Take Care Tuesday- Artist Dates and other Self-Care.
This week, I was able to get into the studio more than the previous week, which was a big boon for my well being. Also, some polymer clay molds arrived (those, you get to see later). After realizing that we had some reward points stacked up, I thought that I might as well treat myself to some fun things. Though I resisted at first, thinking that they weren’t “serious enough”, I realized that that’s exactly the kind of language that an overactive Inner Parent uses, and took it as a chance to nurture my inner child.
Friday, I walked to get a chair massage and then over to the Dollar General to look at the craft and office supplies- something that is always fun. While I was there, I also looked at the toys, just to enjoy them. Since we have already celebrated Thanksgiving once, it felt like an Ok time to pick up some stocking stuffers/pre-Xmas crafts for the kids and myself.
Also, some sparkly, shiny duct tape made it home with me and I covered my 3 ring binder with it. It’s my attempt at being more organized, and it does help. Right now, the only things in there are a pencil pouch (holding heart sticky notes -another take care purchase, a sticky list pad, a small notebook [holding everything from “random thoughts” to lists to creative ideas…], a dry erase marker, and a pen) and some page protectors (holding nothing, but maybe someday a master cleaning and master grocery list. The dry erase marker is to mark off what has been cleaned/groceries we don’t need to buy). It’s a start.
Sunday, I further cleaned my dance/yoga floor in the studio and now it’s about 99% clear. Then, I did yoga _alone_, without anyone climbing on me or asking to nurse. Later, the littlest fell asleep on Daddy for nap and her sister beside him on the couch! This seemed to be a miracle! At first, I started to panic and thought about getting him to hand the baby over to me. Instead, I finished my food, which I didn’t have to share with anyone, and then drew mandalas for at least an hour! “The Diary of Preston Plummer” accompanied me as I drew, and I finished it after the baby woke and needed nursed back to sleep. Having streaming video on my phone and a headset is pretty awesome! So grateful for that! Then, we finished “The Life of Pi” during dinner and rewatched the new Cinderella. Normally, I am taking care of dinner/the kids while my husband cooks or other chores or heading up to the studio, so getting to relax and be cozy with my family was a very nice treat.
Reading “Miracle of the Artist’s Date” book by Julia Cameron confirms that I have been taking myself on artist’s dates for a long time, especially since Self Care like massage and pedicures are included. Some of my favorites of the ones that I want to try include writing a letter from my 9 year old self (or maybe it’s to my 9 year old self? Both ways sound good, actually) and making a list of my favorite things. A lot like the “My Favorite Things” song in “The Sound of Music” makes Maria feel better, it soothes us to think about what makes us happy. She mentions over and over that people are often more resistant to Artist’s Dates than Morning Pages (3 pages of long hand writing- whatever comes into your head in order to clear it) because they understand “working on your creativity” through a disciplined practice, but play seems unnecessary or frivolous. Really, I feel that as a Mother of 3 and an Artist putting herself out into the world, my workload is pretty full. Fortunately, I don’t feel stuck for ideas or anywhere near uninspired, so these Artist’s Dates have been doing their job. Certainly, Morning Pages would help me get some things straight, though. This is how I journal (stream of consciousness writing), but it tends to be more random in frequency. We will see if I “give in” to that part. 🙂
It has been very good to have these sort of kindnesses to myself be framed as so important, not just for flow of creativity, but for connecting with so many parts of myself and for recognizing how the ego mirrors an unbalanced demand for “productivity” and “getting things done” so common in our culture. Receptivity is just as important, and often more so. What are your thoughts on that?