In her book, The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron insists that a healthy artistic lifestyle includes what she refers to as 'artist dates'. Essentially, it's a day or afternoon intentionally set aside for the sole purpose of doing something that stirs and inspires your creativity. She suggests taking yourself on an 'artist date' at least once a week, if possible.
Since I've been in Nashville this week hanging out with my little sister-in-law, I've made it a point to revel in as much 'date' time as possible. I've roamed the beautiful Vanderbilt University campus, explored a number of quiet coffee shops, taken endless photos of changing leaves, hiked the trails around Radnor lake to my hearts content...and I have to agree that such intentional, creativity-inspiring rendezvous are imperative. I've found all my life, though especially in the past few years, that if I don't carve out time to create or be creative it literally wreaks havoc in my life. Simply put, if I'm not doing the thing I was created to do, I start feeling as if my life lacks purpose and it snowballs into nonsense. My relationships become stressed, I don't eat well or rest properly, I wrestle with temptation and shades of depression, self-loathing even. Honestly, I freak out. It's one of many dramatic components of the artistic personality (and one my husband least understands and gets a great deal of amusement out of, not in a funny way, but in a fascinated I-think-my-wife-might-be-sort-of-self-destructing kind of way). We're both learning to deal with it in a healthy manner, and without question, 'artist dates' are now a staple which help me do so.
I've spent an incredible amount of time gazing upwards this week, marveling at the colors of Fall suspended in the trees. Unfortunately in Texas we only have like, 2 trees that actually change color, so I can't get enough of this vibrant Tennessee autumn. Poor Dakotah has been forced to endure my constant pulling the car over on the side of the road to gawk at leaves, and my filling her phone to capacity with photos when I've wandered off without my camera. She's just laughs at my sincere but dramatic declarations, "LOOK at those colors! It's simply STUNNING!" I literally make some variation of that statement at least a dozen times a day.
But I make no apology, because each and every time I stop to gaze upwards, one of my favorite quotes seems whispered in my ear again...
"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."--Henry Miller
That I am this week, certainly, intentionally...that I am.