Pursuing joy

At some point this past year I decided I wanted my life to be about pursuit of joy rather than reduction of suffering. And to paraphrase Frost, it has made all the difference.

For me it looks like embracing my inner artist. I was born an artist but along the way morphed, conformed, forgot. It’s all good. The journey back to myself has been so sweet! I’m leaping into fear, taking an undergrad art class with students who are literally half my age. Fear and joy! Fear and joy! Even the smell of art supplies makes my heart sing.

Are there any small ways you can increase joy? Share you victories below!! I’m so happy to give virtual high fives to you brave souls.

Two weeks into Artist’s Way: big shifts and a return to 1980s crafting heaven

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.download

Here are what I’ve seen so far as being some of the biggest shifts and interesting outcomes thus far:

  1. 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.
  2. 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….
  3. 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.
    It turns out I like making beaded bracelets. What the what?!
  4. 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…
  5. 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…
  6. 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.
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    The morning sunrise view from my writing spot. Oh, so glorious!!
  7. 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 send you permission to let loose!

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!

 

Illustration by Sark

(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.

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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!

Creativity is the Natural Order of Life

Any Artist’s Way fans in the house? I started the 12-week book-guided journey today. I’m really excited!

If you aren’t familiar with the book, it helps to unblock and tap into the innate creativity we are all (yes all!) born with. The author does this by guiding the reader through twelve weeks of creative exercises along with two simple routines: daily writing called morning pages and weekly artist dates with yourself. The writing is for your own eyes only, serves as a brain dump primarily. The artists dates (time you carve out for yourself, for whatever strikes your fancy!) then helps fill your creative cup.

If anyone knows of a blogging community that does the program as a group, let me know!

I’m excited to see where it takes me.

We are all artists, as the author reminds us, though our dominant culture would like to deny it. Check out the book’s guiding principles below. Any favorites? I love number 5–the idea that using our creativity is not indulgence, childish or frivolous but rather a gift back to God/Goddess. Beautiful!

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