A funny thing occurred this weekend. Sunday morning arrived, I grabbed my usual mug of coffee and sat down at my computer to brainstorm my blog, and for the first time, nothing happened. Inside my brain, dead silence. It felt like the juice had been completely squeezed out of the orange… no more golden drops of deliciousness to let trickle onto the page.
It was literally hours later… after several false starts, that I finally realized what was happening: the well had run dry! This was a totally profound epiphany for me. Lol—I had found my blog topic. One of the most life-changing books I ever read was Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Cameron explains that we are all, in a sense, “artists.” We’re busy at work creating and manifesting our reality, and many of us are proactively and tirelessly pursuing our dreams. This process demands a lot of us: creativity, positivity, and tenacity. We all have a “well” within us from which we can draw to drive forward this creative process. Problems arise, however, when we fail to fill and replenish our well on a regular basis. Hence, “writer’s block!”
Looking back over my past month, this “well” metaphor makes so much sense! Following the planning and execution of a fashion show, I traveled three weekends in October, worked at the store 7 days a week otherwise, opened a new “On the Go” location, did my best to be there for my three children before and after school, put on a ballroom dance performance last weekend in conjunction with a trunk show, and yesterday hosted a big in-store event. All of this activity has been an absolute positive, an indication of a life full of richness. But, I have really not taken the time to replenish myself amidst all of this hustle and bustle.
What to do? How do we go about refilling the well? According to Cameron, it’s imperative that we take ourselves on a regular “artist’s date.” This is a planned time that we set aside just for ourselves on, ideally, a weekly basis. How much time we schedule, and what we plan to do with that time, is entirely individual. The only thing that matters is that the activity is something that ignites our spirit and inspires us. It doesn’t have to be an activity that’s ostensibly deep or profound. It could involve simply going to see an uplifting movie, getting a massage or doing yoga with our favorite instructor. To have a truly effective artist’s date, we have to be tuned into ourselves. What do we love? What thrills and motivates us? Is there something right now that we need or feel, perhaps, we’re lacking? Let these be the questions that guide our choice of activity.
Today, I’m tired, but I don’t think that physical rest is exactly what I need. I’m a little spiritually weary. I feel like I need to recharge my inner light bulb. I know exactly where I’m going on my Artist’s date: Whole Foods Market! After weeks on end of eating out because of busy schedules, I’m going to get back into the kitchen tonight, turn on some Stacy Kent, pour myself a glass of Malbec, and cook a mouth-watering dinner.
Here’s an essential note about getting the most out of your artist’s date: it only works if you’re fully present and in the moment. Going through the motions and completing it so you can check it off your list just won’t cut it. Whatever your activity is, engage in it with passion! Tonight, as I shop at the market, I’ll be looking for the most colorful vegetables and thinking of new ingredients I can add to tried and true dishes. I’ll try to savor that first drop of wine at home, and inhale that perfect fall-like smell of pecans toasting for the salmon dish I’m planning. As we sit down to dinner, I’ll converse less so that I can savor the flavors and textures of my food. And I’ll take a moment to give thanks for the blessing of my meal and my beautiful family.
If you have that nagging feeling inside of you that something just feels like it’s missing, try taking yourself on an artist’s date! If you have the time and inclination, take a moment to write about it afterwards to draw from it as much as possible. Keep it up consistently for a month or two and you may find that this is the best dating relationship of your life!