The Creative Journey: Curiosity & Wonder
Cultivate Curiosity and Caress Wonder
An artist… must actively caress wonder: for fascination, like the desire to play, can be eradicated by the rigors of living. – Eric Maisel
When was the last time you opened yourself to “caress” wonder? A couple of weeks ago I found myself marveling at the gorgeousness of the Japanese gardens in Portland. At each turn in the path I found myself drawn toward some fabulous combination of moss, water and stone. The fat golden koi swimming under the wooden bridge; the dew glistening on the bare branches of the cherry trees; the circular patterns of raked sand; I was delighted and awed by the natural beauty and the carefully contrived simplicity that I discovered as I explored the gardens. I felt a tingle of excitement as if there was some kind of magic afoot. I felt my sense of wonder activated and energized.
With our culture of busyness it can be challenging to find ourselves in the state of fascination that feeds our creative imagination unless we consciously cultivate a practice of curiosity. That may require us to physically slow down and make way for our playful spirit to emerge. The best way I have found to connect with my playfulness and sense of wonder is to turn off my computer and go outside. Being outside and adopting a childlike curiosity helps me to relax and allow my natural wisdom to bubble up. You may just want to sit and listen to bird song or you may opt for making mud pies. Find a place where you can open your senses and become fully aware of the natural world around you. A few minutes of cloud watching can go a long way in renewing your power of imagination and ability to see connections.
Another way that you can engage your imagination and cultivate your curiosity is to imagine a visit with a being from outer-space who doesn’t know anything about the creative activity that you are currently pursuing. Have fun inventing all of the details of this space traveler until you have a clear picture in your mind. Then have a conversation with this celestial being that has a tremendous curiosity about what you are doing. Come up with possible questions they might ask you about your work and have fun sharing about your inspiration, your process, and your materials. Don’t forget to listen carefully to what comes up in your interaction. You might be surprised!
Get in the habit of wondering and asking questions like “What if….?” This could look something like: What would happen if I change/do/don’t do/add etc.? If you adopt a playful attitude you open yourself up to exploring many different possibilities including the ones that we assume are not even doable. When your exploration feels like play you are relaxed and engaged and that’s when you discover the “Aha” that moves you into new territory in your art making.
I recently moved from Santa Barbara, Ca. to Vancouver, Washington. Going from the high desert to the lush forest has given me a chance to surround myself with a completely different environment. I’m in constant awe at the green ferns, moss, vines, and pines that I see as I wander around the Columbia Gorge area. You don’t have to move to another state to engage your sense of wonder but putting yourself into new situations and taking on a curious attitude can stimulate your imaginative, intuitive center and turn on your connection sensors. Where can you go to play, explore, and discover something fascinating?
Brecia Kralovic-Logan, published in “Silkworm” Spring 2016