Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Julia Cameron’s “Artist Date?” I see a lot of hands out there. Possibly some eyeball rolls, too. Including mine… until recently.
In our current round of Women’s Circles, we are exploring awakening creativity and purpose in midlife and beyond. And one of the practices is the artist date – a solo date with your inner artist to explore something that delights you. So, with part curiosity and part “been there, done that,” I headed out to try one. The result was surprising. (It ended with an unexpected mystery date… but more on that later.)
I decided to keep things really simple for my date – a walk in an artsy old neighborhood, followed by a latte and writing at Mozart’s, my favorite coffee shop. I drove over, parked and set off…
As I began walking, nothing much happened on the outside. I saw houses, trees, cars – you know, typical neighborhood-y type things. What happened was on the inside. I entered the experience in a way I rarely do — with zero expectations. There was no plan to walk faster to get the extra bit of exercise. To see something amazing so I’d have a great story later. Not even an expectation that this artist date be “successful.” (Whatever that means.) I simply showed up.
As I walked, I noticed a shift. The leaves seemed brighter on the trees. The smell of the gardens captivated me and I had a flash of Caribbean salt air. My wonder unfolded as I peered at an artsy front porch with a whimsical female day-of-the-dead sculpture. By simply showing up, something shifted at such a deep level that it felt like I was even moving differently. When I headed to the coffee shop 30 minutes later, I felt completely inspired and refreshed.
But how quickly we forget.
Instead of staying expansive, I contracted as I sat by the lake and started focusing on my project and blocking out everything else. Slowly the color of the sun on the water disappeared. The turtles poking their heads out of the water faded. Even the music drifting across the water evaporated.
None of that is “bad.” But it’s not an artist date. I had moved out of presence and up into a tight little space in my brain.
Then I heard a rustle and a thud as someone else sat down across from me. My concentration broke, I looked up, and there at the table was unexpected company. A duck! It politely looked over the table at me, and then at my latte.
I had to laugh. The meaning was clear. Loosen up. Come back to the infinite wonder of the moment. Embrace the lighthearted and unexpected gifts of life.
Moral of the story? Sorry, I can’t resist — don’t duck your date!
I’d love to hear your experience with artist dates. Waddle over here to comment…
Winter Creative Soul Women’s Circles
January to April, 2017
Interested in self-discovery in an intimate Women’s Circle? The next series begins in January and will be based on Julia Cameron’s latest book — “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.”
Details to be announced soon…
Tackling Soft Addictions
Thursday, October 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Seton Cove, Austin, Texas
Have you ever found yourself craving a life of more meaning… only to find yourself surfing the internet? Or binge watching shows on Netflix? Soft addictions are those numbing habits we ALL have which satisfy a surface want… yet block us from meeting deeper needs and desires. (Or goals — remember that book you’ve been thinking about writing?) They sap our time, energy and emotions.
During this workshop, we will take a humorous, non-judgmental look at the appeal of soft addictions and how they show up in our lives. Then we will explore our deeper spiritual hungers and how to meet those in a way that leads to a more fulfilling, engaged and meaningful life. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”