Can Your Inner Artist Save Your Life (or at least your bacon?)
I’ve had a lot of days this last year when I felt a lot like this old typewriter.
Worthless, rusty, archaic and unable to create anything at all.
When you’re a writer, that sucks. Because writers are, by preference if not definition, artists. And artists are, supposedly anyway, creative by nature.
So when my creative nature starts feeling like an old friend whose address I’ve gone and lost, I experience an identity crisis.
I begin to question what I’m going to do, if I cannot create. Because every aspect of what I do – writing blogs and books, holding conversations with audiences, group or individual coaching – requires that I be able to create.
So I begin to question how I’m going to pay the bills, if I cannot create.
I begin to question what I’m worth, if I cannot create.
And in asking that question I begin to realize that we all pay our bills by creating.
We create solutions, we create distractions, we create incentives, we create a new way of doing something or we create a system for doing something the old way the same way every time.
We are all artists!
The love of my life is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and genius at making movement make sense. And he says to me often, “Everyone is an athlete. We would all rather dance through life than crawl through it and that means training the body to dance.”
Of course you’ve heard me say I’m a firm believer that we are all entrepreneurs because we all have an undertaking – whether it’s our business, our job, or our life. You’ve seen this before, but I’ll share it again – the origin of the word “entrepreneur.”
< French: literally, one who undertakes (some task), equivalent to entrepren ( dre )
to undertake (< Latin inter- inter- + prendere to take, variant of prehendere ) + -eur -eur.
But it had never occurred to me that we are all artists.
And that our connection with our inner artist could keep us sane. And keep us solvent.
That is, it had never occurred to me until I took my Inner Artist on a date.
I blame Jacob Nordby. (I don’t think he’ll mind.)
Jacob is a fellow artist, author of The Divine Arsonist, and co-author with me and 48 others of The Thought That Changed My Life Forever.
He is also the organizer, instigator and instructor for Insight Event’s three week creative intensive – Creative Unbootcamp. (The course starts Thursday, January 16th – Join us!)
I’ve been participating in the pre-course conversations on the private Facebook page and Jacob suggested that we get our creative juices flowing by reading (or in my case, rereading) The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.
(It’s a funny thing, I remembered the instructions for morning pages, although I haven’t done them in years, but I’d completely forgotten about the Artist’s Date.)
The concept is that when we don’t have enough unfamiliar stimuli, or we’re too distracted to notice anything new, our creativity melts away like a snowman in a downpour.
Sounded familiar. So I scheduled an Artist’s Date with my Inner Artist.
I double dated actually. Philip and his Inner Artist, me and mine. We went to lunch together, then split up into two twosomes to explore the Missouri Botanical Garden’s post-Polar Vortex glories.
I expected to head straight for the Climatron – the warmest site the Garden has to offer. But I wanted to give Philip a head start so I wandered the other direction first. And became lost in unexpected fantasies – snowballs floating in a sea of white, fish rising up from an icy pond, bells still and silent, and saucer magnolia buds creamy white against a Virgin Blue sky.
I’d vowed not to touch my phone, but it wasn’t a phone, it was a camera and it captured for me the words that would come later.
I wrote realizations – about male and female holly trees and statues that don’t shiver in the snow even when they’re wearing little or nothing at all.
I wrote the first chapter to my second fiction novel – even though I haven’t had the courage to publish the first.
I chatted with a stranger in the Woodland Garden, and a squirrel who must have known me in a previous life, he was that unfazed by my company.
And finally, an hour later, as I saw the glass dome of the Climatron and realized I had been so busy noticing everything else I hadn’t noticed the cold, I saw the other twosome of my double date striding along the sidewalk ahead of me. Clearly he had found both his Inner Athlete and his Inner Artist, because he sprung from step to step like a dancer. I almost tried to catch him up, I almost called his name. But my Inner Artist said, “We aren’t finished yet. You’re still with me.”
Which gave me time to reflect on how I was seeing everything through a different lens, even someone who has been part of my daily life for nearly two years.
The colors were brighter, the contrasts were sharper, the sounds were clearer, and my mind was a magnet for new ideas, new realizations, new combinations.
That was Saturday. Since that date I’ve noticed that I get edgy if I don’t make time to write, that I am more articulate (even eloquent if I do say so myself) when responding to clients or comments. I FEEL every inch the artist that I know myself to be!
But that feeling isn’t just because my Inner Artist is purring like a well-fed kitten. It’s also because I’ve started seeing everyone as the artist I now know them to be.
I’m an artist because everyone’s an artist. It’s not an elite designation (that’s an artiste and I’ll pass on that title, thank you) it’s an essential element of our nature. I’m human. I create. If I cannot create I die inside.
I know my inner artist and I will have many more dates, it’s a life-long relationship we have, she and I.
Because our relationship is essential, not only to my ability to earn a living, but to my ability to live my life.
If you feel like getting better acquainted with your Inner Artist would give you a better life and a better living, I encourage you to explore Jacob’s Creative Unbootcamp Course. Hopefully this won’t be the last time he offers it, so if you’ve missed this one drop him a message and get on the announcement list.
By the way, there are more pictures from our Artist’s Date are over on my Facebook Page.