One of the best things that my beading life has taught me is to follow the question, "What if...?" with a decisive action.
The creative process is one that sometimes asks us to be still and pay attention, but often it asks us to move forward -- take an unexpected next step, even if we don't know what that may be. The trick seems to be, for me, staying open to the "what if." So many times my brain (the left side of it, I am sure) wants to put a kibosh on the matter and come up with a few good reasons (all at once sometimes!) why that next step WON'T work. One of the reasons it does this, is that often I have invested lots of time (or materials) into my project and have gotten so far, that a whole new idea might just mess that up! What if I have to start over? My li'l left brain is just trying to protect me from failure, and what IT deems to be waste.
I realized after a while that I was probably missing out on some big fun by stopping myself. Geez, it's just time.. it's just beads. If I was beading for the fun of beading, what difference did it make what I did?
I began to relish this little question when it popped into my head. I saw that It gave me the opportunity to open myself, even in just the tiniest of ways. And now I see that as all those tiny little openings add up, the more "what ifs" come into being. It doesn't matter whether the outcome of the 'what if' is pleasant or unpleasant. These are just conditional 'whatever!s" that become a step of learning.
The Zentangle® art form has really accentuated this process for me. Their tagline, "Anything is possible, one stroke at a time," says it so perfectly.
The tangle, Puf, is an example for me about the power of "what ifs."
As a new Certified Zentangle Teacher, I set out to "study" the 102 tangles given to us at the Zentangle certification seminar. I methodically went from one tangle to another, trying to reserve any judgement as to whether one would be more fun than another. I had chosen to do four tangles to each Zentangle. I was recording all this in the beautiful journal that we also received at the seminar. So this was to be my special book, my little record of my study in tangles.
At one point, the next four tangles to use were just not looking great together. I knew something had to happen with this particular group. "What if?" Uh oh. Not right now, not when I have a PLAN, dammit! Seriously! I am doing things a certain way in my new beautiful book and I don't want to mess it up!
"But what if..." and then it happened. I stepped out, in my beautiful new journal. I took the chance to mess up. It was a lot of fun! And Puf was born.
And because of what Puf looks like when it begins, and what it looks like when it's finished, it's a clear example of the surprising results when you act on a "what if."
Here is a Puf mandala before the last step makes it "puff."
And then it gets puffed (and shaded and dressed up with "sparkles".)