Creativity for the Rest of Us

Letting Go of the Precious Parts

precious

In a conversation in my women’s circle we were exploring our various issues with clutter. The need to clear out the old to make room for the new, to simplify in order to find clarity, and to create space in the day for silence and reflection are familiar topics.

I have written about this before. What I found as we continued deeper into the conversation was a pocket that I was still protecting. My precious part when it comes to clearing clutter? Art supplies.

Where I discovered I’m still attached are old pockets of creativity that have some emotional history I haven’t been ready to let go of.

  • Boxes of broken plates and ceramics
  • Bins of wood
  • Buttons and wire
  • Fabric and ribbon
  • Old books

You could say each of these represent what they call in the art world a “period” of creative exploration where I experienced intense, focused attention in a particular medium for a period of time – whether a day, a weekend or couple of years. The birdhouse period, the mosaic period, the soul doll period, garden haiku period.

As many times as I’ve cleared out my art room and garage, these are the things I’ve held onto because you just never know… I may come back to them someday.

The truth is some of these projects were over a decade ago or longer. As I get honest with myself, I know I will not be going back to them. I hang onto them because they represent a pleasurable experience, a time of flow and intense creativity that I want to be reminded of and am attached to as a reference point.

I originally learned this from my dear painting teacher, Barbara Clark, who would often nudge us to let go of the precious part. That part of the piece – a line, form, or color – that we are attached to and really like but that is preventing the painting as a whole from working. Countless times it was letting go of the precious part that allowed the rest of the piece to come together.

This is a wonderful metaphor for creating the space for who we are becoming.

For those of us desiring to expand and deepen personally in our work and service – whatever the medium or domain – we are called now to let go of our attachments to the precious parts. The familiar ways of operating, formulaic processes, old ideas, and the need to have it all together and presentable are not what will support our evolution and unfolding into new ways of being, leading, working, and relating to one another.

It all comes back to trust – yet again. Letting go of the old before the new is fully formed. Being open to an outcome that we cannot predict. Befriending the mystery of the unknown. Loving myself enough to allow what wants to come through me to emerge.

What is the precious part that you will let go of to make room for the new?

 

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One Response to “Letting Go of the Precious Parts”

  1. Kate Helber says:

    Mary,

    This is so beautiful. And yes, so much of it is holding the pleasurable memory of a time, not so much a use for my current needs.

    I was out weeding today with my son and he said – wow, this feels so good to pull the dead stuff out from underneath so new things can grow, breathe, have air. I believe I hear this same thing in your writing, remove the mulch from underneath. Some of it is good for the soil, and some of it is just preventing the new growth.

    Much love and gratitude.

    Kate

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