page in process, altered book art journal, Hali Karla

Sometimes, I consider just sharing finished paintings and art journal spreads here. (That one above is a peek at how the figure’s face seemed to change… with age, maybe. It’s a page in process.)

Sometimes, I start to believe I can only share posts that have been tended and edited in all the proper ways… tight, concise, with clear purpose or poetic wit, and no extraneous elements.

Sometimes, I even start to think I have to pull out some branding mission checklist, or creative biz plan, or lists of how-I-serve and who-is-my-tribe to make sure every single post makes sense to anyone who stops by, and that it has a clear call-to-action, of course. If a post or image doesn’t meet the criteria of one core message, it gets the axe, right?

I don’t know about all that – but I do know after years of business and build-your-tribe courses, it can cause paralysis in sharing if you’re not careful.

Luckily, there’s another part of me that eventually remembers to call bullshit on all of that self-censoring and over-dosing on checking-in, in the name of freedom and honest process… and because of this belief I have in the organic gifts, discernment and integrity of people – real people, vulnerable, creative and beautifully complex people with multitudes of motivations and important stories that evolve in the telling over time.

When it comes right down to it, there’s this part of me that knows my kind of people are inclusive and curious, tending to dig deeper than a post or two, or a quick seven second glance at a site.

Anyone that clicks away after a few seconds here – well, I’m happy to let them go. My process and what I post is more like sitting down for a shared meal, full of flavors, things to ponder, and finding ways to express to one another the places where we connect or see things differently… and if there isn’t time for that, well, I get it. No hard feelings – because most of my offerings probably aren’t for you anyhow. Come back to enjoy the art (if you do) or better yet, when you can stay for a cuppa or a course and we can get to know one another – I’ll be here, doing my thing and trying to keep it real.

I won’t be building an empire for everyone who stops by to find a quick false sense of home. Instead, I’ll be tending the garden or sipping on tea at the table in my cozy little hut, moving color and words and sharing [my] truth as I see it that day… more than happy to witness you as you look around, remember and tend the home within [your world] through any mutual resonance between us.

My truest intentions here, in this online studio/journal, come from the ARTIST in me. The Rebel – a bit introverted, yes, but rebellious and out-reaching nonetheless.

And while I am gratefully blessed to be financially supported by the amazing connections made through this space, I’m still not convinced that the psychological ideas behind keeping a blog, marketing, and the [illusion of] popularity it can bring, are necessarily the best and only values to apply if you expect to ‘get somewhere,’ serve others or find/grow your tribe in a way that lasts over time. They might make numbers rise, but not richness – and that’s what I have my arrow aimed at.

I’m not after six figures [gasp] or starting movements of followers who hang on my every word [that can actually get a little creepy] – just the magic junction of integrity, peace of mind, true connection and creative energy.

Don’t get me wrong – it is certainly fascinating that all of us can be so easily influenced by such tried-and-proven tactics of drawing in a crowd, creating a sense of fear or need, and flying in with an answer. But there’s a detriment involved when a creative person let’s the scales tip too far that way… not the least of which might be isolating and stifling to the true creative spirit and lacking in a holistic sense of self – one who changes and grows, needs space to process, makes mistakes and heightens awareness by asking questions (not supplying answers).

(I recognize that this is particularly personal for artist and healer entrepreneurs, and not always the same dynamic for a person who is, say, trying to increase exposure to sell planners or something)

I want intimacy. Dynamic truth-telling in image and word. Collective energy with others who sense their own homecoming inside themselves, for the lives and relationships they are keeping and creating.

Like most of us, I just want to be myself, in my raw, honest and imperfect process without the analytics and five year plans – and for that to be OK. For that to be enough to provide for a simple life. I’m here, writing this, to remind us that IT IS.

If we – as some of us are – are truly dreaming of a world that nurtures and fertilizes creativity, that can sustainably support all people sharing their gifts and skills, while actually bringing back that sense of home and community that so many hunger for, then I tend to think we have to dare to stand strong and forge new paths of connecting that don’t unnecessarily censor our life from our work in the world, or our process and growth from our offerings.

At the very least, we can get curious about the ways we do this to ourselves… and what kind of world we are creating or hindering with that choice. Because like it or not, it is all connected by that one constant thread… you.

See, there are others like me, who like to know the grit with the shine, the dark with the light, the truth of the people and process behind the practices they keep, share and invite others to employ, even online. Maybe especially online. Others who want to know the artist AND the art, the healer and the healing work. The story as it is being written (because there is no end to skip to!). Others that see art as a process. A way of life. Not an end or an outcome or product, or diluted for a paycheck, or even a luxury or an aspiration for later on… but a way.

There is a whole lot of image projection online – a direct result of our western culture and values, I guess – so we can’t claim to be separate from it necessarily. I do it, you do it, we all do it… tra la la la la.

And I guess what I hope is that we all question this for ourselves. Why we share what we do… and what frameworks we’re applying, filters we are censoring ourselves with or guidelines we think we have to adhere to. Are we allowing ourselves to be true to the moment, with quarkiness and room to grow? How can we let ourselves flow and give, where are we holding back (and why)?

There’s no particularly right or wrong way with this… but if you, like me, are seeking authentic connection in this life… well, you know it when you’re in its presence, don’t you? Like looking in someone’s eyes, soul to soul. Watching them grow and soften in a moment right before your eyes, because you took the time to see them, really see them – and they let you in, and when they realized that was safe, they let their guard down.

I want to not forget to share the truth of my process and inquiry as part of the story I am writing in this world. Sure, some things won’t make the cut for important reasons, and some things will take time to bring out into the light, other things won’t make sense to everyone, but I hope to not become stingy, superficial or rigid… or too choreographed as I offer glimpses of this journey from my perspective.

If you share online, I hope to get an honest glimpse of you, too – showing up, free and brave and in love with the questions and your life as art, and your art as life – with consciousness about your holistic creative process as a way of being true, finding joy and meaning, and strengthening the connections that matter… for depth and the honor of witness, not quantity.

Because this life is not a luxury. It is a great mystery of movement and energy, and if our art helps us make sense of it all – well, that art might help someone else who is coming home to their inner life, as well.

Art is never a luxury
Life has an inside as well as an outside. Consumer culture directs all resources and attention to life on the outside. What happens to the inner life? Art is never a luxury because it stimulates and responds to the inner life. We are badly out of balance.
I don’t think of art / creativity as a substitute for anything else. I see it as a powerful expression of our humanity – and on the side of humanity under threat.
If we say art is a luxury, we might as well say that being human is a luxury.

Jeanette Winterson

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