Category Archives: Topics I Love

The Artist’s Way is Meditation in Action

“Water” from Kartika’s Art Journal

“I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.”

Julia Cameron

Making art is meditation in action

It’s my experience when I’m deeply committed to a creative act, whether writing, painting, arranging and decorating, designing a bracelet, or making a meal, it is meditation in action. I find a way to temporarily unplug from the “matrix.” I escape from my linear mind into the imagination where all things are possible. When we face an empty page or a blank canvas, we’re invited into the unmanifest where all things are suddenly possible. We tap into the right side of the brain.

That’s why The Artist’s Way speaks to me so deeply. I bought this book when it was first published in 1992. I skimmed it, and put it on a shelf. Then I picked it up again, after I started doing art a number of years ago. I knew I loved making art. I just needed to discover who I AM as an artist. And, reading this book inspired me to embrace that journey.

A blocked creative makes excuses for not follow the muse:

  • I’m too busy to paint, write, or learn an instrument, etc.
  • I can’t afford to be an artist; I need to make money.
  • Maybe next year I’ll have time to start my novel.
  • I’m too old to start playing piano.
  • Being creative is a luxury and I can’t afford the time.
  • I’ll look silly if I sign up for an art class.
  • I don’t have the talent.

The excuses are endless, and the years go by as we bury our dreams of living a creative life. Our lives may feel flat and we sense something is missing. On some level, we long to express ourselves creatively, yet we don’t give ourselves permission to follow through. Often, we let fear stop us–we fear we will discover we don’t have talent, that people will make fun of our efforts, and that somehow we will fail.

Julia Cameron offers a technique in The Artist’s Way to help us remove the blocks to our creative spirit and tap into the parts of our brain where inspiration resides:

The morning pages

When you wake up in the morning, go right for your pen and notebook, and without thinking, write three pages. Don’t judge yourself or your writing, don’t think of this as “art”, don’t correct your grammar or your spelling, don’t censor yourself. Do this every morning as a tool to get in touch with that part of the brain where insight and creativity reside. This process helps us to discover what is on our minds and in our hearts, learn about our fears, and get the creative juices flowing.

 “It is impossible to write morning pages for any extended period of time without coming into contact with an unexpected inner power.” Julia Cameron

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Maya Angelou Emailed Me Today

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.

Maya Angelou

Okay, she didn’t email this only to me, but I was still moved to see, “Dear Kartika.” The email came from info.barackobama from Maya Angelou into my email box. The email came from the heart and soul of Maya Angelou.

I would be honored to have Maya Angelou think of me as “dear.” I love Maya Angelou for many reasons – reading her memoir changed my life and the lives of millions of readers who have been inspired by her courage, talent, and the work she has done on behalf of women, minorities and so many people throughout the world who have no voice.

Maya is not afraid to “speak truth to power.” Because I’m a registered Democrat, she asked me to vote for Barack Obama. Here is her message:

Dear Kartika,

I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and six feet tall. I am writing to you as a representative of this great country — as an American.

It is your job to vote. It is your responsibility, your right, and your privilege. You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich.

But remember this: In an election, every voice is equally powerful — don’t underestimate your vote. Voting is the great equalizer.

Your vote might make the difference. Don’t fool around with this: You can vote early in Iowa, so find your early vote polling location and do it now.

Once you’ve done that, make sure your friends know exactly where they can vote early, too.

As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress.

My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.

I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time — I believed it would never happen within my lifetime.

I have never been happier to have been proven wrong.

And since President Barack Obama’s historic election, we’ve moved forward in courageous and beautiful ways. More students can afford college, and more families have access to affordable health insurance. Women have greater opportunities to get equal pay for equal work.

Yet as Rev. King wrote, “All progress is precarious.”

So don’t sit on the sidelines. Don’t hesitate. Don’t have any regrets. Vote.

You don’t have to wait until Election Day. Voting has already begun in Iowa — so go, rise up, and cast your ballot early:

http://my.barackobama.com/Find-Your-Early-Vote-Location

And make sure everyone in your life knows where they can vote early, too:

http://my.barackobama.com/Help-Your-Friends-Vote-Early

Your vote is not only important. It’s imperative.

Thank you,

Dr. Maya Angelou

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