We are being lived by powers we pretend to understand    W. H. Auden                                    

Creative Aging      from The Casual Alchemist                                    11.16.18

Artist and writer Daniel Mack explores fresh creative and spiritual opportunities-- not only for people in later life--but for anyone experiencing the distress of transition.  Creativity is not about “art” but about finding ways to keep making our lives meaningful. In what ways can we become regenerative for ourselves, our families and  our community?

Creativity is the oil of the 21st Century. It is a resource: the natural, innate, learned and practiced capacity to envision several alternatives versions of the future.  Practicing creativity eases the difficulty of the many, tidal transitions of being human from birth through growing up, aging and the bumps of jobs, war, physical and spiritual wounds.

SYMPTOMS of Transition: PORTALS  SHIFT.  There are changes in mood, sleep, body, vision, hearing, memory, centrality, responsibility, visibility.

“Who am I when I am no longer doing, no longer productive, no longer indispensable to so many others? No longer wearing the masks? Where does my attention go? Am I shedding objects, clothes, books, body?  Am I grumpy, angry, annoyed, foggy, sad?”   

There’s been a loss, yes, but what’s opened up, awakened?  Needs are Changing. There’s a Spiritual Hunger. It can be fed.         

WHAT TO DO?                                                                                                 

Trust Curiosity.            Distrust Discourse.       Trust the Body.

Be with Children.         Be with Nature.            Make Things.    

Take Small Risks.        Make Order.                   Make Time for The Holy. 


Try this Four-Fold Approach                    Start Anywhere!

Be Quiet: introspective, interior, patient. Remember dreams. This is private, meditative activity. It’s a form of Mindfulness.


Be Active:  intuitive, expressive. Find things to make, fix, build, care for. Learn a new skill. Use your Body


Be Public: engaging, explorative; Work and Play with others; Mentor, Volunteer. Share a skill you know.


Be Digestive: reflective, incorporative; Revisit these other activities. How did they work and feel? Keep a record. This is a “Grimoire”  Look it up.

1. Quiet Musings via curiosity, memory, imagination, patience, solitude, hunches, accidents…

Do a Thumbnail Description of YourselfJust 50 words, or less           

Be with Nature  Wander  Bare Feet?  Notice Seasonal Changes:

Stay casual   This is an exploration, not a debate or argument or sales pitch.


Recall Stories of your experiences in Nature: with animals, insects, weather…

The gods are in the diseases    Your Symptoms? What Spectrum are you on? 

Follow Present ThreadsWhat’s presenting? What lingers, vexes,  haunts, peeves, annoys;  What groups, visitors, meetings, Animals, Dreams, Accidents, Names, Remembered Words, tears, food,  Technology, TV showsWelcome Them as Directionals, Clues, Hints, Puzzle Pieces, Themes to your unconscious. They are not “Problems”. They are Your Familiars.

Consult Current Emotions

Re-Visit what you know about your birth experience and early life.  Are there Family Traits you share?

Survey Needs: for Story, Awe, Feral, Making,       

Consider New Ways, Models for Thinking: The Mosaic, The Kaleidoscope, The Loom, The Tapestry, Organic Thinking,  Browsing, Cooking, The Ellipse, Tides

Review your Lineages: Where do you come from? Who are your people?  Ethnic, family, spiritual, karmic, archetypal, clan.

Learn about “Ancestral Karma”: What tasks were you born with?

Explore More Curiosities:  suiseki, Haiku, the numinous, “winter fires”, negative capability,


2. Matterings: A wordless language of Material into Meaning via pattern and re-pattern to bolster/adjust/materialize stories from The Unconscious, Allow for the power of the indistinct to emerge as tips, clues, hints.  It’s cooperative participation, not control of the process. This is MAGIC: ways to access playful, provocative, hidden energy

Make Marks    Use Pounded Pigment from stones, mud or flowers. Try Rubbing on various nearby textures;  Try Fumage: mark-making with the smoke of a candle.  

Make Tools  (Wands/Talismans)  Find 2-3 Things: feathers, shells, leaves, sticks, Connect with yarn, dental floss, rubber bands; Add color,

Make Things to Wear Particularly Hats, Masks, Jewelry

Make Gifts   for friends, family, enemies     Just Leave Them Somewhere

Use Fragments and Empties:  Blocks, Jars, Envelopes.  What can you put in them?

Simple Activities :  Twist ties, Blocks, Rubbings, Balancing, Make Piles, Bundles


3. Launchings: Public Ways to share discoveries, Make The Story Visible;  Give Gifts to kindle Others.   

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.            Talmud


Find Ways to Share Your Stories  Shutterfly? Vlog? Website? Pinterest? 

Find others who share your sensibilities?

Find a Community Volunteer Project   to be a part of… perhaps make a mural or a deck of cards that many people contribute to. Surrealists had a practice called Exquisite Corpse” where a group of people wrote a poem together, or created a drawing. 

4. Review/Digest Often  

What’s Repeating/Appearing? Are familiar themes appearing?  Do Family members/memories appear?  Remember, it’s all about MAterial/PAttern

Do a Tech Bio: uses of phone, computer? What are you saving, sharing, Making?

Light Touch! not full arguments, but allurements. Take Small Risks

Poetry often enters through the window of irrelevance.   M.C Richards


Try Small Scale Objects: How little of something is needed to make meaning? 

Start a Grimoire:  your record, journal of your Casual Making. Your discoveries


MORE?   Dan is planning 1-hour, drop-in Making Workshops for Creative Agers.     

Interested?      Email Dan   rustic@warwick.net   

See  www.danielmack.com   and   www.thecasualalchemist.com