You worry too much. Live out loud. Your thighs look great. Stop wondering about what will unfold. It’s all beautiful. Trust. You are a badass. Play! Don’t wait until you are an old wrinkled coot to play and be crazy. Try some pottery. Get some new lipstick for crying out loud! You are doing it my dear you are. You are me. You are magic. I believe in you.
Old fart Sarah
(I wrote this as an Artist’s Way exercise where we had to ask our future self for some advice. Pretty sure future me is way more badass than current me. I definitely want to grow up to be her! What would your wise crone share with you?)
I just completed week two of the 12 week Artist’s Way program for recovering your creative self. I need to put to page (er, screen) some of the shifts I have already seen in this short time. And I of course want to share with my readers because I know so many of you are artists, creatives, writers, spiritual seekers, and dreamers like myself.
Here are what I’ve seen so far as being some of the biggest shifts and interesting outcomes thus far:
A wonderfully delicious morning routine. Long ago I had a fabulous morning routine that involved waking at 6am, writing on this blog nearly daily, and gulping down copious amounts of cuban coffee. This routine ended up unraveling. The kid’s sleep routine changed and everything fell off the rails. The Artist’s Way has me back on track with waking early again (6am) and writing my morning pages. (Freestyle, stream-of-consciousness writing/journaling, for my eyes only.) It is awesome. I’m once again leaping out of bed, excited each morning for my time alone with a cup of chai and time to write.
Unexpected creative bursts and ideas. One of the week 2 exercises was to list all sorts of activities you love and the last time you did them. My list included a lot of things that I hadn’t experienced since the late 1980s or early 90s. As I brainstormed, all sorts of related but unexpected things came to mind. Like, oh I remember making friendship bracelets and loving it. Wait, that reminds me, didn’t I used to make things with beads? What did I make? In my mind’s eye I could picture the tiny beads and remembered the feel of holding them in my hands. So, “bead making” went on the list. And this led to the next discovery….
Unexpected parenting wins. Guess who would like to do 90% of the things on my list that I did when I was a kid? Why, my own kid! In fact, I shared the list with her and she was beyond ecstatic. I suddenly had a partner in crime. I went to the craft store without a plan, only following my whims (WOAH so right-brained of me!) and came home with bracelet making supplies.
I made a bracelet! My daughter did some beading and actually was pretty amazing at working with the tiny beads (which I thought would be too difficult for her five-year-old motor skills. I was wrong.) Overall, I’m becoming a more playful parent and I’m also doing a lot more creative stuff with my daughter. Y’all I bought puffy paints and did them with my daughter. We are having a blast! WIN-WIN. But not everything is fun and games…
ANGER. AND. FRUSTRATION!Guess what. When you have a lovely morning routine and your child suddenly realizes you are waking an hour earlier and wants to join you, you get really sad and annoyed. I know it’s not her fault that she wants to hang out with me – I am pretty awesome with the beads and puffy paints after all. BUT. . .my morning routine! My precious, precious morning routine. I did not like this disruption at all. Which is why it was no surprise that when I turned the book pages to read about WEEK THREE, it was all about…
Gaining Power and setting Boundaries. I laughed when I opened the chapter. OH. SO I AM RIGHT ON TRACK HUH? Because it turns out when you start having the creative bursts and experiencing the joy of creativity again, guess what? You don’t want that time taken away from you! But instead of becoming resentful or cranky (not that I was either of those things…never, not me!), Cameron writes how you can–guess what–address the boundary violations and fix them.
I’m still figuring out the morning routine. Today I had my time to myself, but I decided if my daughter does wake really early on future days, I will swap the morning routine – get her ready for preschool, take her to school, and then return home for the writing pages time alone. It isn’t ideal (because frankly there is something quite magical about sitting with my journal watching the sun rise…ahhhh) but I also need to find solutions that ditch the resentment and allow for flexibility when parenthood throws me a curve ball.
I recently re-listened to the On Being interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and gleaned a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t even resonate the first time I listened to it in 2016. (I love that by the way–how we come back again and again with new eyes, as we ride the spiral of life.) Host Krista Tippett discussed Gilbert’s description of creative work as a both/and similar to “the work of a farmer” (need to put in the sweat equity) AND occasionally being sprinkled with fairy dust (look for the magic).
“[the creative process is] a collaboration between a human being’s labors and the mysteries of inspiration.And that’s the most interesting dance that I think you can be involved in. But you are very much an agent in that story. You’re not just a passive receptacle. And also, it’s not entirely in your hands. And standing comfortably within that contradiction is, I think, where you find sanity in the creative process if you can find it.”
….[T]he universe is looking for collaborators because creation’s not finished. It’s not something that happened in seven days and ended. It’s an ongoing story that we’re part of. And it’s a much more interesting way to be part of that story to work in collaboration, and in partnership, and in friendly curiosity with it than to be terrified of it.”
-ELIZABETH GILBERT, interviewed in On Being (July 7, 2016 – Choosing Curiosity Over Fear)
I sent this awesome illustration to my friend Jen who is doing the Artist’s Way journey with me (hooray!). And I thought, wow we all need to see this. Such inspiration.
Interestingly, even though I was staring at the illustration I still wrote the title of the post as “I give you permission“–but the illustration actually says I give you courage. Apparently my inner child/creative is in need of permission to join this adventure, so permission I shall give her. You have permission to play and create! Go forth, creative one! And heck, here is some courage too!
(As a funny aside, I also read the image as saying “let Louise Inside you” and it made me very confused. Perhaps I just need new glasses? 🧐)
Anyway, day three with Artist’s Way and I’m digging it big time.
If anyone wants to join along on the Artist’s Way journey, feel free to comment and connect with me! I’m going to tag posts with “artist’s way” and feel free to do the same! Let’ play!