Last week I took myself on an Artist Date. If you’re anywhere familiar with creativity boosters you probably have heard of it – it’s a golden oldie to renew your creative spark. Developed by Julia Cameron, the Artist Date is a regular (she recommends weekly) date with yourself (solo!) to explore, play, refuel, to do something that deeply inspires you. And this date can be anything – from visiting a museum (my favorite), going to the movies, hiking some unfamiliar grounds, doing some basic unplugging to sitting ourselves down in our favorite coffee shop with zen coloring plates and fun pencils. It’s really a date with ourselves to re-enchant ourselves, wooing our consciousness, refilling ourselves with images and experiences.
Yes, by immersing ourselves in a new, a different situation we’re filling our creative well with inspiration and fresh ideas.
I’m a fan, a huge fan and I’ve been taking myself on Artist Dates for more than 2 decades now. No matter my working environment, from the corporate desk to the coaching seat, for me the artist date has always turned out to be invaluable to reload myself. You see, in my experience, whether we’re an artist crafting art, or manage in the corporate world to excel at managerial and executive stuff, we all draw our fuel to perform and express ourselves from the same well – our inner self. And we all need to replenish that well – at least on a regular base.
Why do we need to fill the well even if we love what we do? Because, despite loving what we do, if we don’t refuel, we’ll lose our spark in the midst of it all. Yes, we’ll spread ourselves thin, dry up slowly and almost unnoticeably. Our joy and zest in creating, leading and performing fading, slipping through our fingers.
No matter how much we enjoy the process, how much we delight in the output – artistic or executive – we need a steady and fertile input. And going on the Artist Date does exactly this for us.
So my last artist date was a trip to Wonderryck, a tiny natural history museum near my home town. For a few hours I wandered around the collection of sandy relics and colorful stuffed animals – ancient flora and fauna through the ages brought together from all over the word. Special about this collection is that it was brought together a century ago with great love and dedication by one man – Mr. Bernink, a local school teacher, who lived and breathed his passion for nature by turning his home into this tiny museum.
Walking around glass cabinets and peering at dust-gathering animals – what does that do for your inner-well? – I can hear you say. Well, let me tell you that for a few hours I was transported back to a different time. Transported back to a time where exploring the crusts of the earth for our ancestors still made us wonder, brought to an awe. To a time where discovering new species still gave us a childlike bewilderment. A time where our sense of relentless exploration was driven by a genuine desire to comprehend our natural world and its inhabitants, a quest for honest understanding.
This immersion into time – if only for a few hours – into a world of wondrous exploration and bewildered discovery, a world of magical reality, this immersion fills me with joy and renewed spirit. This immersion into time of endless possibilities rekindles my zest for the relentless exploration of my own potential.
At the same time, I was immersed into a space created with palpable love and care. Into a space created by one man’s honest captivation with our natural world, a space where one man lived out his passion. Being in this space where an everyday man made his home and dreams come true, materializing into his legacy for generations to enjoy through his sheer dedication and passion, I felt moved. This space touched something at the very core of me – the belief that we’re all here to live the life we’re meant to live, living a sacred duty, a holy chore. And this was exactly that what had happened here. In this space a man had made his home and lived his life to the fullest – with great love and care.
This Artist Date to a tiny natural history museum was an unexpected deep one and left a ripple effect on my creativity for days at an end – exactly what I needed. Travelling back to a time infinite explorations and encountering a space where a man’s passionate dreams had come true – this one left me with renewed lust for life and joyous zest to create. And next time? Maybe something playful, something light – because that’s the joy of the Artist Date – you don’t know in advance, but you’ll get exactly what you need.
And that’s why I take myself on an Artist Date – and so should you!
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