“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.” John Updike
I often wake up in the middle of the night with inspirations in various forms. If I’m writing something, ideas might flow in. When I have spent a day editing film, moving images flash through my brain. And, since I’m a teacher of expressive arts work, a vision of a creative experience might arrive. This is what happened when I came up with my creative mini-retreats. My train of thought was as follows – we are isolating ourselves through online communication and over-stimulus. There are so many demands, and our world problems are so complex; it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the forest for the trees. Let me provide a simple and accessible day for us to unplug and create in community. I felt moved to offer a space to encourage expression and connection that could provide respite and perspective.
Taking time out for creative expression is what artists have done for centuries. This is how great paintings, music, dance, theater, books, films (and the list goes on) get made. We need incubation time to birth something new, but also to nourish the spirit. Julia Cameron, who wrote the famous The Artist’s Way’ coined the term ‘artist date’ which is something I’ve incorporated into my life over the years. It is a date with ourselves to step out of ordinary life in order to find inspiration in the world. It might be a museum tour, visiting a park and writing poetry, going to hear live music or seeing a film and soaking in the impressions. I work with many professional artists, but I believe firmly that we are all creative and that artistic expression is medicine for each and every one of us. I have also found that creating with others can generate a whole other level of vitality and fortification.
5 REASONS FOR A CREATIVE DAY:
RE-FUEL: Burn out, overwhelm, and isolation are commonplace in this modern world. There are many ways to practice self-care, but art-making offers a unique opportunity to listen to ourselves and gather energy. If we can take better care of ourselves, we have more capacity to be there for others and the causes we believe in.
GET PERSPECTIVE: There is so much to negotiate in life, including world events that are bombarding us on a daily basis. If we don’t prioritize quiet space (or don’t have the luxury of time) to process our experiences and emotions, we can get bogged down. Art expression allows us to reflect and find some distance so we can re-group and get perspective.
FIND JOY: A phrase I like to use – ‘art helps us step out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary’. The creative environment is a potent place where we can let our cares go for a time. Being present and finding the flow of creative expression is relaxing and joyful.
CONNECT: Engaging in social media or other forms of online communication serves a purpose but is limited in terms of how much we can truly be connected. Nothing compares to in person contact and sharing with others. Finding creative outlets and venues where we can be together is where we can really be seen and heard.
VISION YOUR LIFE: I often reference this quote from the poet/writer, Rainer Marie Rilke, “You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born.” Before we can create something new, we must imagine it first. Finding new images, stories, and dances that reflect our dreams and desires helps us take steps to build a more fulfilling life.
WANT TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP? Come join me for one of my day retreats at the San Francisco Zen Center. Find all the details HERE
AND…I have decided to start implementing a Scholarship Donation component to my offerings. Many people can’t afford to come to these kind of workshops and retreats so they get shut out of opportunities for self-care. If you are unable to attend but know the power of expressive arts and creative work, consider donating a scholarship (which is the price of a ticket). If you are coming, but also want to provide a space for an artist or person who would benefit, buy two tickets! This is a way I’m working to provide inclusivity and art for everyone.
Self-Published August 2019