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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guest blogging begins... Living a Creative Life

Amanda Hirsch, who writes about creative living in her blog, Creative DC, will be writing for Hip Tranquil Chick this week while Kimberly is out of town and away from Internet access. Kimberly will be back on Sunday the 27th.

As an avid reader of Hip Tranquil Chick and a big fan of Tranquil Space Yoga, it's an honor to be filling in for Kimberly while she's away.
While I'm no yoga guru, and have not yet perfected Kimberly's ability to look glamorous at all hours of the day, even after an intensely sweaty yoga practice (no, no, I'm not jealous at all) -- we do have a lot in common. I, too, am obsessed with my dog (Cosmo); I, too, cherish the role yoga plays in my life (even if I haven't yet mustered a headstand); and I, too, had my life changed forever when I read a little book called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.

If you've read The Artist's Way, you know what I'm talking about - and if you haven't read it, there's no day like today. "But I'm not an artist," you may be thinking. It doesn't matter. If even the smallest corner of you yearns for a more creative life -- yearns to marry the life you dream about with the day-in, day-out of your everyday existence -- then these are 224 pages worth reading.

Fittingly enough, my first encounter with The Artist's Way was through a creativity circle held at Tranquil Space, back in 2004. I had just started the studio's newbie yoga series, and saw a flyer for the circle in one of the dressing rooms. I was feeling stuck in my life, particularly in my career, and fantasizing constantly about moving away -- life had to be more fulfilling in [San Francisco/New York/Costa Rica/insert location here].

I didn't know that what I needed was "creative recovery" -- Cameron's name for the process the book facilitates -- but by the time I'd read the first chapter, I knew I was on the right path. Six months later, I was rearranging my work schedule to give myself more time to write. Three months after that, I started taking improv classes. Then I started a personal blog. Then I was invited to join an improv troupe. Then I bought the house I'd always dreamed of. And just last month, I left my full-time job as the director of a major media Web site to pursue a freelancing career -- and, hopefully, to develop my second blog, Creative DC, into a full-fledged business. Oh, and incidentally, Creative DC is about living creatively in our nation's capital -- a far cry from where I was two years ago, when I thought fulfilment only existed elsewhere.

I've come to believe your life is your art. Too often we let ourselves feel trapped by circumstance ("Life would be more interesting if I lived somewhere else"), or victimized by other people's expectations, or what we imagine their expectations to be. The Artist's Way calls our bluff, daring us to name what it is we want, and then to pair our dreams with action.

"We give what we most want to get," Eve Ensler once said, "and we teach what we most want to learn." In that spirit, I'm happy to share that starting in September, I'll be leading a creativity circle at Tranquil Space. Creative living, I've realized, isn't a lesson learned once -- it's a daily practice. And like yoga, the practice of creativity can provide solace, unleash joy, and help you tap into your own incredible power.

Have you read The Artist's Way? Share your experiences with the book, and ideas for creative living, by submitting a comment below.

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Regina said...

Thanks, Amanda! HTC has been a great source of inspiration for me, and I am glad you posted about this book which started you on your way to a more creative life. Seems to be exactly what I need right now!

Anonymous said...

I’m looking forward to reading the Artist’s Way. It’s officially in my wish list.
Great post.

Greetings from Miami, FL