living in the RAW :: finding a common language through art

June 12, 2011

by jenica mckenzie

RAW photos by amy gretchen

What if I had judged a book by it’s cover? What if I had assumed that she wouldn’t want to be my friend because we didn’t appear to have much in common? The more we were together, the more commonalities surfaced, and I’m grateful every day that I have her in my life.

As we started RAW we acknowledged that we were opening our lives and friendship up to strangers, some who might come off as a little kooky, but we were open to the idea that we could find a common language through art.  And we have.  The women in our Utah group are from very different backgrounds and varied age groups, some are mothers, some aren’t, some are religious, some aren’t.  We craft in entirely different ways.  And we are learning so much from one another.  Because we all decided that when we showed up, we would only put the truth forward, we cut past the chit-chat and grew comfortable in one another.

I believe this can happen for you as well.  As I work to bring women together in open environments I see over and over again how necessary it is for women to create. Especially in a group, each bringing their own truths, all of us learning from one another.

How can you be in a place of openness when you come to raw? How can you stay in your own energy? When you bring a group of women together it can be so easy to be swayed by someone else’s reality.  It seems that we’re born to compare our lives, but really, it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s definition of happiness is. Because, do you know what YOURS is?

What do you want to learn? make a list of things you want to learn to do. A bucket list? No, don’t put that much pressure on this list. Try writing stream of consciousness, make a list of all the things you want to try in life, things that you enjoy doing, things that make you happy, things you barely give yourself permission to dream of.  Make your list as ridiculous as you need to. Your dreams are unique to you, it’s important to get to know what makes YOU tick, what makes YOU happy, and then you’ll know whether or not you’re chasing the goals that will actually open your happiness.

For me, I thrive in groups of people, I LOVE the energy. I’d be happy to be in a group of 30 women creating together.  But that’s me.  What size of group do you thrive in?  Tailor your RAW group to your needs.  It could be just two of you, someone that you’re totally comfortable with.  What feels natural to you, where will you be the most comfortable?  This is a night that you should look forward to, not stress about.  If the idea of going out dressed up is making you anxious, then make it a pajama night. I give you permission to do what works for you. Will you feel uncomfortable in your pajamas with a bunch of people you don’t know?  Take the reigns, they’re yours.  You can have it as formal as you’d like to.  Again, I give you permission to do what works for you.  I think of the years that my babies were little and I do remember how hard it was to leave my little ones.  So have a RAW day, let the kids play, and create something with your girlfriends.  What if your spouse wants to join?  Make it a party.  RAW night is yours to create what you want with it.

When you put yourself in a position to succeed, you will.  Take courage in the idea that the right people will always come, your night will never be wasted. Because regardless of who comes, you WILL be creating something for yourself. Play music that speaks to your heart, eat foods that nourish you (and yes, this includes chocolate), put yourself in a position where you can rest your insecurities and feel as comfortable as possible.  Providing an environment that you can thrive in will allow you to use your courage for creativity.

6 Responses to “living in the RAW :: finding a common language through art”

  1. mindy says:

    jenica, i love this message so so much and it comes at just the right time for me… this rings so beautifully true for me at this time and i am so happy that you are so brave and so generous with your creative life and spirit! you inspire me.

  2. Gillian says:

    I loved every word of this. I thrive in small groups. Fear I suppose. But to me small is six or so. Wishing (it’s the wish studio after all) that the global raw will come together eventually so we can all create and laugh and love.

  3. Denise says:

    Thankyou for reinforcing my current dream: gathering a group of creative souls simply for the experience of creating. One question: do you find that when you’re together in your RAW group that you are all working on the same project (and the group or someone decides what that you’ll be working on at that gathering)? Or is it a “come with what you’re working on/wanting to create” and just be around others creating?

  4. jenica says:

    denise- this is probably the question i get most so it sounds like a post is in order. ;-D we’ve done it both ways for what fits the group. there have been times we’ve all wanted to try a new medium so we make the whole night about it. in the beginning though it’s probably less intimidating to have everyone bring their own projects until you can learn more about one another and what dreams y’all can have together.


  5. Linni says:

    wish we lived closer to each other… i am dreaming of the day that i can sit next to you and just relish in your being… i adore you xx

  6. Shelley says:

    Great article Jenica! I am so blessed to be able to get RAW with you!

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