Friday, May 13, 2011

Bead Mystic: The Lost Interviews

Hey there Blog, are you feeling alright?
I did not see much from you yesterday. Where were you?

Anyway Blog, I find myself here to share an interview I came across. It’s an interview between the Bead Thief, (you know him from earlier) and the Bead Mystic, (don’t know much about that fellow, but he sounds familiar). I couldn’t find the whole interview. It seems to be the tail end of the interview. In any event, here’s it is:

(The Bead Thief = TBF, The Bead Mystic = TBM)

TBT:     . . . . and it started that quick?

TBM:   Right! It’s hard to believe it all started with a question about the cost of drawing paper.

TBT:    Wow! Well that ends that. So, now to our next topic.
            It’s about inspiration; specifically when inspiration strikes. I mean, sometimes when I’m making beads inspiration strikes. And I want to leap up and write down or draw all my good ideas. But, if I do, I interrupt my art process of making beads; and if I don’t, I worry I will forget them.

TBM:  Well, making beads should always be inclusive and workable. In fact, a wholehearted mindful embrace of everything that arises in your head is the only path to true freedom.
            It is critical that all thoughts, including inspiring ones, be included while making art. So the moment when inspiration strikes while making beads; it becomes the perfect opportunity to put this vision of inclusiveness and workability to the test!

TBT:    So in turn, are there any tools that can affirm ones inspiring thoughts without letting them distract you from the focus of making beads?

TBM:   Sure, there are actually seven steps to achieve bead making enlightenment.
            Step 1: You make an agreement with yourself.
            Before beginning to make your beads, reflect for a moment on your commitment to bringing your inspiring thoughts into the art process when creating beads. Have a notepad and pen or your sketch pad and pencil next to your working area. Make an agreement with yourself that you will allow to record only one inspiring thought per creative session.

TBT:    Creative session? What do you . . . . .

TBM:   It’s the time you a lot yourself to making beads any given day.

TBT:    Ah, but trying to commit my thoughts and bringing them into heart while making beads seems somewhat of a daunting task. How would? . . . . How?. . . .

TBM:   Well, this leads to our next step.
            Step 2: The key is to focus your mind.

TBT:    Focus my mind! My mind is usually scattered. How do I focus?

TBM:   It is helpful to cultivate a degree of concentration and calm before bringing the awareness to thoughts and emotions. You may find it helpful to do this by focusing on the changing sensations of your breathing, how materials you are handling feel, on what you are listening to- be it music, birds outside or whatever is favorable for a while.

TBT:    Be calm. Breathe. The polymer clay in my hands- soft. Soft. It should feel soft. SOFT! It’s not getting soft. It’s not softer. . . Breathe.

TBM:   Yes. Step 3: Note resistance.
            Note resistance; because, it is uncommon to feel that making beads and thinking is an interruption of what should be happening. So start by becoming aware of any resistance to these thoughts. Do you feel it in your body? Where? In your hands as you mold the clay, in your eyes as you strain to see details, in your shoulders as you roll yet another bead. Are you experiencing tightness or tension in your mind? Include this resistance in the field of your awareness.

TBT:    So I write it down?

TBM:   No, No. First, you just want to be aware of it while making beads.
            Now on to Step 4:  Note fear.

TBT:    I'm usually not fearful while making art. At least, I’m not aware I am. What’s to be scared from while making beads; unless, it’s a very, very ugly bead. I mean a bead that just screams horror and pain. A bead that . . . . .

TBM:   Focus. Focus.
            What I’m talking about is that if you are worried that you will forget the thought, then fear has entered the picture.
                        It is critical that you also include this energetic experience of fear into your art making process. Where do you feel the changing sensations associated with fear? The emotional transition from resistance to fear is a wonderful opportunity to observe the laws of karma at work. Insight into the laws of cause and effect and the interdependence of the mind and body is an important aspect of art and bead making.

TBT:    Karma wha. . . . . interdepende . . . .what? How exactly?

TBM:   Well then, we’ll just lead ourselves into Step 5: Using a mental noting practice.  
            That is to say, are you the kind of person that tends to get excited when inspiration strikes? It may be interesting to examine what is happening. Mentally noting these feelings and reactions to your thoughts may help.
            Try; roll bead, roll.  And note: inspiring thought, excitement, thought; then again roll bead, flatten clay, roll again, press beads into molds.  And note: worry, fear, another inspiring thought, and so on.

TBT:     I’ll be trying, roll bead, flatten clay, roll bead, flatten clay.  

TBM:   So then, Step 6: Maintaining a sense of humor.

TBT:    Oh humor!  I can do humor.  I laugh at the sight of unfinished beads.  

TBM:   Well, by humor I mean, try giving the inspiring thoughts a humorous label as soon as they arise, like “Genius!”, “Einstein!”. . . .

TBT:    Yeah like, “That’s a good one!”, “Eureka!”, “Antonio Banderas!”, “Holy Sh. . . .”

TBM:   Keep it short. The simple label will not only help you realize the cyclical pattern of your thoughts, but by not taking your thoughts so seriously you will probably dilute any impulse to turn them into a problem.

TBT:    Right, I do have a tendency to turn my thoughts into problems.  

TBM:   And finally Step 7: As a last resort write down the thought.  If a thought keeps relentlessly recurring; document the inspiration on your notepad or sketchpad, maintaining awareness of each intention as you do so.  

TBT:    So just write it down.  Sketch it out. 

TBM:   The importance is that while you are making beads, you maintain an awareness of the intentions and sensations. The intention to open your notepad or sketchpad, to reach for the pen or pencil, the sensation as your arm moves, to reach for the sketchpad, hearing the scratch of the pencil on the paper.
            Be mindful.  And by making a place for inspiring thoughts while doing your art process of making beads, you affirm these thoughts and who knows, you may even get enlightened in the process.

TBT:    Wow!  So if I get an idea, write it down?  And if it’s a good one I should name it?  Relax, pay attention, focus and keep making the beads. Let those ideas become part of my bead making process.  Not bad Mr. Bead Mystic.   

Wish we had more time to talk some more about those two art students.

(This interview was adapted from an article that appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review with Gavin Harrison entitled: When Inspiration Strikes.)


  1. That was the best post yet. I hope these two voices will continue to grace us with their presence. And now I know that it is okay to yell out “Antonio Banderas!” when I make a good one.


    Enjoy the day!

  2. Oh, we'll be 'Antonio Banderas-ing' all over the place now Erin! Love it. You are a born writer.

  3. Great post. I really enjoyed it.