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Focusing on art after raising kids - Johanne McInnis (Bright Way Podcasts)

bright way podcasts Apr 19, 2021

After raising her children, Johanne finally has time to focus on her creative path as a harpist, composer, arranger and performer. She shares how she stays inspired and on track, focused on the here and now of the creative life. She also shares how by tapping into her creative path and community, she was able to process and integrate the loss of her beloved mother recently. Johanne shares it’s all the little creative acts we take that lead to magnificent outcomes - leave time for exploration rather than worrying about the end product.

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- [Interviewer] Hello Joanne, how are you doing? - [Joanne] Nice. Nice to talk to you again. - [Interviewer] Yeah. And where are you right now? - [Joanne] I am in Nova Scotia in Canada in the Atlantic region. - [Interviewer] Beautiful. And can you tell us a little bit about your creative journey so far? When did you start getting on your creative path? - [Joanne] As a musician? -

[Interviewer] It could be anything cause you know I think creativity as it is in one area, so it is in many areas of our life. - [Joanne] It's true. It impacts all our lives, I guess. Oh, I guess I started in my creative journey when I was 12 years old. So that's, you know, more than 40, 40 years ago. And by being creative in high school then open

to the ideas that came along and then of course music was always a passion. So I continued further away, in college as in, you know setting piano, just like you in some ways that you handle and in university of soul studied piano. And then I had a family that was a wonderful way of practicing creativity as a mother, you know, with the ups and downs that comes, comes

with it. The creative journey as a musician has always been there more in the background when I was raising my family. But now that all my children are gone I find that there's more space and time to really explore that side. That's I always wanted to give more time to and I'm allowed to do so right now. So how's it going I find it very interesting to have

come up in the path of bright ways also, you know, the program that you're suggesting, I'm doing it along with working on a master degree at the same time. So I'm trying to bile balance my time. And that's why you haven't seen a lot of me in the last month, but you know, I, as soon as it slows down into my other courses, I plan to catch up

and I'm happy that there is, like you said, you know there's no timeline you just come back and forth like the tide and then you just incorporate it in your life. So where I am, I find that I love the way you approach it when you use, you do a lot of, you know, soul searching music where you let, you don't necessarily, you've done a lot of studies

yourself. So you don't have that take over right now and in the time where I let them give a lot of time to that training and I look forward to balance it with creation and I'm doing a little bit, you know, with my partner where we're trying to slowly create, a three minute to it's meditation, tilt style meditation. So we're trying, I'm trying to give more time to

that also. Work in progress. - [Interviewer] Yeah. So you are so amazing at balancing so many different things. You know, you raise children and kept music going the whole time now. You have your master's degree going and all your other projects. How do you actually, how do you balance things and how do you stay inspired while you're working with so many different things? - [Joanne] Well, I try

to stay open to the opportunities I observe around me and I find people, you know, like the ladies in the group and the people to me at the master level are very inspiring. Just looking up to, to people who, you know, don't think that they've arrived to the goal. Like there's always so much to learn and I think have enjoy, I've learned to enjoy along the way that

only look at the, the goal in itself. I think that there's more enjoyment in walking and learning towards the goal than obtaining the goal itself sometimes. It's nice to get there, but there's so many nice details along the way that are there to be observed, that are as important as the goal itself. - [Interviewer] I, I so agree with you because I mean there would be no goal

achieved without this journey. It is actually the journey that makes the goal. - [Joanne] Yes. - [Interviewer] So by enjoying every step of the way, that actually keeps the inspiration and the motivation so much more alive than constantly focusing on something out in the future. You know. - [Joanne] Yes. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] That's helps us let you see to, to, to be in the moment and

with the COVID situation we're all pushed to really search deeper than and say what, where does my heart wants to be at this moment? And, you know, and to give attention to that. - [Interviewer] That's so beautiful. Yeah. And what is the role of community for you? I know you mentioned the amazing women in our group and you know that they can give inspiration. How does community in

general support your creative path? - [Joanne] Well, it's a different time right now, but in the past, I would say as a performer, you know, it was not only to to give, but to go to places where you listen, you, you observe the way other people do things and then when it's time for you to offer, you offer, when it's time to learn and receive you receive. I

think it's to have a balance between both, 'cause it's easy to get burnt out if you just do the performance. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] So it's nice to really balance it with staying open, in the community for a long time was my own family taking care of my own and then helping them, us to be aware of our neighbors. You know, my kids did a few activities

to know where we, 12 days before Christmas. We would bring something to donate 12 days. It was a different note. (indistinct chatters) So being aware of this, our community close to us first of all, it starts with our neighbors and all this culture here it's important to know our neighbors. And we know our neighbors, like, not, not only one beside us, but you know, side, buy eggs from

my neighbors on the other side of the road. So there's, there's many aspects of that word community, the musical community the family community, the town community. Yes. And it's given in various ways as I learned with our discussion with the group and with my life experience is to give attention to all everything that is beyond our own purpose. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] And then know how much

that music is such a big piece of the pie in our heart, you know, but it is a nice challenge to try to balance it with the needs around us. - [Interviewer] Yeah. I love the ecosystem, that you described, the different types of community, feeding each other and all making something very sustainable. - [Joanne] Yes. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] I like the expression that you use, yes,

ecosystem. - [Interviewer] Yeah. Yeah. I know that recently you, you had to go through the loss of your mother which, of course a very big blow. I I'm wondering how, how your creative path helped you during that moment or supported you or what impact that might have had on you. Because one of the intentions I have with this podcast is to show what the creative journey looks like

in real life and, and real things happen to us and things that are very difficult. And I want to find ways that our creativity can help us in these moments and also be supported in this moment. - [Joanne] And when my mum passed away I think I couldn't play for two months. I just, I lost the desire for many things. I don't know. I just, you feel you

just kind of function the same way, right? You're just, it's like, you have to let go of that part of you that you will, you won't see again in the physical world. And I'm trying to understand your question again, you're saying, can you repeat your question? - [Interviewer] It's how we, how our creative journey looks in real life. So even when things happen to us that are difficult

like this, our creative life isn't over but sometimes it looks a little different for a while. And so something I've noticed, especially around death is that for a while, it may look like our creative journey almost goes underground for a little while. And I think really giving it that time to be, to lay low, to be quiet, it's really important to do that. And I find that creatives

sometimes feel like, no, I should be in fact, writing all these songs about my feelings and that's just not what they wanna do. And they feel very bad about themselves because of that. Or they feel, Oh maybe I've lost my desire. To really understand that your creativity is something that will come back and give it its own time. You know, that's what I've found is really important when

a big event, like this happens in your life. I remember when we spoke and you had been feeling that way and now it sounds like actually you're, you're back on track. - [Joanne] Yes. In some ways like, the only thing I could do when my mum passed away which was a Wednesday at 11 o'clock in the morning I received a call from my sister and I left school.

I was teaching online at that, that day. And I just, I came home. I couldn't even cry. I was so much in shock. I just sat in my backyard and all I could do is write and write a poem. That's the only thing that I wrote since then. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] I find that there's a lot of things that came to death and are going through

the seasons like winter, we go through the season of winter where things seem so white and, and I just stopped grades. And then it was at the same level in my music. I find everything I've done in the past could no longer work in, in the situation we are right now. And, and all of a sudden, you know, life brought a wonderful partner in my life and then,

we're, we're understanding, the need in our own lives to practice, you know, those short meditation. And we thought, you know what? We have the tools and the gifts to create it. So perhaps we could experience on it and maybe I could share with you a sample that you could add to the pocket if you want. - [Interviewer] Yes, please. (interviewer laughing) - [Joanne] Yeah. So it's been interesting

to observe, and I don't know if you read some of the books by, like the Surrender, the Surrender by, the Untethered Soul and also the Surrender - [Interviewer] Yeah. Yeah. - [Joanne] What's the name of the author again? - [Interviewer] Yes. - [Joanne] Yes, those books really teach us to really flow with whatever life brings in our path instead of resisting. When we resist change, we feel miserable,

you know. But when you embrace change we start seeing life with new colors and the new horizon. And that's one big thing that I've learned through life transitions. That has sustained me quite a bit. But for this one, when my mom passed away it was not hard not to resist change. You know, I was really, for two months I couldn't believe that she was just gone. We never

had time to say goodbye. - [Interviewer] Right. - [Joanne] That's hard, to not be able to say goodbye for the last time, you know. - [Interviewer] Right. Right. - [Joanne] I find that as this happened on the physical level, the spiritual level and the artistic level, everything came to a stop. It's like it was time to recalibrate and well just observing my dad going through this course, It

wasn't how it had been because he said my half of my heart is gone. And then he moved to my sister left the apartment where they were in and then he has a new life now living with my sister. But he's just a joy of the family. He has, he's a great example of not resisting change and just moving along with what life has now being thankful for

what you've had and moving along with what you have now. And he's thankful for his three daughters and the gift and the legacy that his wife left him, you know. - [Interviewer] There's such a theme of openness in what you're saying and everything that you do. This real openness to taking in experience and, and moving with it, changing with it. For me, that's what creativity, creativity ultimately is.

It's reacting directly with life itself. And as you react with it, you change it as well. And that's the co-creation that moves us forward. - [Joanne] Yes. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] And letting the pain of the storm pass through. - [Interviewer] Right. - [Joanne] For two months, I just let it pass through me. I just couldn't do anything. I couldn't feel joy. It's like, you can't feel

anything. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] Just that to let the storm wash over and remember nothing lasts forever. It will pass. Those moments are long sometimes. - [Interviewer] Yeah. Yeah. So there's always a couple of questions I like to ask towards the end of our interview. And one is, what is one misperception that you feel people have about creativity that you would like to invite them to let

go of right now? So is there a misperception that you encounter quite a lot around creativity? - [Joanne] Well, if I look at my own practice I would say is to just wait for something major that, you know, if I could just sit down and just accept the small bits and pieces of the creation there and not wait to create a whole, whole thing. Like sometimes I see

it as a big mountain and, you know, a lot of people are able to create something so beautiful within, you know, an hour or so just by sitting and exploring. And I think it's giving more time for exploration. Cause I'm, I've been trained, you know, such a rigid in some ways it's rigid take the classical road, right. It's very rigid. You know, what you have to do but

then leaving space for, you know, the end product. - [Interviewer] Yeah. - [Joanne] And not seeing it so much as a mountain but seeing each one separately, like when coming one after the other, towards the top of the mountain. I guess that's what in my own life I'm trying to, to give space to and get time too, I think, I think it's important to allow sometimes with and

that's what I'm trying to work on to allow, more time to work at that level. - [Interviewer] Well, my second question, I think you already answered it. It's what is one thing you would like people to know today about creativity? And I think you answered it in that, you know, it's the presence and the, the little steps every moment. You've said that. - [Joanne] Yes, yes. And giving

it time to, you know, allowing time like you said, no here and I'm working on sending you that practice schedule that we wrote. - [Interviewer] Yes. Excellent. - [Joanne] But I, you know, I think it's, it's important to, to allow time. I don't think I could do. Maybe I could do it every day, not right now but at some point it would be nice to improve it every

day before you start your scale, before you start, any study of any work by other people too, you find to, what does your soul has to say for your fingers today? - [Interviewer] I love it. I love it. (interviewer laughing) Well, Joanne has been such a pleasure to spend time with you and to hear all your wonderful news and to witness your creative path. It's a beautiful open,

present and joyful path, It feels to me. - [Joanne] Well, thank you for your inspiration. You know, big presence in a lot of our paths, it means a lot. - [Interviewer] Thank you. We're, co-creating something very beautiful. - [Joanne] Yes. Keep up the great work. - [Interviewer] Yeah, likewise. Thank you, Joanne. - [Joanne] Thank you. - [Interviewer] See you again. - [Joanne] You too. Bye bye.


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