Inviting Your Creative Self On A Date

by Cathy Baker

Your creative energy called. Yet the only thing it heard on the receiving end was a busy signal: 

Beep. (My schedule is packed.)
Beep. (I’m not a creative person.)
Beep. (Who has the energy for creativity?)

No wonder it feels a bit neglected, even forgotten. It’s time to take the artist within on a date. 

The Artist Date is a basic tool of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She asks her students to undertake one Artist Date per week. 

“I tell students to seek mystery, not mastery on their dates. I urge them to explore with childlike wonder rather than adult intellect. Artist Dates are intended to be fun.” – Julia Cameron

If at this point you’re asking why you should continue reading this post, remember: in whatever way(s) our Creator gifted you, there is a place for creativity…for He is most creative of all. 

Save the Date:
The first Artist Date Julia proposes is this: go to a park. “A park is a very concentrated dose of beauty. Note the plantings carefully plotted out. Note the diversity of the vegetation. You may wish to carry a camera. Record your favorite sight. Allow yourself to dawdle. Soak in the season. Give yourself at least an hour. Scoop up a pine cone. Fill your pockets with acorns. Feel your mind unkinking. Say hello to your soul.” 

You’re Invited: 
What nearby park would be the perfect place for your first Artist Date?

“Art is an image-using system,” I tell students. “Imagine yourself as having an inner trout pond filled with images. When you use your creativity, you are drawing from this inner pond. When you draw on it heavily, you will over-fish your pond. Images will be harder and harder to come by unless you begin to consciously replenish your store of images. Taking your Artist Date replenishes your pond.” – Julia Cameron

The Morning Pages Challenge!

I first learned of Morning Pages from the book The Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer. (Janice credits Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way for this idea.) Initially, I wondered what could be written on pages that I wouldn’t pen in my prayer journal, but I soon learned each has their own place.

When journaling prayers, I write directly to my heavenly Father. The simple act of putting pen to paper helps me stay focused on Him, not the blaring buzz of the dryer. Some days my words skim the surface like a skier on slick water. Other times, they wear wetsuits, delving deeply into corners of my life. Regardless, thought is required, as is true for any prayer time.

Morning Pages, at least for me, is the opposite as it provides an outlet for something that doesn’t come easy for me—free writing. No checking grammar, thinking it through or searching for “just the right word” with these pages. It’s simply putting pen to paper and writing whatever comes to mind.

Nicky Hajal refers to this process as “Slicing the Brain Loops” in his top-notch post, 5 Reasons Why You Should Write Morning Pages – Right Now!:

“Have you noticed that when something is on
your mind you seem to go over it again and again and again? You think
through the same dreaded scenario over and over and just can’t shake it
off. On the contrary, each go around reinforces the pattern.

I call these brain loops and they’re devastating to actually
accomplishing important tasks. They’re energy being spent, taking you no
where – like revving a car while it’s still in park.

I can’t explain it but the moment you take a thought and type it out,
it simply feels wrong to loop through that thought process again. Your
brain moves onto other things, either probing further into whatever that
loop was about or considering more important subjects.”

Morning Pages isn’t just for writers or creative thinkers. “Dumping” thoughts on a few pages each day is helpful in clearing the mind for a productive day.

Oddly enough, I plan to shift my Morning Pages to Evening Pages for a while. I think a clear mind is a restful one, and I need all the rest I can get these days.

You can use a journal, notebook, or loose-leaf paper. There’s an advantage in writing longhand but if for whatever reason you’re unable to do so, type away! I made a special trip to Target, visited my favorite department (office supplies), and chose an inspiring 1-1/2″ binder by Pink Chandelier. How could I not be inspired by a name like that?

So, here’s the challenge! Beginning Monday, June 16th, would you be willing to give Morning Pages a try for two weeks? Simply leave a comment on this post letting me know you’re in! Then, jump in with both feet next Monday, jotting down any positive things you learn about Morning Pages along the way. Email those to me on June 30th and I’ll feature them in my July 3rd post.

I’ll also enter the names of those who email their insights on June 30th into a drawing for something you’re sure to enjoy on your Morning Pages journey.

Who’s in?


Today is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24


– image courtesy of edwinsoriano.com 

5 Friday Favorite Links You Don’t Want to Miss!

by Cathy Baker

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Writing Morning Pages – Right Now! 
by Nicky Hajal

“For years I’ve wanted to write daily but been unable to. The proof is 5 or 6 journals filled with just a single entry. Then, I came across Morning pages in The Artists’ Way, by Julia Cameron.  The idea is to wake up and immediately write three pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts.Their purpose is not to be shared with
others or even reread by yourself but simply to create awareness and to
free your mind of all the chatter. They work incredibly well and have had a huge impact on me since I started consistently writing in December. I know you have a ton of things to accomplish and I want you to accomplish them. That’s why I want you to write morning pages. But before I go into the how of getting into morning pages (next post) I want to go more deeply into the why.” To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(Cathy: I recommend Janice Elsheimer’s book, The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit. It’s similar to The Artists’ Way but from a Christian perspective.) 

Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin, by Robyn Stone @ Add A Pinch
This has become a go-to favorite for these empty nesters! The aroma alone should require Weight Watcher points. It’s very simple and anything in a crock pot grabs my attention. Add the crock pot liner and you’ll also have an easy clean up. Add Jasmine Rice and a veggie. Voila! I’d love to know what you think when you give it a try.

This recipe is a favorite, but so is Robyn’s site, Add A Pinch. It’s filled with great recipes, travel tips, homeschooling ideas and much more. Enjoy!

100 Days of Real Food – Meal Ideas and Resources
Ready to cut down on processed food? Lisa Leake does a terrific job in offering delicious recipes, along with FREE meal plans! 

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule that Works for You Living Well Spending Less 
This has been a favorite site of mine for awhile but this article in particular has proven to be especially helpful. You’ll want to visit this site often as Ruth serves up helpful tips on saving money, easy DIY’s, and much more.  

Do you spend time trying to earn approval from others? From God? Jennifer Dukes Lee Love Idol was recently released and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You know if Susan Stilwell promotes it, the book is slam full of truth with little fluff. My kind of book! I’m considering trying an online study group for Love Idol this summer via Google Hangout. If you might be interested, leave a comment on the blog and stay tuned!

Studying God’s Word, eating healthy, spending time/money wisely and spiffing up our skills all enhance the fragrance we have to offer each other and the world. Don’t you agree?

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  
Psalm 90:12

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