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Last Chance Artist Date!

Hey, everyone. Rebecca here again.

Have you gone on your Artist Date this week?

No?

I haven’t, either.

Isn’t it funny how something that sounds so fun can be so hard to prioritize? I wouldn’t break a date with my husband. I wouldn’t ditch a friend’s party or cancel a doctor’s appointment. But spending time alone, soaking in inspiration to do the things I love? Well, putting that off is as easy as skipping a workout – another thing I know can only do me good.

So, in the spirit of the famous last-chance workout on “The Biggest Loser,” I’m proposing a Last Chance Artist Date for this week!

Browse the books and magazines at a library or bookstore. Rent a movie. Go to a costume shop. See an art exhibit. Visit a fall festival, an art supply store, or craft shop. Pick a project to tackle, and run out for supplies.

I know, according to TAW, we should go on our Artist Date alone. But sometimes, that just doesn’t work out, especially on the weekends. Don’t let that stop you. Yes, we need to make time to be creative and seek out inspiration, but the occasional Artist Date with a date, friend or kids in tow is far better than no Artist Date at all.

What are you planning (or what did you do) for your Artist Date this week? There’s still time to get that Last Chance Artist Date in! Let’s go!!!

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Hey, everyone! Rebecca here.

You know, I thought I had a handle on the things we’re covering in this chapter. I’d dealt with the poisonous playmates, the crazymakers and the skepticism. I don’t have a problem paying attention to the “small things.” I love the small things. I was in line to get an A++ in Week 2.

Then I got to the exercises.

Have you done any of the exercises yet?

Question 2 was an eye-opener: Where does your time go?

I thought I knew. I mean, I’m a freelance writer with a food blog. My top five activities would have to be writing, cooking, shooting photos, promoting my site, and planning future projects, right?

Well, I DO do all of those things, but not every day.

Nope, on a daily basis, one of my top five activities is wasting time on the Internet. Letting myself get sucked into checking e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Reading articles and blog posts for HOURS.

I can’t be the only one who does this.

Then I got to question 8: List 10 changes you’d like to make for yourself, from the significant to the small.

No problem, right? But as I was writing my list, I started feeling really anxious. And as I started feeling really anxious, I really, really wanted to check my e-mail.

So, yes, I learned something about myself. I learned that I use my time online to numb myself to anxiety. I have anxiety, because I’m not making changes. I’m not making changes, because I’m online too much. It’s a vicious cycle.

Thanks, Julia.

Do I want to waste my time on mindless crap? NO! I have too many things I want to do! So now that I’m aware of what’s going on, I’m determined to break the cycle. I have my list of 10 tiny changes on a notecard, and I’m challenging myself to finish them before the end of the year. (I’ve already got the hallway taped up and ready to be painted!)

*** What about you? Have you learned anything from the exercises? Were you freaked out by seeing how you REALLY spend your time? Confess! ***

Continuing Week TWO

There’s a lot of info in Week 2 so we’ve decided to extend it for another week.  Everyone cool with that?

Okay then.

Balance is good, don’t you think?

The No. 7 Task at the back of Chapter 2 is a particularly good one.  We often favor one or two areas of our lives thereby neglecting others.  These six key areas are:

  • Spirituality
  • Exercise
  • Play
  • Work
  • Friends
  • Romance / Adventure

I’ve also read that there are in fact SEVEN, not six, key life areas.  These would be:

  • Spiritual
  • Intellectual
  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Professional
  • Recreational
  • Physical

Whichever list you tend toward, they are very similar. 

In order for your life to be harmonious and balanced, you need activity in and attention to each of these areas.  Do you have it?  In what areas are you lacking?  This exercise is great because it will not only help to enhance your creativity, it will enhance and add to your overall well-being and quality of life. 

Take this a bit further and make a short list of activities you can do in each area once or several times each week and do them.  Balance is good!

101 Artist’s Date Ideas.

  1. Visit an artist’s supply shop.
  2. Spend some time outdoors with your journal, sketchbook, craft supplies, etc.
  3. Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
  4. Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
  5. Set a timer, and spend an hour working on something you’ve been putting off.
  6. Create an artist’s workspace in your home.
  7. See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
  8. If you don’t have an artist’s blog, start one.
  9. Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
  10. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
  11. Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit, etc.
  12. Plant something. Start your own herb garden. Butterfly garden. Plant a tomato or some bulbs. Try a “guerilla garden,” and scatter seeds randomly somewhere to see what grows.
  13. Spend an hour going through your books. Pick ten to read or re-read and ten to donate to charity.
  14. Go to a thrift store. Give yourself 5$ to spend and find something really great that you can do something creative with.
  15. Take a walk on a nature trail. Take your camera.
  16. Write a letter – longhand, on pretty paper – to an old friend.
  17. Give yourself a beauty treatment – a cuticle treatment, a foot soak, exfoliation, hot oil treat, etc.
  18. Go sit at the pond and play in your sketchbook.
  19. Visit all of your childhood playhouse and fort sites.
  20. Sit in the driveway and make designs with pretty rocks. Sing campfire songs.
  21. Sit in the porch-swing and lean your head back as far as you can and look up at the tree branches backward. Think of as many Shakespearean poems as you can while you are doing this.
  22. Send a care package to your best friend or to a family member… just because. Take time and care to put loving and thoughtful things into it. Be creative. Make things. Be as careful with the packaging as you are with what you actually put into it. Include notes and loving sentiments. Get as much from it as they will in receiving it.
  23. Go to Home Depot with 10$ in your pocket. See what cool things you can find there to create and art project with that 10$ (only). Go crazy.
  24. Wine and dine yourself… go to dinner and a movie.
  25. Choose a fantasy mentor. Take time to read their books, watch their videos, learn about their life as an artist. Let them inspire you.
  26. Go cloud watching.
  27. Spend some time browsing around Etsy.com and create a Favorites list – a list of items there that speak to you on a creative level – to refer back to and be creatively inspired by.
  28. As a follow-up, contact some of the artists that created items from your list. Tell them that you admire their work; inquire about their technique; start a conversation. There is nothing better than being in contact with and becoming friends with fellow creatives.
  29. Try an all-day drawing marathon. Wherever you are, take your journal or sketchbook and start drawing. You could participate in a SketchCrawl event: http://www.sketchcrawl.com/
  30. Take yourself on a culinary artist date, and try a new cuisine, recipe, restaurant, fruit, vegetable, etc.
  31. Create a self-portrait.
  32. Take a walk with someone else’s iPod. Expose yourself to new music.
  33. Move your body. Try Tai Chi, Pilates, yoga, bellydancing, etc.
  34. Spend a day naked.
  35. Write a poem.
  36. Plan a road trip.
  37. Write a letter to the person you plan to be in ten years.
  38. Write a letter to your parents. Tell them what you are grateful to them for. Send it.
  39. Go to the library and find a book on a topic that you know very little about but that looks very fascinating to you. Check it out. Read it.
  40. Schedule your yearly check-up appointments (eyes, teeth, physical, girl parts, etc.)
  41. Take a self-portrait everyday for a week.
  42. Have a massage or a facial.
  43. Take a creativity course at the local community college or community center.
  44. Go to an estate sale or a yard sale.
  45. Garden.
  46. Watch a movie you’ve always thought you’d hate.
  47. Make a list of one hundred things you love about yourself.
  48. Make a list of one hundred things that make you happy.
  49. Mix a CD of songs that inspire you.
  50. Mix a CD of songs that you’ve never heard before, that you simply like the titles of.
  51. Find a fun, new creative blog to read.
  52. Have a complete day of silence.
  53. Have a technology-free day.
  54. Watch a movie with the subtitles on.
  55. Write a Love List.
  56. Color a mandala (Thanks Abby!)  Get one here or here.
  57. Cook from scratch.
  58. Have a silent day.
  59. Take a day and go to a neighboring town and poke around.
  60. Go to a local market.
  61. Go to a u-pick farm.
  62. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
  63. Create an accomplishment board
  64. Create a vision board.
  65. Make a “bucket list”.
  66. Make a list of things you want to do before Christmas.
  67. Make a list of thirty things you’d like to do before your next birthday.
  68. Organize your closet.
  69. Create a piece of artwork entirely with things from your recycle bin.
  70. Get a hammock.  Lie in it often.
  71. Go for a bike ride.
  72. Blare your favorite music while baking something delicious.
  73. Fly a kite.
  74. Take a hike (literally).
  75. Read a children’s book.
  76. Read poetry aloud… to yourself.
  77. Visit a plant nursery and plan your dream garden in your mind.
  78. Take a day for yourself, rent all the movies that your favorite actor or actress made and watch them.
  79. Go somewhere you haven’t been since you were a child.
  80. Drive.  Aimlessly.
  81. Give yourself five dollars to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it.
  82. Walk the historical part of your town and make architectural sketches.
  83. Take yourself on a picnic to the park.  (Dogs can go too.)
  84. Go to a free museum.
  85. Create an account at Pinterest.  Mark pictures that inspire you and make you want to create.
  86. Create a Look Book.
  87. Take an hour and have tea.  Use your nice dishes, including the creamer.
  88. People watch.
  89. Collect fall leaves and then take photos of them in whatever neat compositions you can.
  90. Read an old journal.
  91. Watch a documentary (or read a biography) on your favorite artist.
  92. Finger paint.
  93. Take a walk around your town looking for heart-shaped objects (or any shape).  Take photos.
  94. Buy a box of 64 crayons and a coloring book.  Have fun!
  95. Go to an old graveyard.  Stay long enough to get spooked.  Notice all that’st there while you are there.
  96. Play tourist in your own town.  Visit the local tourism office and see what you might not have known before.
  97. Go to the hardware store.  Create an art piece with items on bought there.
  98. Play at a park.  Swing.  Slide.  Hang from monkey bars.
  99. Go to a cafe and write out any of the “bonus exercises” in TAW.
  100. Carve out an hour and write notes, letters and cards to those you love.  Mail them.
  101. Go to a pet store or shelter and play with or exercise the animals that are waiting for good homes.

(Some of these on the list may be similar to one another or repeats.  I didn’t go back and check for redundancy.  If they are shown twice, that just means they are really good!)

Now… YOUR TURN!
Name five (or more) Artist’s Date ideas to be added to our list.

Skepticism & Attention.

Have you ever gotten in your own way?  I think we all have at one time or another.  So often we think we know best when what we really need is to let synchronicity take over. 

Ah, synchronicity.  Such a great word.

It takes awhile to get the hang of synchronicity but it is a wonderful thing when you do.  You have to want it, recognize it, believe in it, trust that it will happen.  The thing is… we don’t always have to micromanage things.  Micromanaging usually equals stressing out and fretting.  That is a waste of time and energy.  Make efforts toward your creativity, do your pages, your artist’s dates, etc. but don’t stress out.  Trust that these actions and your intention will set the Universe into motion to work on your behalf.  And when it does, TAKE IT!  Go with it!  Be thankful for it!

Sometimes we really do just have to let go and believe in ourselves and that things will happen as they should. 

Of course, to realize this is happening, we must PAY ATTENTION!  Like Cameron’s Grandmother, we have to pay attention to the nuances in life because often that is exactly where changes are taking place.

Have you ever missed an opportunity that you now see was the Universe working in your favor?

What would you like to pay more attention to?

Do you believe in and pay attention to synchronicity?  (A good practice is to keep up with instances of synchronicity in a journal.  The more you notice it, the more it will happen.)

TEN TINY CHANGES
List ten tiny changes you’d like to make for yourself, from small things to big things.  Ex. “I would like to_________.”

Week 2: Crazymakers!

“Poisonous playmates” can be hard to recognize, but crazymakers … we know EXACTLY who they are:

•The brother who announces that he’s not traveling for the holidays, so everyone has to come to his house.

•The co-worker who greets you by saying she thinks the boss is mad at you.

•The friend who invites you to an expensive restaurant and sticks you with the bill.

•The overbearing grandmother who plans your child’s birthday party – at your house – without asking you.

•The significant other who blames you for his or her lack of success.

WHY do you put up with your crazymaker’s behavior? Because she’s your sister? Because you’ve been friends since high school? Because “he’s an artist”?

In TAW, Julia argues that we put up with crazymakers, because they help us stay blocked. The energy we spend on dealing with them is energy we don’t have to put into our creative lives.

*** Have you identified any crazymakers in your life? How are you planning to handle them? ***

Week 2: Poisonous Playmates

The first time I read the section on poisonous playmates, I thought, “Oh, I don’t have any of those.”

Who would be trying to sabotage me?

That’s just crazy.

But think about whether any of the following scenarios sound a little too familiar:

1. You sit down to do something creative, and your significant other says, “You’re going to work on that? I thought we were going to watch ‘Sons of Anarchy’ together.”

2. You tell your mom that you’ve started to paint, and she says, “Do you remember how good Kim was in high school? She could paint anything, and now she works at the dentist’s office. Just goes to show …”

3. You’ve been listening to your best friend complain about her life for 30 minutes. When you suggest that she should find a creative outlet or try writing Morning Pages, she tells you that you’re “different.” And she doesn’t mean it as a compliment.

When we’re blocked, it’s easy to set our creative needs aside and be what other people “need” us to be. Who wants to deal with the guilt-tripping and the judgment? We don’t want to be accused of being selfish or not having time for other people. Selfish people are bad people, right?

So, we choose to nurture other people instead of ourselves.

But, let’s play “What If…”

WHAT IF claiming some creative time for yourself helps bring some of the spark and mystery back into your marriage?

WHAT IF your creative risk-taking inspires your mom to start playing the piano again – even if she’s “not as good” as the woman at church?

WHAT IF your best friend starts to realize that if you can be “different” and find happiness, she can, too?

Far from being selfish, nurturing ourselves could be the greatest thing we do for the other people in our lives.

***In TAW, Julia suggests that we “draw a sacred circle” around our recovery and not let other people derail us. Do you have a “poisonous playmate” or two in your life? What are you doing to protect your creative recovery from being derailed by them?***