Featured Artist Series :: Ruth Clark
Ruth Clark is a writer and artist currently on a solo backpacking adventure through Southeast Asia. Her work is inspired by deep connection, deep honesty, and deep love. (She's a Scorpio, after all.) She's into: being real and writing constantly, full moons and early mornings, wandering the woods and hanging with her siblings, social justice and connected conversation.
She's currently offering her course Purposefully Alive ... ten days to get curious about how you can support yourself more deeply while feeling connected and in your body.
"As water takes whatever shape it is in, so free may you be about who you become."
- JOHN O'DONOHUE
>>> What are you creating right now?
Oh gosh. I feel like I'm creating everything right now. I'm at a point in my life where things are just flowing really smoothly and I'm feeling really alive -- and part of that is tapping into this deep well of creativity inside me. I'm on a solo journey through Southeast Asia at the moment, and taking photos and blogging and running an online course and writing up a storm. I feel like I don't want to stop, I want to keep documenting, I have so much to say. There is so much here that's fueling me. Travel is really good for that!
>>> My super power is _________
Do I have a super power? I suppose we all do, right? It feels difficult to pinpoint any one thing, to get vulnerable and say This is what I'm good at! That doesn't come so naturally to me, and many of us I'm sure. But.....I think my super power is learning to be incredibly alive. Existing on this earth to fiercely protect my heart and my desires, doing everything I need to do to care for myself and honor my aliveness, and encouraging others to do the same. For so long I didn't live this way, and now that I've realized what's possible, I feel so dedicated to truly live while I'm alive.
>>> Where do you get your drive, your desire to create? What fuels you?
Right now, travel is fueling me. Seeing new things, learning how capable I am, experiencing different cultures, meeting people so unlike me. Solo travel especially is a really wild experience.
But really, any experience or feeling that makes me feel tingly and lit up inside, I follow. Sometimes it's nothing more than a good song played loudly. (This one recently had me feeling all kinds of feels.) Sometimes it's simply writing stream-of-consciousness and seeing what comes out. (So much often does.) I've learned that it's often more about being open to inspiration and training yourself to notice it, rather than deliberately searching it out.
>>> What advice or experience has more influenced and shaped you as an artist?
I once read words from the poet Mary Oliver, who said: “writing…is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.”
After reading that, I thought Oh yes. We need to keep appointments. Mary Oliver walks every single morning, igniting her creativity, and then goes home and writes. Every single day. I have a friend who once wrote every single day for 100 days, and even has a playlist of music she listens to when it's time to write, to remind her of the habit. These artists keep appointments with themselves, and train themselves to create in an really connected way. I've always loved that.
>>> What are some of your sacred rituals? Do they elevate your creativity?
Writing in my journal is something that I truly can't live without. I've been doing it for years, sometimes writing multiple times a day. It feels sacred and holy and wonderfully important. It's good in so many ways -- I process feelings, I vent, I get inspired, I hit on insights. It's amazing how much a pen and paper feeds me.
I also find time to connect with nature, always. Sometimes it's just looking up at the moon or breathing in deeply when I step outside. The natural world feels so steady and constant and solid for me -- something that is always there for us. And when the world starts to feel chaotic, leaning into that is so comforting.
>>> Share three spirit words that are holding you or lighting you up or guiding you right now… and what is the dream and feeling for you inside those words?
A sage friend told me before I left on my trip, Your heart is smart. (Okay, that's totally not three words, but whatever!) And I keep repeating that phrase, like a mantra, over and over. My heart is smart. It knows. And the best thing I can do -- for my creativity, for my mental well-being, for my emotions -- is honor it. Be the mama eagle fiercely defending her babies. Do everything in my power to listen to my smart heart. It's pretty revolutionary, actually.
>>> What is the message or feeling you are communicating through your art?
I have this tattoo on my forearm, in my own handwriting, that says just love. I got it at a point in my life where I wanted the reminder all the time, to be able to look down and think Oh yeah, just love, Ruth! And I think those two simple words infuse and inform all of my work.
When it comes down to it, there is just love. Fear is simply the absence of love. And that's such a comforting thought to me.
>>> Today I shall be…
Today I shall be brave. Courageous. Fierce in taking good care.
>>> Who are you now?
I am an intrepid explorer of the world, an independent being finding wild amounts of freedom in following my heart's desires.