The Artist Date
Are you indifferent to your own needs? Are you maybe not even aware that you have needs? Perhaps you've made such a habit out of sublimating your own needs for those of others that you've forgotten.
We schedule. We juggle. We try to fit an impossible number of activities into a finite amount of time. I know I live by the lists and time slots in my planner. I feel like every moment is scheduled weeks in advance.
We give priority to others. Child A needs to the see the dentist. Child B has a playdate. Child C needs a new pair of shoes. Each sacred event is given a slot and time.
Work, of course, has the biggest claim on our time. Bosses and clients cannot be put off or put on pause. They need what they need now or sooner.
For those that keep a clean house and prepare healthy meals nightly, (not me on this one), food must be prepped and cooked so everyone eats on time. Untidiness must be attended to as it pops up again and again. Probably we haven't even scheduled in the tidying up as it is something we must just squeeze in a few times a day.
All these things leave you and your needs at the bottom of the priority list. How many slots have you allotted yourself? How much time have you scheduled just for you? Do you give yourself any priority as a means to keep yourself sane or to allow yourself time for creative reflection?
Thus, the importance of the Artist's Date (source: "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron)
I know that if my head is awash in details and tasks, I possess no bandwidth for creative thought. I can only concentrate on one big project at a time.
For me, I began to believe that my dreams were my main source of creative ideas. I'd scheduled my creative needs as an artist to the time when I should be resting. I make my living as an artist but I'd put my creative needs (the most important aspect of my practice) at the very bottom rung on my priority list.
This is not sustainable.
I've done the Artist Way program before and when I did, I would remember to make myself a priority. I would schedule that weekly outing and remember how essential it was to creating new work. But as the weeks and months passed, I would stop including me in the weekly schedule. I would prioritize everything else over me because that was what I learned to do so long ago.
Re-programming ourselves is an ongoing process. I know better but I keep having to learn these lessons over and over again. Remembering to care for self is something I have to re-learn. I know better but I let other things edge their way into my schedule and put myself and my creative needs last.
I need to do better. I've re-booted the Artist Way program and remembering how important that weekly date with self is. Schedule yourself in. Give yourself an hour or two a week for just you.
Go out and see something visually stimulating. Go shoe shopping. Go to the park. Go hiking. Go to a museum. Go for a stroll on a quiet city street. Do something that gets your creative juices humming. (My favorite outings are to my local cemeteries, but that's me)
If the weather is too hot or too cold, work on something fun at home or at a local coffee shop. Break out the crayons or the puzzle pieces. Work on something that you don't plan on selling or gifting. Work on something just for fun; just to flex your creative muscles and break out of your usual routine.
When you're making your weekly schedule, make you the priority. Fit everything else around you. You may experience a bit of blow back from friends and family, but stand your ground. Establish this as a boundary that none may cross.
You matter. Your needs are important. You need this. You deserve this. This is your sacred time and they need to respect that. Insist on this.
You are there for them so often. You do for others. Please remember that you matter too. Give yourself this time and space. Schedule that sacred time, just for creative needs. Make this time just for you.