"An Artist Date is an idea that has taken off in the years since Julia Cameron published her book The Artist's Way. The basic idea behind an Artist Date is that you intentionally take time to feed your creative soul. There is a large community of folks engaging in these artist dates, and you can find many ideas online.
Recently, one of my favorite podcasters, Kimberly Wilson, issued an Artist Date Challenge. Always up for a little competition, I've been reaching down deep to make my Artist Dates both regular and interesting. What has surprised me is how helpful they are, and how short they can be. When dedicating yourself to a weekly Artist Date, suddenly you free yourself from making it SO VERY IMPORTANT!!! Suddenly, it is just a little alone time wherein you answer the question, "What do I want to do?"
Last week's Artist Date was particularly helpful. I had become completely overwhelmed at the idea of fundraising for the Eve's Secret trip to Prague, finishing the script of Eve's Secret, marketing for the Eve's Secret premiere, etc, etc, etc., in addition to all those other things that come up in, you know, life. I was beginning to lose sight of the bigger picture. I decided that I needed to stop, step back, and remind myself of why I do what I do, to connect to that bigger picture.
As most of my Artist Dates begin, so, too, did this one. I lit the candles in my meditation corner, a little retreat in my office,
turned on some favorite music, and collected the necessary supplies for building a vision board for the first quarter of 2010. (A vision board is a visual representation of what you hope to manifest in the coming months. Many people do these as a collage.) I sat down at my desk with a cup of hot chai and began to dream.
Flipping through magazines, I clipped images that spoke to me and my aspirations. I drew my attention to where I want to be this time next year, and I meditated on images and words that inspired that sense of fulfillment. Surprisingly, I had a difficult time finding images that evoked that feeling. Admittedly, I was distracted by my recent car trouble. My car's clutch finally gave out and, due to the age and wear on the car, we have decided to replace it, which means adding a car payment to the household budget. I also have this wonderful opportunity to take my labor of love, Eve's Secret, to Prague and connect with artists from all over the world. So I was distracted by my singular focus on that project. Regardless of these distractions, though, finding images that spoke to that sense of fulfillment I seek over the coming year was really difficult.
I finally exhausted the options in my magazines, but had few images to show for it. I set about making a collage incorporating those images and my own drawings and words. It soon became evident that this was an exercise in futility. I pitched all the clippings and rough starts, cleared off my desk and started again.
This time, though, I took a few moments to pause, breathe, ask for inspiration, and open my heart to what The Muse had to offer. With colored pencils, watercolor (borrowed from my three year old's art room), and glitter glue in hand, I began to create. The result is an image that connects with me because it is how I see myself now, incorporated with the woman I mean to be in the coming months. When I completed her, I was filled with a feeling of confidence, calm, and hope.
She sits on my desk, now, watching over the goings on as I tend to actions that will cultivate the seed of that woman within me.
I invite you to unleash your inner creative and go on an Artist Date this week. Taking some time out from the "have to-dos" for the "want to-dos" can do amazing and surprising things, recharging you for those "have to-dos." An Artist Date does not have to be time-consuming, something that used to keep me from doing them, and they can be absolutely free-of-charge. I also guarantee that when done with the right intention, and not just as another "have to-do," your creative well will be replenished and you will return to your pursuits re-inspired. Just like yoga and writing, it is just in the showing up that you are faithful to your self.
Below are some suggestions and Artist Dates I have documented recently. Have fun!
1. Feeling stuck or flustered? Stop, put on your jacket and walk around the block. Listen to music or listen to the birds, but get out and move your bones a little.
2. Go to a used book store and browse. WARNING: Can result in a more expensive outing that you'd planned.
3. Read a book for -shock! horror!- f.u.n. I am terrible about reading ONLY industry books and periodicals. All work and no play...you know what they say.
4. Play a game of sudoku or work a crossword puzzle.
5. Pour an extra cup of coffee and watch the world go by your window, preferably with a dog or cat in your lap.
A late afternoon date with myself, just in time for the start of Happy Hour at a favorite micro-brew pub here in Louisville.
A little break from a hard day's work with a luxurious Legs Up the Wall pose."