The Mights that Live in Birds’ Noses

[This is a guest post from the mighty and magical Megg Genge]

I have a friend who once had a boyfriend whose whole life was devoted to the study of the mites that live in the noses of birds (I know there is a lot in that sentence, digest it slowly.) We teased her about it when they were together but the truth of the matter was that he loved his job.  When he was focused on those mites he was happy.

This morning my husband and I were talking about why we were both so stressed out and he said, “What are our bird mites?”  I have to admit I didn’t know what he was talking about at first.  “Maybe we are trying to be and do too many things.  What is the one thing that we believe in enough to devote our life to?”  

Although choosing one thing seems limiting on the surface, if I look at my successful friends I see now that the moment they chose their one thing to focus on was the moment their lives began to expand. You know the old cliché about never seeing a certain kind of car on the road until you buy one? Totally true. 

When Susannah asked me why creativity was so important in my life I didn’t know what to say.  Creativity and I have had a tricky relationship in the past, but I’m beginning to see that I was operating with the wrong manual.  Creativity is about expressing the essence of who you are, not how you compare with everyone else.  And what is an essence?  It is the crucial element — the most important ingredient — one thing.

So the hunt for bird mites began (or as my husband says, bird mights.) For me the answer was swift, because on some level I’ve known all along. For me it boils down to my Style Statement: Sacred Feminine.  From that point everything else just clicks into place. From that point movement is easy. And you know what? When I am focused on that, I am happy.

What about you? What is boiled-down, clear focus, intrinsically you?  
(And who knew birds had noses?)

* * * * *

Megg is a writer, a seeker and a believer in magic.  She believes passionately in the power of story and has decided to add talespinner to that list as well.  Born in Canada she currently lives in England with her husband in a rose-covered cottage much like the one she dreamed of as a child.  She is currently deciding how to publish her first book and has begun the next. She can be found at her blog, Creating Wings, and occasionally on twitter.

Knowing your aliveness

[This is a guest post from my main man, Fabeku Fatunmise]

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get home and whoosh down to the basement.

All of my paints and pastels. The canvases and sketchbooks. All the piles of found junk that I’d nail and glue and cement into sculptures.

By fifth period, I was already thinking about it.

Anything my teachers said sounded a lot like that teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons.

Wah wah wah. Wah wah. Wah wah wah wah.

I had art on the brain, baby.

That’s why me — a kid who never ran — would run for the bus. Every single day.

Hurry up.

I had to get home. There was art to make.

And that was all that mattered.

I’d hit the door, drop my bag and run down those steps without stopping.

I’d throw in my favorite tuneage — The Smiths, the Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees — and I’d stay locked in that basement until Mom would drag me up for dinner and homework.

Eat. Eat. Fast. Fast. Scribble. Scribble. Hurry. Hurry.

Anything to eke out an extra hour of painting before bed.

The basement was my secret underground lair.

It’s where magic happened. And anything was possible. And everything made sense.

But by the time I was 20, I didn’t feel that urge to run anymore.

I had a job. And a car. And a life.

And that was all that mattered.

I mean, I’d sketch when I had time. Which was pretty much never.

But that fire that used to cause my legs to shake and my feet to run?

Somewhere along the line the blaze turned into beige.

Maybe it was because Dad died. Or my girlfriend split. Or I was homeless for a minute.

Or maybe it’s just because I was an adult. And there’s less time for pushing paints around when you’ve got bills to pay.

The truth is, I didn’t really care. Most days, I just felt numb.

But the thing about creativity is that it won’t give up on you. Even when you’ve given up on it.

We are fundamentally creative creatures. Just being alive is an exquisite act of creativity.

And that nudge you feel to create something somehow?

That’s life.

That’s what reminds you what aliveness tastes like.

The further away I got from my practice, the louder it sang. And then one day, I woke up, picked up a brush and came back to life.

That’s what creativity means to me.

Being alive. Knowing your aliveness. Life as one great big delicious creative act.

It’s funny.

Some things don’t change much. Even after you’ve been away forever.

My basement studio is still the place where magic happens. And anything is possible. And everything makes sense.

Now my paints and pastels and sketchbooks share the space with my drums and gongs and singing bowls.

And regardless of whether I’m parked in front of a palette full of a million paints or a mixer full of a million lights, I feel alive.

My legs shake. I want to run.

Every single day.

And I love that like crazy.

* * * * *

I’m Fabeku Fatunmise. (Hi!) And aside from having a name that’s a total mouthful, I’m a sound guy and a chocolate guy and an orange guy. I love punk rock, chai and red suede Doc Martens. I’ve been hanging around with sound stuff for twenty years and spend my days helping people to get unstuck through sound and music. Find me on Twitter (@fabeku) and say hey. I’d dig that.

[photo by Fabeku]

A generous dollop of creativity

[This is a guest post from the Queen of Twitter, Ms Amy Palko]

I love cookery books. I love those gorgeously shot photographs of fresh produce, melting cheeses, and steam rising from just-out-of-the-oven casseroles. I love the language of food: juicy, zest, flavour, aromatic, unctuous, drizzle. I have whole shelves of bookcases where recipe books jostle, tempting me with vegetarian curries, creamy risottos, lighter-than-air cupcakes, home-baked breads and extravagant seafood soups.

But, here’s my confession: I can’t follow a recipe to save my life.

I can spend hours pouring over the details of how to make the perfect Hungarian goulash, and then when I actually start the process of making it, the book might as well be back on the shelf wedged between Jamie and Nigella. My taste buds start to wonder what it would be like if I added red wine, smoked sea salt and maybe some cinnamon. And wouldn’t fresh chilies be nicer than powder or flakes? Oh, and I have that nice salami in the fridge… Some more wine perhaps?

I am, what some would term, an experimental cook. It works out more often than not. I’ve only really had a few disasters. Made-from-scratch gnocchi (soggy dough) and a barley souffle (solid tasteless brick) stand out as two of the worst. And I very rarely manage to recreate any dish in precisely the same way twice.

But I won’t ever change the way I cook, because this is one of the ways that I express my creativity on a daily basis. The chopping, the mixing, the stirring, the simmering… it all contributes to my creative expression. And it does so in a way that is absolutely embedded in my ordinary every day. I have to cook every day, or the family doesn’t get fed. So I may as well approach it in the same way that I approach taking photographs, drawing pictures in my journal, writing stories and knitting lacy scarves.

I think we get so conditioned into believing that creativity only comes in certain forms. That to be creative means that you have to be engaged in producing an artistic item: a painting, a poem, a photograph. But actually, when we invite creativity into our world, it doesn’t just find an outlet that society has specified as ‘artistic’; it pours out of your very being and shines out of your every action.

I suppose what I’m really saying is that, creativity isn’t something you ‘do’. Creativity is an expression of self that is intrinsically unlimited and which touches all parts of your life.

So, why is creativity so important in my life?

Because I wouldn’t be me without it. It is through my creativity that I get to share what is unique and special about me. Whether I’m writing a blog post or rearranging my workspace, making a collage or, indeed, cooking the dinner, my individuality, my own sense of self, is given free expression.

And, sure, sometimes I don’t always end up with the most successful results — the barley souffle a case in point! — but my world would be infinitely less sparkly, less bright, less tasty, without a generous dollop of creativity.

* * * * *

Amy Palko is a writer, photographer, academic, teacher, spiritual seeker, home-educating mother of 3.  She plays many roles in life, but the thread that runs through each is the sacred feminine. She is the creatrix behind Bloom by Moon and she tweets (prolifically) from @amypalko.

The Creative Licence

[This is a guest post from the very inspiring Jo Hanlon-Moores]

After a challenging year I chose the word ‘release’ to take into 2011. Let go, surrender, get out of my own way… all that good stuff.

I believe in ‘flow’, in being in your element and finding that The Right Path is smoother underfoot. Again and again I’ve found a path only to stumble. Land on your face enough times and you begin to doubt your own inner voice. I was in that place many times in 2010.

Last autumn, thanks to a gifted body worker, I had a sublime moment of clarity while she pressed her thumb into the sole of my right foot. I realised that I know nothing. Nothing. The ramifications of that are profound and sometimes too overwhelming to look in the eye but I’m trying.

When Susannah asked me what creativity means to me, sure enough, I didn’t know. Heh. Right now, I am being creative with my life, learning the basics again with teachers that are human, canine, feline and yes, some of them are chickens. Nature is my mentor. I am releasing a need to label what it is that I do, who it is that I am.

So I wrote a story.

The Shawl

In the cool shade of a tree, the baby slept. Down flew the jackdaw and chattered to her as he carefully wove a piece of paper into the shawl she dreamt on.

A child grown, she discovered the paper and wondered at the scritchy-scratchy patterns that covered it. It became art on her dolls’ house walls…the map that led to riches beyond imagining…a flag she planted on a distant planet.

Years passed and the paper survived. Layered lightly into collage…wrapped around flowers…folded to support her wobbly desk. Finally, almost unnoticed, it slipped between the pages of her journal.

Decades now. Deep in a daydream of yearnings and sorrow over lost time, the woman blew dust from a journal and opened it. The paper fell into her hand and this time the scritchy-scratchy was language. Words she could not read but words all the same.

That night, beneath a full moon, she took it on her journeying and showed it to her travelling companions, Wolf and Rook.

“Ah,” said Rook, “This is written in Corvid. Allow me to translate.”

And he read:

Creative Licence

The Bearer is entitled to:

Stories of her own weaving

A home of her own building

Freedom of her own defining

Beauty of her own finding

Dreams of her own realising

Journeys of her own taking

Mistakes of her own making

A life of her own creating.


Flipping it with his beak, he continued:

See also:

Wishes, hopes, art, love, dance, plans, gardens, music, science,

words, tribe, magic, paint, beauty.

This Creative Licence is granted from the vast heart of the Universe.

The woman took back the paper and carefully wove it into her shawl where is still sits, next to her heart.

This might be a true story.

* * * * *

Jo lives with her partner and their daughter, two dogs, an ancient cat and three chickens, in a cottage in the grounds of a Wiltshire manor. Home is the backdrop for inspiration in the shape of love, family, dogs, nature and creativity. She’s been a blogger since 2003, an energy healer since 1998 & an animal lover since birth. She’s putting Shapeshifter on her next passport.

Connect with Jo: Twitter :: Blog :: Website :: Etsy

[First photo by Sus, second photo by Jo]