Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Art Play-Dates - Creative Self-Care

A post that is not about an iHanna DIY Postcard Swap?!
Well, there IS one happening now, so check it out!  
I have not made my cards yet...but I am inspired!  

...and read on....

I am offering Art Play-Dates as a way of sharing my favorite self-care activity…being creative, making stuff.   For many years I held Girls ARTisan Camps for my daughter and her friends.  When the moms came to pick up the girls after camp, they'd all say "I wanna do art camp!"

I know that one person’s self-care may not be another person’s, but here’s why I think creativity can be self-care for everyone.  

We may say “I’m not creative!” Some people have said to me: “I wish I was creative like you!”; we may tell ourselves we are not “artists” and cannot create “art”; we may sense that we are creative have no idea 
how to access that creativity.  

But, we are all creative beings.

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, has been called the seminal book on creativity.  In her book, she lays out the spiritual practice of creativity. She proposes, and I believe, that creativity is our true nature.  

We align ourselves with our own potential and truest essence when we intentionally engage ourselves in the practice of creating…anything…
even something bad.  

"Being willing to make bad art is actually being willing to make progress." - Julia Cameron

Willingness, intention, and mindfulness are all that is needed.  

You gotta be willing to play!  We are so engrained in our adulthood that we may be uncomfortable just letting ourselves be playful, waste paint, scribble like a kid.  If we adopt an attitude of playfulness (it may take some effort!), we free ourselves from the adult in our head who tells us we are "too old for this".

Mindfulness has become a mainstream concept, but it is only in practice that it is meaningful.  Mindfulness is being attentive to what’s happening now.  Our assumptions (about ourselves, our ability, what’s good or bad) and our limiting thoughts are all part of our history—they are grounded in the past.  Our worry and fear of not being good enough, or failing is about the unknown, what hasn’t happened yet—the future.  What’s left is something in between — the present moment.  This is where we are when we engage ourselves in process of creating something.  There is much research on how mindfulness is beneficial to our overall health, and creativity is mindfulness in action.

Intention is about where our head is at during this process—our mindset.  Are we on autopilot, or are we making conscious, mindful choices for ourselves?  Being on autopilot is a sign we are not present in the moment.  Making conscious choices for ourselves requires attention to what is happening right now.

In the book “Mindset” author Carol Dweck describes a fixed mindset, where we define everything, including ourselves, in absolutes, black or white, good or bad, success or failure.  She also describes a growth mindset which acknowledges that, as humans, we are many shades of gray.  A growth mindset allows us to see possibilities available to us, to learn something new, embrace mistakes as lessons, and work through the discomfort of not knowing into a place of awe and wonder -- discovering or creating something new.

“Nothing interesting begins with knowing.  It begins with not knowing."  
-Neuroscientist Beau Lotto-

Let’s take in what’s happening now and ask, what if?  
Experiment, try, mess up, try again.

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung said:  "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.”  When we suppress our nature, and allow our inner critic (limiting belief and fear) to rule us or  keep us from playing, we suppress a necessary function of our humanity.

One aspect of Julia Cameron’s creative practice is the “artist date”; this is a block of time you set aside for yourself to play, revive, refresh.  It could be making art, or writing, but it can also be going for a long walk or hike…whatever nourishes and refuels you.  It’s a time for self-care, i.e., caring for or nurturing ourselves to raise our energy to a higher level.  

This is where the name 'Art Play-Date' came from and that’s what I hope participants will experience and take away from each event.

We can raise our energy to a higher vibration.  Playing around with some art supplies in a fun and supportive space starts our practice.  Practicing creativity will connect us to our true selves and to the creative energy of the universe.  This uplifts us, makes things light, supports us, and gives us more vitality…energy.  It’s like we are traveling a highway instead of a rut-filled road.  I know that this happens for me when I create something, and that energy stays with me and sustains me in other aspects of my life.  Everything else, from getting out of bed in the morning, to my day job, or doing laundry, is easier when I have this energy.  

I hope to play with you soon!
And thanks for visiting my blog!
Sarah, a.k.a. Juicy*S