Creative Careers : Chris Zydel Interview
Creative Careers in the Arts Interviews
Creative Juices Arts goddess Chris Zydel
By Molly Anderson-Childers
Greetings! Welcome to a juicy new interview with the Creative Juices Arts goddess, Chris Zydel. She teaches fabulous Wild Heart Painting Retreats all over the world, facilitates women's groups, and also works as a coach and astrologer. The guiding principle behind Creative Juices Arts is: "Creativity as a Path To Spirit, Joy, Healing and Transformation." Intrigued? Then join me for an amazing and enlightening discussion of creativity, passion and spirit with the fabulous Chris Zydel!
Q: What can you tell us about Wild Heart Painting as a spiritual path? As an artistic process?
A: Since creativity and spirituality come from the same source, if you open the channel to one, you automatically open the channel to the other. So the Painting from the Wild Heart process is about keeping that channel clear, and trying to stay conscious of when we are closing ourselves down to our creativity or our spirituality. As a spiritual practice, the painting process teaches you how to be present and to just be with what is, how to stay in beginner's mind, and how to listen to your intuition more and your judging mind less. It encourages you to let go of always trying to control yourself or your surroundings, and to practice the art of embracing the unknown and surrendering to a greater force. Because the focus of painting in this way is on the process, not the product, it teaches you about the practice of non-attachment to outcome. When you are painting as a spiritual practice, you are opening yourself to the experience of the creative trance which is an invitation into altered states, non-ordinary reality and the invisible world of formlessness that lies behind the world of form.
I experience creativity and spirituality as energy, what some people call the life force, prana or chi. All spiritual practices are about doing your best to stay connected to that endless, flowing river of aliveness. But we are constantly dealing with the human dilemma of being spiritual beings housed in a physical body, and that body is very vulnerable. We are always aware on some level that we live in a world full of many dangers. And so we have our busy, buzzing, fearful mind trying to do its best to protect us. Poor thing! What a difficult job it has! So it frets and worries and schemes and plans and tries to maintain a sense of control at all times. And it is very noisy. It is always talking and always telling you what you should and shouldn't do.
All the great spiritual teachings talk about how we suffer from a case of mistaken identity. Who we think we are is made up of stories. We are constantly talking ourselves into existence. That is why so many spiritual practices and meditation practices try to work with quieting the chattering mind. We forget that we are so much more than this beehive of anxious thoughts. So the purpose of painting as a spiritual practice is to start to pay attention to something other than the mental chatter. Painting is actually a great medium because it is by its very nature non-verbal; it allows us to have a more direct experience of who we really are.
In a certain way, the Wild Heart Painting process is not about painting at all. It's about using the process of painting as a way to learn how to maintain that open channel to your creativity and your deep essential self. The truth of it is that you are creating your life every day. But you need to ask yourself the question "Am I creating my life from the place of the fearful, judging mind or am I creating my life from my joyful, essential self?" This process is about learning how to live your life as a work of art. It's discovering what it means to create your own life and to let your creative wisdom guide you. We are all creative and we have access to that energy ALL THE TIME. It is the most natural thing in the world. Our creativity is just another form of the universal love that is constantly flowing through the universe. Like spirit, our creativity and intuition are always available to us. Out of fear we turn away from it, shut down, stop believing in it, forget how to access it, and stop trusting it. But as soon as we turn back towards it, as soon as we are ready to open back up to it, it is right there, as full and vibrant and clear as it always was. Painting from the Wild Heart is a process that allows you to open your heart again and again to your own creative juice which includes your sense of purpose, your uniqueness and your authenticity.