Just show up – this week’s creative mantra

Hi everybody, how’s it going? I hope you all aren’t too burned out on holiday stuff and that you’re getting some solitude and quiet amidst all the chaos. It’s actually been fairly mellow for me this year except for unexpected some car repairs this last weekend. I’m really grateful for everyone who helped me with that because I wouldn’t have made it through the situation myself.

This week’s mantra is something I need right now too. You teach best what you need to learn yourself, right?

So recently the gallery that sells my mandala art cards had its annual Christmas show/party and I just really didn’t want to go, for several reasons, including the snowy roads and subzero temps that night. But I’d promised to go and to bring a plate of cookies, and I really hate backing out on promises if I don’t have to.


I’d just been reading in this book that has really helped me get through some challenges lately, called The Art of Resilience, by Carol Orsborn. It was a story about how she was resisting joining her family’s fun in the swimming pool and hot tub because she was in a really bad mood, I think it had something to do with losing her job and being anxious and worried about that. Her husband told her it was ok to bring her bad mood into the hot tub, and so she did, and ended up forgetting her troubles for a while and enjoying herself. Which was probably exactly what she needed.

Inspired by that, I got dressed up and decided to just bring my cookies and bad mood to the gallery, and just try to be present with all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, and see what happened. You can guess what happened right? After a little while I was chatting with a friend about how to get through the creative block I was struggling with, and enjoying some wine and chocolate treats, (those always make me feel better) and feeling a little less cranky. None of my challenges were resolved and my bad mood was still hanging around in a fine mist, but I also managed to enjoy the show and the company, and left feeling a little lighter and happier.

So…just show up. To the blank page or screen, the empty canvas, the gallery show you don’t want to go to, the dance floor. Bring your bad attitude, your exhaustion, your sore muscles, all those unresolved challenges and problems and issues you’re dealing with, all those longings that keep you up at night. That emotional baggage that is still too big to be a carry on. Show up with your doubt and your crankiness and your bogus excuses. Leave a little room for grace, or for the Buddhist void of no-thing-ness. Just show up with your whole entire self – the good, the bad, the ugly, the terrified, the what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here?


Maybe the magic will happen. Maybe it won’t. Maybe all you’ll do is stare at that canvas for a while and it’ll just keep crouching there against the wall, stubbornly taunting you with its emptiness, its silence. But what I do know, what I can guarantee you, is that if you keep showing up, there will eventually be some magic. A breakthrough. A new idea. The urge to finish the piece, finally. Paint strokes that start to look like something. A friend who empathizes with your writer’s block.

Even when you think you’re not doing anything creative at all, you are in fact creating a space for your own particular artistic magic to happen, by just showing up, over and over and over again.

And if I ever see you at a gallery show, looking like it’s the last place you wanna be at that moment, brushing the snow off your hair, I’ll offer you a glass of wine and a smile and congratulate you for being there, for just being there in all your cranky, pissed-off, tired, but still present, glory.


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4 thoughts on “Just show up – this week’s creative mantra

  1. I love what you got from the moment and thank you for sharing and reminding us all that it’s okay to show up with the imperfect. (((hugs)))

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