at our disposal. Information that is personal to us – information gathered by our own personal histories, our own experience.

Online answers should perhaps only be looked for after one has spent time and space with oneself. When one has found personal knowing in intimacy.

This moment, in intimacy, I found that I need a long walk in nature.

without my phone.

 

By Kate Ellis.

 

Kate Ellis is a Writer, Poet, Drama Coach for television and film actors and a poetry, drama and literacy teacher to primary and secondary school students at a progressive independent Primary and Secondary school in Victoria’s Eastern Suburbs. Residing in Melbourne but working across Australia, Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Sociology (UNSW), a Performance degree (Nepean) and a Masters in Education (University of Melbourne).

www.kateelliscoaching.com

 

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Untitled

* if you ever need help, dial 000. Don’t be a victim for too long. Stand tall. It’s unfair but it’s not your stuff. Speak up. Say no. Call people out on their behaviour. With empathy , of course, know people hold within them their own darkness. But that darkness should never be inflicted on someone else. I urge everyone to sort out their own shit so we don’t inflict it on other people. 

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Pearl 

I wish I did not write about love. 

I wish I had not let them brand me. 

If I am on the market 

How will people know if this subject 

is the only way I’m in print?
I wish I did not write about nature

Specifically how it makes my ovaries blossom. 

If I am only fertile these few more years

All ready engraved in pollen 

How will anything other than sticky stamen penetrate? 
I wish I did not write about Venus. 

She gives away my distance, timing and rotation. 

If I am not pulled by internet routers 

Rather

Turned out from churning oceans

Pearl soaked

How will I find connection? 
I wish I did not write about you. 

You 

who have folded language over in the mouth so it

Curses in hisses of spit and sputum. 

If I am to share saliva again

How can I turn my tongue over? 
I wish I had not written.

Pen and paper has given me away. 

Perhaps though in ink 

You could endorse this woman’s indentations. 

I am simply blotched 

Stamped 

Bleeding about the page like the rest of you. 
Press me to your adjoining pages 

I will etch in so you read me well. 

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The Resistance

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Simple Forms

‘Simple forms harbor secrets beyond our comprehension. We project onto them an enigma, a symbol of some kind or a message that needs deciphering’. From the Simple Forms exhibition, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

When I began writing this blog it was to explore more viscerally and consciously my wonders . To access more that ‘oh!’ moment upon seeing something that causes wonder, and in doing so, find the ‘meant’ (the meaning).

It has been awhile since I have written a comment piece or poem here. Life has been speeding along…work, relationships, family. But on a recent trip to Japan with my partner I realised how much I missed this space as much as I began opening my eyes to things outside the above.

A wonder-full thing it is when it appears that the universe is conspiring to help you find what it and you knows has been missing. Upon first arriving in Tokyo three weeks ago my partner and I stumbled across an exhibition in entitled, Simple Forms: Contemplating Beauty. This was to be one of many encounters I had overseas that reminded me to delve into the poetry of the everyday. A pebble. Light. Air.

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As the quote above suggests, on simple things we give meaning. As if an ‘enigma’, we decide something simple cannot only be as it is, it must mean more. In an art gallery this is a typical assumption – a straight line painted on a coloured surface must stand for mans linear trajectory. Or is it phallic? Or could it be that the artist did a lot of road trips and is reminiscing about the mesmerising white line along the concrete road he drove upon.

Get my drift?

The ‘simple form’ takes on whatever meaning you give it. It takes place in the relation between the sum of things you are (your history, how you feel at that moment, perhaps even the environment/ conditions in which you are experiencing the form) and the thing itself. The picture above for instance, a piece you could view at the exhibition… I was exhausted when I sat down to watch it move with the air blowing from underneath it. I only knew I was however when I saw this piece and so I thought that the artist must have meant for people to relax when they saw the work. It was like breathing.

All through my trip I decoded the enigma of the simple forms Japan presented me. They all told me similar things funnily enough – the creative energy that the moon can bring, the hum underneath stillness (I heard it as if for the first time then realised it was always there I had just forgotten to listen!), the whispering of trees and streams…

My break from writing was not because I had not been creative, far from it in my line of work as a drama and literacy teacher, but because I had not given time to simple forms. To relationships between myself and beauty.

And beauty, truly in the eye of the beholder, sends the kinds of messages that fuel creativity.

x Kate

 

 

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How to exorcise your wonder.meant

‘The mind may think, but the body speaks’. Lorna Marshall.

I’ve had a series of conversations with someone recently about the blessings and cursings of the mind. Though wonderful in many ways to be a ‘thinker’, both of us agreed that without exorcise, the mind achieves no balance.

An exorcism is characterised by the act of driving out an evil spirit from the body. Lucky for us, gone are the days that desire and sex are considered evil, but still the act is a very necessary one. Beyond making babies, dancing passionately with another releases sweat, releases hormones, releases breath and gives our bodies a chance to voice and practice, to ‘drive out’, the frustrations of the mind. We act out what our mind would have no chance resolving on its own.

An exorcism does not of course have to be performed through sex. But to provide balance to us thinkers, I believe something needs to be physically done. Dancing, running, swimming, yoga; getting out into the world, into nature, to cafes and bars for tea, drinks and conversations with friends; or going out to see a film that is so mind-less your brain gets to take a break. These acts exercise our bodies and therefore exorcise our minds.

The necessity of exorcising the mind is a thought and practice I teach many of my acting students and implore many of my artist friends to do. Many of these wonder-full souls often wrestle with the widely held idea that to be a creative person you need to know darkness (those devils and demons the word exorcism would have us think about), that artists are tortured souls, that their depth of pain is what helps them write music, poetry, act, paint or dance. But I don’t believe this at all. I believe that to be creative you need only have a depth of feeling, a sensitivity to the world and that this sensitivity can be found and expressed in joy as much as sorrow, anger, pain and grief.

Expression in the key word here and teamed with a healthy exorcism one’s thoughts find connection, a place and a purpose beyond the inner walls of our skulls.

I think of it a little like a scary movie, one who’s producers know that their audiences minds and imaginations will always create something far scarier than they can. So they rarely, if ever, actually show you the monster. Similarly if you don’t ‘drive out’ the demon or delights of the mind, give it form in the outside world, it’s pains can’t be managed nor ever confronted and its joys can’t be played with and delighted in.

Wonder. Meant …that exorcising can be fun.

Wonder. Meant …that the mind and body can be great lovers.

x Kate

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