onefootintheclay

Creativity and Spirituality with Joel McKerrow

Category: Uncategorized

MY FIRST EVER ONLINE COURSE…

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Cause don’t we all need a CLEARING in our lives from which to CREATE out of??

So, after 10 years within the creative industries and working hard on many different creative projects. And after teaching the creative process to over 30 000 people during this time, I thought I finally needed to bring together all this learning into a space where others could engage. And so I have designed…

A CLEARING IN THE FOREST-

A writing and creative-process course to both enhance your writing/creative skills and do some intentional self-work. 

A chance for you to slow down and meet yourself again.

A Creative Process for writers BUT also for…
Film-makers, Choreographers, Performers, Photographers, etc

FOR…
The occasional blogger
The journal scribbler
The professional author
The amateur Instagrammer
The prolific Creative
The burnout and broken Creative
The one who doesn’t believe they even are creative..

25 lessons over 5 weeks
Beginning 9th September 2019.

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Check it out and REGISTER at…

www.joelmckerroweducation.com

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Self-Confrontation

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You know those times when you have this picture of yourself, this image of who you are, and then something happens and your self-perception is totally flipped. Sometimes it is when you told yourself you were (insert negative thing), but now you realise you are way bigger than this thing. Sometimes though, it is when you have to face yourself. To allow yourself to see the murky tentacles of ego; to feel the pain of hurting people; to be small when you usually feel large; to confront the lie; to name the motivations; to realise your acts serve your own purposes- the desires for love, acceptance, affirmations; when achievements are just you trying not to feel worthless; when identity is so wrapped up in success, the desire to not be usueless; when you hold on for fear of being abandoned; when you realise your reasons are just excuses, your silence is more about self-doubt than whatever justification you have given it, your loudness is a weapon, your confidence a shield, your critique is projection, your pulpit a well-built wall, your servant-heart is nothing more than conflict avoidance; When all that you thought was light inside you, is now tainted by shadow. You now those times? I know those times.

#confrontation #confession #mirror #upsidedown

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A School Story

This week was a school. Three days. The same 25 students the whole time. The first day is all about breaking through the macho year 10 coolness of the boys and trying to create enough safety that the girls will actually speak. It is the same almost every school I go into. Then it happens. The moment. The crack in the veneer.

A girl offers her story. The first time she was wolf-whistled. She was in year 7 and walked the one block home. A car pulls up and the boys whistle and yell at her. She tells the class she felt unsafe. Every one listens. Her bravery paves the way. The stories begin. Stories of feeling unsafe. A girl tells us of her fear. Another of her rage. A boy can barely be heard as he tells the class that when he arrived in Australia and he couldn’t speak the language he went to school and every single person rejected him there. They teased him. He told them in Farsi to ‘Get Lost’. They teased him more.

The stories poured from the students. The words then taken and crafted into poetry. Stories shaped into performance. These brave kids turned now into poets how they stepped up to that stage and gave themselves. And one who couldn’t, who was too petrified, who wanted to speak her poetry but just couldn’t get up. She let us read her words. A poem about a piano. And she sat in the middle of her year 10 class and she wept as we read the words. Her body trembling. The story falling onto safe ears. Every person in that classroom, Safe. Safe. Safe. They told me after they shall never forget what happened for them this week. And I realise that this is what creativity does, this is what poetry does, it takes the stories of being unsafe and it reverts them, it turns them on their head until from the very things that brought such unsafeness comes that which makes them safe again, brave again, whole again. I finish the week. I look to the sky and I am thankful.

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📸 by @amyreichenbachphotography

 

The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality- Brand new PODCAST LAUNCHES today!

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with Joel Mckerrow & Joy Prouty

Launches RIGHT NOW!!!

Listen NOW and subscribe on
iTunes/Apple Podcasts
Spotify
Stitcher
Podbean

And please share with your friends on socials and in real life and if you really feel kind-hearted you go and put a rating and review on iTunes for us.That would be AMAZING!

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YOUR HOSTS

Friends, this has been such an exciting project and I am SO very excited to bring it out into the world. I have been working really hard on this one with incredible American Film-Maker Joy Prouty. There are two episodes up already for you to listen to and then we will be releasing episodes fortnightly.

There is a space inside each of us, a dwelling place. The inner life that shapes how we live out our being in this world. It is a place filled with our passion and our frustration, our joy and our broken. It is a place of aching pain and delicious hope. It is the place from which both our creativity and our spirituality flows. It is a place we too often ignore.

That is what this Podcast is all about. It is more than just a conversation, it is an intentional choice to unveil the ache and the desire inside us each of us that we may create more true works to bring into this world and that we may live a more true life. Joy and Joy are just trying to figure out how to keep creating art and a life that makes a change in the world, that grows compassion and awareness and brings freedom to themselves and to those around.

On Light and Shadow

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Light changes everything. In the convergence of light particles and material reality comes an explosion of aesthetic energy. Transformative energy. The world is gowned in colour. The vessel of white light brings about a rainbow beauty. The blue in her eyes. The flash of pink feather. The glory of red hair. Without the light there is only darkness. It is a transcendent thing that a ray of white light holds within it the entire spectrum of colour. It is a wonderful thing that our eyes are attune to such. What a bland world would exist if the light did not bring the colour and with it, the beauty.

Yet, colour is not the only reality that exists in the wake of light. Without the light, there would be no shadow. As light appears it brings a silhouette cast of darkness from the objects that it touches. 

Shadow, like colour, like beauty, is birthed from the meeting place of light and physical existence. 

There is a kinship between the two. An intimacy between the light and the dark. They cannot survive without the other. On one side the aesthetic essence is revealed in all its splendorous colour. On the other there is transposed upon the ground the very silhouetted shadow of that object. There is the shadow side.

When you meet me, you meet my light side. You meet the colour drawn out by the light. I put my best side forward, always. The shadow remains concealed. Behind me. But it is there. For those willing to hang around long enough, they shall see it, for I cannot rid myself of it. I would prefer to keep it hidden. It doesn’t work.The light brings the beauty and it brings the shadow. It splits us all down the centre. Shows our true nature. We are a people of the light. We are a people of the shadow. Inseparable. Both realities that wrap around us. The good action that cannot exist without some shadow motivation.

The things I am most proud of. Where the light shines brightest. There comes the darkest shadow. Where great strength meets great weakness. 

I am a very passionate person. I give 300% to what I focus upon. I accomplish much as I doggedly pursue its success. I pour my heart and soul and self and light into it. Yet, in the wake of my passion, lies the shadow. In the full giving of myself to that which is in my vision, I neglect that which is in the periphery. The things that need doing. The people that I love. Behind me there flows a wake of great things accomplished as well as a wake of neglect and hurt and fracture. That which has allowed me to become all that I have, has also poisoned the waters of relationships.

And so often I wish I did not do this. At times, I hate myself for this. When those I hold most dear do not feel loved I retreat into a silent self-loathing. I am not an angry man, I turn my harsh gaze inward. I know this gets me nowhere in the end, but still, this is my reality. 

How I wish to be free of the grip of the shadow side in my life. I wish I could Peter Pan cut it from my body. I wish it were not part of me. And yet, to take away the shadow, would mean I take away the light. They are inseparable. This is our constant. These two. Forever we are held in tension between the light and the dark. And this, has to be, OK.

So tell me, what is the great light you bring? And what is its shadow? Do you see this playing out in your own life?

PHOTO by Amy Reichenbach Photography.

Rejection and rejection and rejection…

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Received this today. Friends I need to tell you that my rejection letters are in the triple digit range from the last few years. Literally. 

“Perhaps this is because after all I am actually not a very good writer.”

Such was the thought that came to me when I received over ten rejection letters, but now I am in the triple digits, this thought can too easily looks more like this inside,

“YOU SUCK!! YOU ARE THE WORST WRITER EVER!! YOU SHOULD JUST GIVE UP!! STICK TO PERFORMING POETRY, THATS NOT REAL WRITING! The AUDACITY TO THINK YOU ARE CREATIVE AND THAT PEOPLE MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT YOUR WORK! RIDICULOUS!! YOU SUCK!!!!!’

Yep. This is my internal conversation. And I am an optimist with a really high self-esteem. I cannot imagine what it might be for many artists and writers out there who also risk their ego by sending out submissions to agents and publishers and journals and magazines.

So what do you do with rejections then. Well, I am learning to tell myself a different story. In my head it sounds like this, 

‘Persist. You can persist. You must persist. Why? Because if there is one person out there who needs your words and you back down because of fear, because of ego, and they go through life and do not find the freedom that is theirs when they could of…That would be the the truest tragedy. Much more devastating than a few rejection letters, than a hundred rejections letters, than a thousand rejection letters. You have been given this thing and you owe it to the world to gift it to them.”

I then think of the many creative friends whose work I have been so moved by and changed by and what would have become of me had they given up in the face of rejections. People like Brooke Shaden and Joy Prouty and Anna McGahan and Ann Voskamp and so many many more.

See rejection is the name of the game when you are writer or an artist. It is reality. So it is time to tell a different story, to help push yourself past these rejections. You do not SUCK! You are becoming a better writer, a better person, with every rejection letter you recieve, if you allow yourself to become so by not becoming a victim in the face of them.

I think we should change the name then, from rejection letters to….Determination letters, Resolute letters, Take-Courage letters.

My rejected friends, take heart, stay strong, keep writing, keep creating, keep submitting. This is what we do. I see your back backbone. I see it there. Strong it is. So strong. Lets do this!

BLINK (A Christmas Poem)

The revolution was born today. Blink and you’ll miss it. The revolution was born today. The non-violence. The peace. Born today in the midst of Palestinian Territories. In the midst of occupation and resistance and fleeing and seeking asylum and governments built on power and a world built on atrocity, the inequality of patriarchy. In the midst of wrapping paper and gift. Blink. In the midst of Christmas ham. Blink. In the midst of family broken and family healed. Blink and you’ll miss it. The revolution was born today. A baby born today. And that he would break the back of violence and injustice. And that he would hold up a new way of being this humanity together and that he would hold up a new way of being this divinity, together. And that the gloom would dissipate. Blink. And that the deep dark would see the light dawn upon us all like split night, like shattered weight, like war boots and all talk of retribution have no where to march and nothing more to speak. Blink. The revolution was born today. Blink. Peace born today. Blink. A new way of being this human thing together. Blink. He was born today. Blink. So we were born today. Blink and you’ll miss it.

The Slow Movement into Freedom

 

Look up child,
for there are moments
too precious,
too fleeting,
too redeeming
for downcast eye
and a soul turned in on itself.

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…and when the freedom comes
it may not feel as much like freedom as it was meant. As you expected. As the breeze told you. But freedom is the long journey. The slow movement. The giving until it has given itself to you and only on that day shall you recognise such.

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…and at the end of it all there will come the colour back again. The light and the shade. There will come glory. There will come hue and holy. And we hasten the day. We wait with baited breath. With deep knowing. With holding. We wait. We chase. We run into the spectrum of the possible and the perceived impossible. We look to our skin to see what it is reflecting. The day will come. I see it now, ever now, when the colours will return.

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On Returning Home

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Every time I leave for a few days and then return my daughter hears me from wherever she might be in the house and she squeals and she runs, headfirst, she runs, straight at me, she runs and all I can do to not burst in that moment is take her in my arms and kiss her squishy cheeks and run my hand through her hair and laugh with her laughter. My daughter splits a moment in two. This is what it seems. She strikes the mundane until it flows with magic.

I am exhausted and the plane ride has been long and the landing is never fun, but none of this holds a dime when she leaps into my arms and the moment is struck, like bell, like gong and I am undone and I try not to burst but I do and the moon does too and the stars are all screaming and I wonder if this is how God would be, how eternity feels, how deep the substance of life and love that is waiting for us in every moment, should we choose to open our arms and hearts to her.

 

A Tooth-Ache and the Fragility of Existence.

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All it takes is an infected wisdom tooth to remind oneself of the fragility of existence. 

So many things kept in equilibrium and when the smallest of these realities succumbs to an off-balance kilter than the whole system is struck down. Just one tiny tooth digging through where it should not and my body cannot shake the pain. My whole self is set upon.

Most often I forget my body, until something begins to hurt. Until headache. Until toothache. I forget my body like we forget the earth, until something begins to hurt. Until Hurricane. Until fire. Until the equilibrium is off kilter.

So we drug up to push past the pain. All week I have performed in New Zealand through throbbing wisdom tooth pain numbed by nurofen and persistence. A friend suggested I just cancel the gigs, but it is not in my nature. I push through regardless. Have always done so. I figure someone, somewhere must need to hear my message and how could I let a sore tooth stop this from happening. My calling holds more weight than my succumbing to the pain. This is the justification. Perhaps I just hold too high a notion of what I bring to the world, perhaps it is only those who choose to persist through pain who reach their destination, or perhaps the drivenness of my ego just needs to take a break.

This earth has no drug to ease her pain. No Nurofen. No antibiotic. But she does have persistence. More so than both you or I. She continues to push through regardless, just as she has done for aeons. Hopeful that someone too will need to hear her message, hoping that someone too will take notice. 

The beginning of this week was spent with Anna Jane. She fights for this earth. Has felt her pain. Feels it inside and all over. She names the reality and points us to the rotting tooth. Forces us to realise that we have eaten too much sugar. She has given her life to such a cause. To the restoration. To the declaration. To making sure we do not numb the pain, but try to find the cause of what ails us.

It is the end of the week and Hannah takes me out upon a jetty and it was beauty and blue and calm water holy. But from the jetty we could see the mountain. Towering above the water. And she tells me of the force who came and massacred the Maori men here. And then the women of the village who refused to be tortured and slaughtered by them so they took their children up to the heights of the mountain and they threw themselves from its cliff and their blood stained the stones beneath. Blood between her teeth. The infection in the mouth of this world is worse than I ever realised. We spit blood out with the bile.

And I tell the crowds who come to see me speak all week of the nameless ones. Those caught in a system. The nearly 25 million currently enslaved in forced exploitation. The nameless ones. The 4.5 million of these who are sex slaves, raped every night. The nameless ones. The 25, 200 new slaves that are made every day in our world. The nameless ones. That is 1 new person who becomes a slave every 4 seconds. The nameless ones. I tell them that every nameless one still has a name.

I am surprised the earth has not spun off its axis, has not given up on humanity and the atrocities that we commit. In truth, there is so much more than a tooth ache here. There is a cancer. There is a fracture down the centre. But still, she perseveres. She pushes through the pain. We persevere because there is no alternative. We have only one race. We have only one earth. And it is Hannah and it is Anna Jane and it is all those nameless, who have a name, who remind me now to not ignore the pain, not to numb the pain, not to run the other way. It is time to face the monster we have made. It is time to get our dentist on. It is the only way we may see this body become whole again, healed again. This body. Our body.

Every part. Every system that keeps her running.

This body. Our body.

 

Photo Credit (photo of me): Amani AlShaali