art journal, Hali Karla

It’s been tricky to navigate my practice lately. Resistance has been thick – to writing, painting, walking in my beloved woods… to most things that usually center and level my energy.

It’s been feeling more like pulling limbs out of mud and sloshing through swamplands the past few weeks – just to get going, keep going. I welcome the wisdom in this truth… so I choose to rest more and mantra, gentle, gentle, gentle and breathe. It has been a full year of new things – this slow-down in the studio of life feels essential and true.

That said, I still show up – because I know how easy it is for me to let the slow-down become a rabbit hole of stuck. Even doing a little, being with my practices in intention and minimal effort, still makes me feel better for the long-term than if I just abandon them completely.

art journal detail, Hali Karla

It always feels solitary when it gets like this, though. Most artists I know feel this way at some point or other. There is a sort of discomfort stirring inside that needs a different kind of presence. It asks sometimes for a complete stop for awhile, a total release from the overflow of creative pouring.

Or sometimes – like for me now – it asks for less making, less effort, less expectation… at a different pace, for more grounding in what-Is. It is an invitation to just sit by an internal fire that my spirit needs to feel, wholly. Intentionally. Ritualistically.

I know by now that it is part of a cycle to my creative process, in art and life… a transition between gestate and surge. A respite and warming-up for the next season. It is the deep sleep just before rising again, so sweet – so rich with both Great Mystery and lucid becoming.

art journal, Hali Karla

In these strange stretches in my creative cycle, it is the little messages throughout the day that feel most significant as I navigate the whole truth of my process and experience. I let the little things become anchors to the magic – and some days the noticing is all I have to give: it is enough.

Like how those rice-paper butterflies flew out of a folder of scraps, just as I walked by this open journal spread on the studio table… landing on the page, inviting me to notice and play, to connect the dots of my story, and illuminating themselves as symbolic representations of those who bring me hope, love, and wisdom, even when I sometimes look away for awhile, staring off into the soil, at the seeds my muse has been planting all along.

art journal, Hali Karla

Those butterflies are sixteen years old. I made hundreds of them in college printmaking, and have used them in multiple art installations, photo shoots, on cards over the years – even in our wedding invitations… and I still have a few that make an appearance from time to time, just like these two… to remind me of the messy promise of quiet growth within, the rising of new forms and the vision one can only imagine before taking flight.

 

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