Monday, May 26, 2014

Thought for The Day - Dive In

I begin a process of writing, journaling, near random , free association about four years. A book, "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron, added another dimension to something I began nine years prior. Funny how life works: I begin back in 2001 or 2002, at the suggestion of one of my wife's friends, writing my thoughts on paper. I remember her suggesting that I write three pages a day and that she got the idea from "some book," that until I bought "The Artist's Way," I didn't remember was the book she suggested. I never got to three pages a day, but I found myself writing a paragraph here, a page there; very therapeutic.

Dive In: I can't begin to tell you how many times I sit in front of a plain "electronic page," and though thousands of ideas, themes and subjects spin behind my eyes, the "critic" tries to silence or edit the process of revelation. The beauty of a book like "The Artist's Way" is you don't have to be an artist, writer, dancer, or photographer to use it's instruction. You have to be willing to dive in, though; you have to be willing to move your body through the stream of consciousness behind your eyes and dip your brush in the one medium we share: words. This exercise isn't about writing the great novel, writing your memoirs or the next great broadway play. But it is telling your truth to paper. For a few minutes a day, you are seeing your emotions, thoughts, impressions and memories. Each day, without fail, before you begin the morning rush, before you take the dog for a walk, sit, write and be cleansed.

There's also the artist's date, a exercise I have yet to do with any sense of consistency. But it's an exercise of self-care. Where the writing allows you to release what is in you, the artist's date allows you to treat yourself. Going for a walk, visiting a gallery or two, buying a slice of pie and ice cream or buying some trinket you've had your eye on. But it's about you. Sitting here and considering the aspects of "the date," I understand why I don't do it. But also considering why it's necessary, I see the need to incorporate this once or twice a week exercise as well.

Too often, we spend our days taking care of everyone but ourselves. Certainly we don't want to be accused of selfishness, but truthfully, the opposite should be true as well. And in truth, self-care is not self-indulgence. It isn't about lavishing one's self with unnecessary luxuries, or spending more than you have available. But it is about realizing you deserve to be yourself.

So, this week...I'm struggling with the idea but know it has to be done. I have to 'sneak off' and spend a little time with me. No, working through lunch or sitting at my desk. One evening, rather than come home and spend time with the family or maybe on the weekend, I should disappear (let them know I'll be gone, of course) and treat me to a bowl of ice cream, or find a hobby store where I can look and buy one small personal item. Dive In.