Mary Oliver’s Counterintuitive Advice for Artists and Creatives
I’m extremely grateful to be HERE in your inbox and I dream that what you find here encourages and uplifts you.
Here are 5 things I’m Extremely KEEN on this week!
1. Mary Oliver Had Her Priorities Right.
(me: attempting to take notes on my Boundary Book ‘launch ideas’ , amongst the chaos, the book is coming in 2024!)
My office is currently filled with a bunch of beach themed decor from Goodwill (from my kid’s grad party this summer), my car is v. grungy with small piles of beach sand in the floors, sticky things in the cup holders (caked with sand + old coins) and paint supplies are rolling around, unsecured in the backseat.
My art studio has a “destroyed” sort of vibe….don’t get me wrong- I can get in there and work but it’s not pretty.
These sorts of things used to be the cause of PANIC + shame for me…as in, “What’s wrong with me!” or “I need to punish myself and work all weekend long to fix this”.
Now, as a mature, loving + IRREPRESSIBLE woman with ADHD, I now have compassion for my messes and myself. I can see that all of this chaos is simply becauseI was not home much for the last three months ( more on that later in my Boundaries book!).
I would also remind myself that messes are also the basis for most creative work. It’s always MESSIEST before the dawn.
Before you know what chapters the book you’re writing contains, you have to scribble all of your ideas down. Every painting goes through a “messy middle” phase.
I used to imagine that “successful” creatives are organized. But, keeping house (like oil changes, changing sheets, raking leaves and making dinner) is, as Mary Oliver teaches us, is “ordinary” work…….
Here’s what poet Mary Oliver has to say about housekeeping…AKA….”ordinary” work….
“It is six A.M., and I am working. I am absentminded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes flat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt.
My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive. If I have a meeting with you at three o’clock, rejoice if I am late. Rejoice even more if I do not arrive at all………In creative work [we] are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute the ordinary. It is, simply, something else. Its labor requires a different outlook — a different set of priorities.”
I’ll tell you what’s EXTRAORDINARY…..and CRITICAL to my soul’s existence….
Making my art…
Writing in my SHINE journal..(a place just for me to capture images and thoughts.
Calling my sister or dear friend….
Snuggling with and/or listening to my partner….
Taking care of myself by eating healthy foods, walking + taking naps
How can I be LOYAL to these precious things- to getting near the angels and getting “stained” with LIGHT?
What are your most precious priorities…your creative projects, your kids, your most intimate relationships? Are they getting lost in the organizing, cleaning, DO-ING?
Of course, ordinary stuff needs to get done. My approach to these ordinary labors is this:
“Sarah set a timer for ten minutes and do what you can. Little by little things will be restored!” I have also been known to hire a responsible kid to be my body double as I do a deep reorginazation.
What would be a supportive shift you could make?
Having a tidy and gleaming home feels amazing and I will get there again….AND it will also be fleeting!:)
2. Encouraging Advice from An Artist: If you are a visual artist and longing to sell more work and get gallery representation, This interview with artist Betty Franks is informative + inspiring.
3. Giving A F&ck About What You WEAR Pays Off! This month we are practicing finding our “authentic style” in our year around creative community SHINE. This is not about the vanity (though that can be fun too!) but about the SANITY– the boost in mood that feeling great about your style can deliver!. This is DOPAMINE DRESSING.
When I FEEL GOOD, I tend to think nicer things about myself! I tend to be nicer to others too. I like to refer to my Pinerest FFEEL GOOD fashion board when I need ideas and then I shop my own closet—choosing creativity over consumption!
4. This Artists’s Work Gives Me Life! I had to celebrate Ashley Longshore in my SHIINE journal last week. Her work is so cheeky, playful and EMPOWERING….I hope you enjoy!
“I go hard, I’m like a wildfire every day!”
5. Quote I’m Digging:
“The surrogate to connection is control.”
– David Liberman
Thought provoking, no?
As always, you can schedule vibe-raising divinations, life- coaching, and shamanic healing/mentoring HERE.
This email is reader supported. This one was typed upstairs in my untidy office despite the shouting voices to “clean this up!”…as YOU are one of my sacred priorities dear reader!
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